Creative display speeds the wait for commuters
Sunderland Station in Sunderland, United Kingdom, is used by more than two million people each year and features both Metro and National Rail services. A £7 million ($9.6 million) refurbishment of the station's platform areas, announced by Metro operators Nexus in 2006, included new lighting, ceilings, floors, wall paneling, an escalator to street level, and a new customer information system.
But perhaps the most impressive addition to the station is an illuminated glass block wall that displays the digitally simulated specters of passengers waiting for a train. The human figures are representations of actual footage of commuters milling about the platform, filmed by the wall's designers, Jason Bruges Studio. Etched in black against the glow of more than 10,000 eW Flex SLX LED nodes, they hustle across the wall to catch an arriving train, stroll casually, or wait patiently with belongings to depart.
Commissioned by Nexus and designed by London-based Jason Bruges Studio in 2010, the 144 x 3 m (470 x 10 ft) wall conceals a disused platform and reinvigorates the underground station as a prominent and eye-catching piece of light artwork.
To create dynamic lighting effects over a wide area, Jason Bruges Studio turned to LED lighting technology from Color Kinetics. Architainment Lighting supplied 717 strands of 15-node Color Kinetics eW Flex SLX for the project. Spaced 200 mm (7.9 in) apart on custom metal frames that are positioned 60 mm (2.4 in) behind the wall, the nodes form a low-resolution video matrix. Custom computer software sends video to the wall through Video System Manager Pro, an integrated hardware/software video mapping solution for LED lighting installations from Color Kinetics.
Installation of the luminaires — carried out by LX Engineering and assisted by Architainment's Technical Services team — proved challenging, as the installation had to comply with strict low smoke zero halogen cabling requirements. But the multi-agency effort paid off for Jason Bruges Studio when Platform 5 took first place in the "Special Projects" category at the 2011 UK Lighting Design Awards.
"There was a lot of hard work behind the scenes, making sure the equipment met the stringent technical requirements for the station environment," said Jonathon Hodges, Production Manager and Senior Lighting Designer at Jason Bruges Studio. "But we found the eW Flex SLX easy to work with, and it was a good choice for the project."