Storms and lightning inspire designer for Wellington light festival
Storms rolling across America and lightning flashes have inspired one designer to create a light spectacle on the Wellington waterfront.
Massey University design lecturer Antony Nevin has joined up for the latest LUX Light Festival, with a storm-inspired installation called Lightning Rod.
The idea came from flying through the clouds as a storm swirled around the plane.
“The clouds were sort of flashing,” he said.
From a stint living in America, he also remembered “big, wonderful lightning storms” that flashed across the sky, which further sparked his design idea.
From there, he decided to incorporate touch into his piece. “I was thinking about how touch was one way people were brought together.”
Lightning Rod is a collection of stainless steel columns stuffed with LED and circuitry.
Once it’s installed on the waterfront, close to the lagoon, people can walk by and touch it. When they do, they complete a circuit and part of the installation lights up.
A group of people together can light up the whole piece.
But, Nevin said, you could never tell how people would use or interpret an installation – lighting the whole piece might not be what people want to do.
“That’s where, as a designer, you can learn from what people do and how they react [to installations]. You might think people will respond one way, but they react another way.”
Nevin was also overseeing a group of recently graduated Massey University design students bring their ideas to life for the light festival and said it was a great learning opportunity for them.
From suspended designs in Frank Kitts Park to Pom and Pom, two moving clusters of colourful strands, the students were able to design their own pieces for the light festival and gain hands-on experience designing art installations for the public.
The LUX Light Festival is launching on May 18. Wellington’s waterfront will be lit up from Frank Kitts Park to Te Papa.
Acting festival director Robert Appierdo said there was everything, from giant jellyfish hanging from Hikitia Crane to swarms of butterflies, mushrooms to sit on and illuminated stingrays under the boardwalk.
* The festival runs until May 27 and the lights are on from 6pm every night.