WAN visits 21st Century Light Space Modulator exhibition at RIBA Headquarters
Five months ago, WAN’s Arts and Media Correspondent Amy Knight wrote a short post for our Culture Blog on the 21st Century Light Space Modulator, a kinetic light installation by Jason Bruges Studio in partnership with lighting specialists Concord of Havells Sylvania. Initially installed under the Hungerford Bridge and activated by the rumbling trains above, the vibrantly-hued abstract structure has now been confined to an exhibition at the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at 66 Portland Place in London.
Last week, I visited the exhibition as part of the RIBA’s Last Tuesdays programme which this month focussed on colour in architecture. Last Tuesdays is an ongoing scheme by the RIBA which enables architects to partake in debates, view exhibitions, take tours or listen to talks on any number of topics under that month’s umbrella.
‘Colour Me Vertical’ included a talk on Colour in Architectural Photography from Justine Sambrook, the exhibition The Polychrome Lens: Colour in Architectural Photography, and Chromazones: Colour and the City, a debate in which Jason Bruges discussed the merits of colour in architecture and design with author, architect and lecturer Rob Wilson, architect and lecturer Fiona Blockman, and artist, photographer and author David Batchelor.
During the evening, the 21st Century Light Space Modulator exhibition was abuzz with architects and students, eager to learn more about this interactive piece of machinery. Over months of experimentation - including workshops with students, brainstorming with the Jason Bruges Studio and Havells Sylvania teams, and old-fashioned trial and error - the innovative partnership has formulated an intriguing installation which encourages interaction from the observer.
So often in London do commuters pass by one another without so much as a sideways glance. The 21st Century Light Space Modulator generates intrigue from passers-by as its sensors detect movement and the entire form realigns itself in response. Clusters of brightly-hued crystalline forms were hung from scaffolding under the Hungerford Bridge and brought to life in a cultural opening performance which included modern dance and classical music. Specifically angled panels refracted light from nearby beams onto the underside of the Bridge and now, in the installation’s new home, onto the walls and ceiling of 66 Portland Place.
Jason Bruges, Creative Director of Jason Bruges Studio explains: “The 21st Century Light Space Modulator explores not just the relationship between space and light, but also people’s behaviour within a space. By opening up the design process, listening to feedback from workshops with architectural students and the public who interacted with the exhibit, there has been a strong and positive legacy of this urban intervention.”
It is thought that the exhibition will go on tour after its stint at the RIBA but the location of its permanent home is still up for debate. The installation itself was inspired by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s Light Prop for an Electric Stage from the 1930s and draws attention to the significant - and often overlooked - relationship between architecture and light. This element was imperative for Havells Sylvania whose philosophy is determined as ‘a fusion of invention and innovation, and eastern and western influences, which have the power to transform space through the use of light’. If you’re in the area over the festive period, drop into the RIBA for a little escapism through the eyes of Jason Bruges Studio; you won’t be disappointed.
Concord is a 40+ year old luminaire brand which has a long heritage of providing innovative, high quality lighting solutions for architects and lighting designers. Click here to visit the Concord website or here for parent company Havells Sylvania.