Art Feature

Lighting Designer
Martin Klaasen
Rick Vermey

The location of this public artwork was once part of the Government Print Works site, where lead typesetting was practised and halftone dot-screens were used for image reproduction. The ink patterns of this artwork are derived from artistic abstraction of historical photographs of early 20th Century Subiaco streets scenes. The patterns were magnified to an extent where the pictures slip from recognisable images into abstracted optical phenomena.

At night, shadows of the ink patterns are projected on the footpath, and those reversed letters appear “printed” right way around, reflecting the old lead-set type printing method. In daylight hours, the building interior is bathed in a spectrum of exhilarating colours and shifting sun-projected ink shadow patterns.

The initial inspiration for working with glass and light was derived from knowledge that Subiaco prides itself on the many private homes in the district that feature original heritage stained glass windows. The artwork title, SPECTRUM, is a dual reference to the ephemeral phenomenon of light mixing into a spectrum of colours within the building by day and out on the street after dark, along with a nod to the historical diversity of the vibrant Subiaco community.

The real medium of this artwork is light, in its many changing ephemeral qualities and unique effects. The design brief was simple…create a lighting effect that expresses the qualities of the materials (glass and perforated metal) providing a magical night time effect in strong contrast with the day time while at the same time promoting sustainable values through contained energy use and minimal light spill.

With a limited budget a lighting installation was developed that could simply be concealed on the inside of the building providing a double function; illuminating the artwork and providing additional lighting for the carpark on the inside. By locating the spotlights behind the beam they are also concealed to drivers in the carpark. From the outside this location together with aiming and lenses result in the magical glow of the artwork with projection of the patterns on the immediate pedestrian walkway, causing minimum discomfort in the neighbourhood.

The use of LED technology and time control assures a highly efficient installation with low energy consumption and little to no maintenance needed.