Standing 13 m (42 ft) high and 110 m (360 ft) long, The Lightship is a site for contemporary art at Ports of Auckland visible from busy Quay Street, city wharves, local buildings, and the harbor. The massive digital light wall provides New Zealand artists with a unique place to display large-scale public art for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Wrapping around the western façade of the port's innovative new car handling building and designed to save harbor space and support sustainability initiatives, the dynamic light wall was part of a beautification project for the new five-story building. It also features the world's largest soil-based hanging garden along its southern wall and is designed to support a future roof-top public park.
Signify was approached by architect Plus Architecture, who had a vision to make the structure a gift to the Auckland skyline. Situated at the edge of the waterfront, and therefore subject to the harsh environment, all materials used in the project had to be durable. Color Kinetics iColor Flex LMX gen2 (now specified with Flex Compact gen3, RGB) direct-view luminaires were selected for the project. The 8,500 nodes of individually programmable LED light are mounted on the pre-drilled sheet metal exterior surface of the building, spaced 450 mm x 450 mm (17 in x 17 in) apart. Each node acts a pixel on the enormous seven-panel LED screen. The unique displays are controlled with a Pharos controller and Interact Landmark and powered by Color Kinetics sPDS-480ca 24V.
Launched in 2019, The Lightship serves as a canvas for local artists, whose new works are loaded to The Lightship every two to three months. The unique and attractive statement building highlighted by the spectacular light wall adds new life to the Auckland waterfront.