Sydney lights up with the Vivid Festival

Posted on Thursday, July 8th, 2010


From 27 May to 21 June, the Vivid Sydney festival used Sydney as a canvas for amazing light installations, beautiful music and creative ideas. Whilst some buildings were bought to life by projection work, other relied on intelligent and LED lighting supplied by Chameleon Touring Systems.

With only three week’s notice, Jeff Pavey designed the majority of this work with Tony Davis lending his expertise particularly on the illumination of the arch at the top of Macquarie St.

For Jeff the most difficult part of the project was dealing with the numerous committees and local authorities.

”There were many people who all had their individual visions of what they wanted achieved!” he remarked. “Then each building we lit had five different committees or building managers involved plus people like Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority – it was tough!”

Another hurdle was the battle to keep all of the installations aesthetically pleasing. It would have been easiest to build a large scaffolding in front of each building for the lighting equipment but Jeff was determined that the lighting gear was discreetly placed.

Goldfields House was lit by six Martin MAC2000 XB Washes, with very narrow lenses, that were situated on the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art some eighty metres away. The result is really slow movement and colour changing.

A little further along the cityscape the façade of the Marriott Hotel was lit with eight Martin MAC2000 Performance profiles that dressed the building in colour and pattern.

”The clients loved what has become the two most disliked gobos by lighting designers everywhere due to their overuse – the magenta triangles and the old congo wheel!” said Jeff.

The structure of the AMP Building at Circular Quay lent itself to having light beams shooting up its’ columns and so Jeff had twelve Martin MAC2000 XB Washes located on the fifth floor.

”There is a balcony on the fifth floor which is a perfect position for lights,” commented Jeff. “However, we didn’t get final approval for the installation until 3pm on the launch day!”

On Macquarie St fifty-eight Pro Shop Honeycomb 72 fixtures were fixed to street poles to up-light trees whilst a further sixteen Honeycomb 72s were placed under the Cahill Expressway Bridge on Macquarie St.

At the top of Macquarie St was Macquarie Arch, designed by architect Joe Snell, and made from pieces of thick electrical conduit, painted with white plastic paint and resting on sandstone plinths. The Arch was lit with forty Pro Shop Fusion LED bars.

”It was the first time in my involvement with Chameleon that I’ve seen Tony Davis so involved in a project,” added Jeff. “He was regularly down there at 2am making sure everything came together.”