In 2017, the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council launched a regeneration project for the Lansdowne area, Bournemouth’s main business district. The objective was to draw more visitors to the area and encourage them to spend more time there after dark. Pedestrian zones were extended, high-quality paving, street furniture and trees were installed. The Old Fire Station on Holdenhurst Road was converted into a venue for hosting public and private events. To extend this space outdoors, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council appointed lighting design practice Michael Grubb Studio to provide the lighting design for this immersive public artwork in collaboration with the artist Juliet Quintero and sound designers Coda to Coda.
Bespoke art feature to reflect local heritage
The agency created a concept inspired by the local heritage identified by residents during the 2020 Lansdowne Cultural Consultation. It envisioned a forest of pine trees lining the chines and streets, which lead to the sea - represented by waves in the pavements. The Chine Forest, as it is called, acts as a beacon, attracting people to Old Fire Station Square.
Equally, this work of art was to personify the networked digital age with respect to the environment around it by storing and transmitting locally recorded sounds of nature, the environment and old local stories to create a unique visitor experience.
Schréder STUDIO worked with all agencies, participating in regular design meetings and providing the technical expertise to bring this vision to life.
The columns will form a kind of forest of miniature sounds coming from multiple small speakers positioned at varying heights, that entice and engage visitors.
Customised columns integrate light and sound for an immersive experience
A total of 17 steel columns of varying heights punctuate the square in front of the Grade 2 listed Fire Station. They diffuse light and sound for people relaxing on the benches on the square or passing through. The light and sound in each column are positioned in different directions for a truly engaging sensory experience.
The light is provided by our energy-efficient 1m RGB ILUM MARK linear luminaires. Thanks to their slim profile, they harmoniously integrate into the columns. Each ILUM MARK has four controllable RGB sections (12 DMX addresses) offering versatility and allowing the creativity required for the artist and designers to meet the brief.
The luminaires and loudspeakers are connected to a DMX control system to create different scenarios via time triggers from virtually any web-connected device. The synchronised sound and lighting generate immersive scenes and create a welcoming and accessible public space, while respecting and highlighting the dominance and heritage of the Grade 2 listed former Fire Station building.
A holistic approach
Schréder STUDIO was delighted to accompany Juliet Quintero, Michael Grubb Studio, Coda to Coda and BCP Council in creating this artistic landmark for the city. One of the biggest challenges was to incorporate all the required elements in a slim column whilst maintaining the essence of the design brief. All of the consultants worked with the customer as a coherent team. They regularly visited our offices to view, ‘play’ and revise all the samples that were built for the bespoke elements, providing invaluable feedback.
It’s great to celebrate this new space and artwork with partners who helped to make it possible, and those who will benefit most from the many improvements that we have made to the area - I look forward to seeing events brought forward and hosted here, as well as seeing the Chine Forest artwork capture people’s imagination.
This project perfectly illustrates how urban lighting can be customised to entwine modern elements that enhance a city’s charm, creating a dynamic public realm for people to mingle, converse and connect.