A Perspex® acrylic prism was the unusng hero at this year’s Durham Lumiere festival as Rainbow River showered a spectrum of colourful light across the River Wear. Designed by Alison Lowery and Richard Hornby and made by approved Perspex® fabricators Bay Plastics, the installation was one of almost 30 exhibits at the UK’s largest light festival with an estimated 200,000 visitors this year.
With a background in science, Alison and Richard submitted their concept to organisers Artichoke’s BRILLIANT competition. BRILLIANT is a local commissioning scheme which invites people from or living in the North East to submit ideas for an artwork made using light as the primary medium. Rainbow River was chosen to be made reality and displayed alongside leading international artists.
Alison picks up the story from there:
“We intended to make a piece of art to recognise the UNESCO International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, and were inspired by the classic experiments of Sir Isaac Newton. The idea of making a giant prism and casting a rainbow across the river at our ideal site was exciting. Both Richard and I have close ties to Durham and were delighted to be chosen for Artichoke’s BRILLIANT award for Durham’s Lumiere.”
The prism itself used triangular Perspex® acrylic panels on a steel frame 2m 30cm tall. Strong spotlights are then used to cast a rainbow, with a white light beam shining down onto it from the river bank representing the light being refracted into the colours of the spectrum.
Perspex® acrylic specialists Bay Plastics have worked on various Lumiere projects over the years and were asked to help bring this project to life. 10mm Perspex® acrylic was used to construct the prism providing a strong structure resilient to outdoor conditions whilst remaining light enough to be portable. Bay Plastics were able to use their large 3m cutting facilities to cut the large panels to the required specification.
The exhibition has now finished however it is hoped that the artwork will go on show in future events.
For more information about Lumiere 2015 ,produced by Artichoke in Durham, visit www.lumiere-festival.com.
To find out more about approved fabricators Bay Plastics visit www.bayplastics.co.uk.
Images © Matthew Andrews 2015