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Illuminating the weather

04 Aug 2016

Illuminating the weather Image

It might look like an apartment building during the day, but as soon as the sun starts to set 888 Collins St is transformed.

In what is a world-first, the facade of the Lend Lease building is illuminated each night by a lighting installation reflecting the weather.

Designed by artist Bruce Ramus, the lighting display features vertical beams of LED lights extending up to 50 metres high.

The light beams reflect real-time weather data, collected from a weather station on the roof of the building and the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather feed.

The lights move in ways that can either display a literal forecast for the following day or an artistic interpretation for how the weather “feels”.

Projecting no more light than a standard street light and with recessed globes, the light effect is best viewed from the public area around Buluk Park.

Mr Ramus said the inspiration for the project was to create something uniquely Melbourne and he hopes locals feel a sense of ownership and connection to the art.

“The piece is about reflection. We wanted to reflect the environmental rhythms of the place, while being conscious of the surroundings. Low light levels, a soft colour palette and gentle movement are all integrated in to the expression of the piece,” Mr Ramus said.

“I’ve lived all over the world and when I moved to Melbourne, I was impressed by how weather-sensitive everybody is. People here are always talking about the weather and it changes so often. I wanted to be able to reflect something that Melburnians can connect with and something that hasn’t been done anywhere else in the world.”

Mr Ramus also designed the world’s largest permanent interactive light installation “Luminous” at Darling Quarter in Sydney and has worked as lighting designer for U2, R.E.M, James Brown and David Bowie.

He joined Lend Lease project director for Victoria Harbour Tim Campbell and the local community for the inaugural “switch on” of the lighting display on July 13.

Mr Campbell said as far as the company was aware, 888 Collins was the only residential building across the globe with a facade that doubles as a luminous public art work.

“We pride ourselves on creating great places – not just building – so it means a lot to us that the Victoria Harbour community and visitors can gather here in the evenings at Buluk Park, right outside Library at The Dock and enjoy the light show,” Mr Campbell said.

“It’s a great leap forward in realising our ambitions for a vibrant and active precinct, day and night.”

The light show will be a permanent feature from dusk until midnight every night, forecasting the following day’s weather for five minutes on the hour.

For the remainder of each hour, an abstract light movement will reflect the way the weather “feels” at the time.

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