As the world’s first and only tilting bridge, Gateshead Millennium Bridge links Gateshead to Newcastle across the River Tyne, within sight of another Color Kinetics installation Tyne Bridge
. Its main function is to serve as a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, but its unique look and masterful engineering attracts tourists from around the globe.
To lower maintenance costs, Gateshead Council called for the replacement of its current inefficient traditional floodlights. In addition, they wanted the new sources to create stunning color-changing effects without the hassle of replacing colored gels or filters by hand.
The bridge, designed by Wilkinson & Eyre Architects, consists of two curved arches. These elegant structures mimic the movements of an eyelid, tilting to make way for maritime traffic. To fully illuminate the 50 x 126 m (164 x 413 ft) bridge without causing unnecessary light pollution, the project managers, Stage Electrics created a complex design that makes use of eight ColorReach Powercore luminaires. With output of over 5,000 lumens and light projection of over 152 m (500 ft), these large-scale architectural LED floodlights saturate the arches with colorful light, while dramatically highlighting its design.
To illuminate the underside of the arch, four ColorReach Powercore luminaires are installed on either side of the river, at each foot of the arch. The luminaires are positioned side by side, parallel to the river’s edge. Each half of the luminaire can be separately addressed and controlled, allowing for unprecedented flexibility of light dispersion. The lighting design calls for two different exchangeable spread lenses, one for each half of the luminaire, to ensure that the light reaches the entire surface of the curved structure. Each floodlight’s bottom half bathes the vertical plane with color at deck level, while the upper half projects contrasting or complementary color to the top of the bridge’s arch. Since LED sources are directional, light can be projected exactly where needed—mitigating both wasted light and light pollution.
Light shows, ranging from static colors to color-changing effects, run from sunset to 1 AM daily. The luminaires are controlled by a third-party DMX control system that uses astronomical triggers as well as real-time special events. In addition, two remote touchscreens have been installed to allow bridge staff to manually control the system in case of special requests or color requirements.
Because they consume just 290 watts each, the new ColorReach Powercore luminaires provide a significant energy savings over the fixtures they replaced. Even when operating at full intensity, ColorReach Powercore consumes less than half as much energy as the previous fixtures consumed.
The new LED floodlights will not only increase the bridge’s visual appearance for residents and tourists alike, but also provides a significant energy savings for the city.