With Christmas less than a fortnight away, venues all across London are transforming their spaces for the festive season. One of these is the Victoria and Albert Museum which is housing a brand-new display called Stargazing – a lighting fixture which fully immerses anyone who visits the historic building. Having worked closely with the venue throughout 2016, White Light has been called upon to over the production elements of the project.
Whereas Christmas is always celebrated at the V & A, this year the venue wanted to create something unforgettable. Sophie Reynolds, Festival Manager at the V & A, comments: “Inspired by the Museums’ collections and the Victorian era in which the museums were founded, the theme for this year was a Victorian Christmas. We wanted this to pervade throughout the entire venue with displays, installations and events. We knew to create something like this we would need strong, reliable technical support hence we approached WL”.
The brief given to WL was to create a festive lighting installation in the Museum’s Grand Entrance. This had to be immersive and fitting the architectural framing of the building – including the high-domed ceiling. Sophie adds: “We took the idea of being inside a snow globe as our inspiration – something which worked perfectly beneath the ceiling”.
Alongside lighting the roof space, WL had to light the Christmas tree as the main feature within the Grand Entrance. Sophie states: “We had commissioned Studio Xag to design a striking tree which was inspired by Victorian industrialisation. This included an intricate metal star on top”.
Lead by WL’s Creative Producer Richard Stirzaker who came up with the lighting design, WL drew on its unparalled range of lighting and projection equipment to beam both the architecture and the tree display.
Richard states: “We made several site visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum and worked closely with Sophie and the team to create a set-up that not only fulfilled their brief but could be practically achievable. We then spent a day on-site installing the equipment and the following day it was on display for the public to see.
He adds: “We’ve tried to create something that draws people’s attention immediately up towards the domed ceiling. The design sees seven stars morphing in and out of view in each corner, appearing and disappearing at random. We also wanted to created something that not only accentuated the building but did so in a subtle manner so it was more of a pleasant surprise for those entering the building”.
The Christmas lights will be on display until 5th January, which is appropriately the twelfth day of Christmas.
Sophie adds: “The installation truly looks fantastic and has completely transformed the Grand Entrance. It’s allowed those visiting to be immediately immersed in a festive surrounding and we’re extremely grateful to WL for their fantastic work”.