Talk about reaching new heights in your work. Lighting designer Dave Bryant was approached by Scottish environmental arts organization nva Arts to design an eco-friendly lighting installation for a live promenade performance project, The Storr - Unfolding Landscape. The eight-week installation combined music from Nordic composer Greer Jenssen, performance art from Alex Rigg, and lighting by Bryant to highlight the darkness of the Storr Footpath, a mountain walk on the Isle of Skye. Bryant's work recently earned him a 2006 Lighting Design Award in the entertainment category from UK architectural publication Lighting magazine.
The two and a half hour experience featured a 4km (2.49 miles) uphill hike, followed by a 500m (1,600') steep ascent, and then a slower descent to take in the scenery, rocks, geological outcrops, and the pinnacles known as “The Old Man of Storr.” The lighting design gradually unfolded the landscape, revealing individual rock features or groups of features in a slow choreographed sequence.
Because of its location, Bryant had his share of challenges. All equipment had to be kept off the ground to enable the rainfall and light to reach the ground, so special platforms were constructed for the equipment. Early on in the planning process, vehicles were decreed too intrusive a method to get gear onto site, so 90% was flown in by helicopter.
Power was located at the bottom of the site. Generators were out of the question, so that necessitated a 3.5km (2.17 miles) mains run up over the mountain. For sources, Bryant used a variety of HID discharge light sources and long-range tungsten halogens from the automotive world, which were fitted into a range of different reflectors and lamp housings. These were then fitted into architectural lamp housings or weatherproof James Thomas PAR cans.
For dimming, Bryant used the Avolites ART-DC dimmer, which was powered by industrial batteries. The entire forest system was controlled by 12-way ART-DC dimmers in six locations, complete with over 25km (15.5 miles) of TRS cable. A conventional radio DMX system was used for data control in the forest.
“The basic design concept,” explains Bryant, “was to create a very simple, single crisp image of the geological environment.” Simplicity in look, not execution.