A household name in 1915 when the eight-level brick warehouse was constructed, Griffiths Teas was one of the first distributors of tea and coffee in Australia. Lying empty and boarded-up after 50 years of trading, the building is now re-imagined as New York warehouse-style apartments by PopovBass architects. The seven-story warehouse contains 38 apartments (including seven penthouses), as well as ground floor retail space.
Sculptors of light and curators of the visual realm, Electrolight designed a contemporary art piece for the exterior of the Griffiths Teas building. A Stitch in Time is an LED display installed into the street frontage awning along Wentworth Avenue and Hunt Street. The awning comprises of 48 warm white custom linear lighting elements, each containing 36 individual light sources, linked to a central media server. Various distorted images from the server are displayed across the awning throughout the night. While the images are distorted when you view the art from certain angles, the awning is structured so you can see the images in perfect clarity from a particular ‘sweet spot’ along the footpath.
The images rotate through at a very slow rate in order to increase the installation’s subtlety. Designed to exist as a piece that the general public ‘discover’ by chance, a local commuter could walk under this piece many times before realising it was more than just a series of lights. Why the commuter has made this realisation, and the experience they have when they discover it, is just as important as the piece itself.
“A Stitch in Time is an expression of those moments when things align to create a memory of something real, something worth remembering. The images we all, consciously or sub-consciously, choose to remember”
Donn Salisbury, Electrolight
Lightmoves are proud to work with Electrolight in the creation of this installation by supplying them with both the LED light source and the control system. Every LED pixel, 48 strings of custom Philips ColorKinetics eW Flex Micros, are pixel-mapped through a Christie Pandoras Box. This powerful media server allows any image to be displayed across the awning, as well as custom displays for special events (such as Christmas & New Years Eve).
Controlling both the LEDs and the Pandoras Box is a Philips Dynalite system, which automates the entire artwork. The system is designed to switch the awning (and its control elements) on and off according to a specific schedule, based on the sunrise and sunset of each day. A simple system-override Antumbra panel also allows the system to be manually switched on or off as necessary.
As the artwork requires a very specific look to match the distortion concept, it was difficult to pre-visualise exactly how the lighting elements would look. “The distortion was a challenge as we didn’t know precisely how the images would translate over such a broad stretch. In the end, there was a bit of experimentation to get this right, but the result was exactly what we were searching for.”
Lightmoves were proud to be a part of the restoration of such a historical building alongside Electrolight. To find out how we can help make your next lighting vision a reality, get in touch with the team at Lightmoves today.