Darling Quarter Flicks the Switch on Massive Digital Canvas
The world’s largest permanent interactive light display, named Luminous at Darling Quarter, has been turned on in Sydney, Australia.
Luminous at Darling Quarter represents an important investment in green digital art by the Darling Quarter joint stakeholders, Lend Lease, Commonwealth Bank and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.
The project, which has taken twelve months to complete, establishes Darling Harbour’s vibrant new precinct - Darling Quarter, as the new face of digital arts in Australia.
Bruce Ramus, creator of Luminous at Darling Quarter stated: “The digital façade adds radiance and playfulness to the precinct and brings people together in the spirit of creating light and art for others to enjoy.”
Ramus says Luminous at Darling Quarter has been the collaborative effort of many, resulting in a unique approach to urban space that aligns public art, community engagement and commercial vitality. “It is efficient, innovative and sustainable,” he said.
Luminous is spread across four stories (14 metres high) of the two buildings that are home to Commonwealth Bank’s Sydney headquarters. The facades’ two low resolution screens span a distance of 150 metres in total, making it the largest permanent, interactive light installation in the world.
Luminous at Darling Quarter is powered by 100% renewable energy created from solar panels fitted to the roof. This is consistent with Darling Quarter’s Six Star Green Star (V3) As Built Rating – the first building in Australia to achieve this status.
The Canvas is created from 557 LED lights that incredibly use the same energy - 10.2kW, as five household vacuum cleaners. New algorithms had to be written to adapt a brighter and less power hungry LED light to video streaming – the first time this has ever been done.
Remarkably, workers inside the building won’t even know when the lights are switched on.
The LED lights are custom made RGBW LED battens in either 750mm or 1500mm length. One of these battens is situated within the sill of every window of the two buildings.
The control system was installed and commissioned by Show Technology including a coolux Pandora’s Box Media Server and Media Manager, an ELC ShowStore, and a complete redundancy system. Programming was done on a grandMA console.
“Pandora’s Box is user friendly and reliable,” commented Ramus. “Show Technology were great and always very helpful particularly Vince Haddad. They were very thorough and intelligent in their process. I value that relationship immensely.”
Ramus describes how coolux were extremely helpful when he requested a brand new algorithm be written in order to control the white LED in the RGBW.
“It’s the first time that has ever been developed,” added Ramus. “Video signal speaks RGB so coolux developed an algorithm that speaks to the white and they were great in coming to the table with that. The control system works really well and I’m very happy with it.”
When the sun goes down Sydneysiders can experience Luminous six evenings a week from the Community Green adjacent to Darling Quarter’s dinning and bar hub.
From May to December, Tuesday through until Sunday, expect to see digital art created by Ramus - the man behind many of the major lighting projections at the Sydney Opera House and Federation Square in Melbourne.
“The visual content seen in the façade is gentle and abstract using colour, movement and pace to convey meaning. Luminous at Darling Quarter creates moods and offers people an authentic space to feel joy, curiosity, wonder, delight, stillness, rather than any particular message. It is meant as an offering to the community, not an imposition,” said Ramus.
As the years go by Luminous at Darling Quarter will increasingly feature content created by community groups, local and international artists commissioned by the three stakeholders, public interaction and games, as well as some special event programming for the community.
Two touchscreen consoles have been fitted for visitors to play alone or with each other across the two buildings. Popular games have already been programmed such as Big Snake, Pong, Finger Paint, Kangaroo Crossing, Gyro Dance and Plasma. Smartphones are also an easy way for the public to interact with the facade.
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