Painting Bruges with Light for Wintergloed
Thursday, 19 December 2019
pwl-bruges-wintergloed-180353-the-sourceThere are many other eye-catching works in this extravaganza (photo: Kris Van De Sande)
Belgium - Painting with Light (PWL) has created a 2km walk-through lighting and visual experience in the centre of Bruges to add atmosphere, luminosity and magic for the festive Wintergloed (Winter Glow) season.
Commissioned by Bruges Plus, the organisation responsible for the town’s cultural events, PWL’s winning pitch was led by Peter van den Bosch (business unit manager for leisure & entertainment’) and lighting expert Iiris Rousku who designed the various lighting artworks with their team.
It comprises a series of elegant, eye-catching, ephemeral and different lighting and projection-mapped installations, located in six different areas.
Each installation was inspired by an aspect of the warmth and hospitality of the people of Bruges and its many visitors over the different generations.
Different approaches were taken for each work - some can be observed, some can be touched and interacted with and others are fully immersive.
Some add a playful touch, others utilise synesthetic philosophies and ideas related to colour changing and mood empathy, while others riff with nearby textures, materials and natural elements like water reflections.
This, the first edition of Wintergloed includes the lighting of pathways, waterways, streets, buildings and monuments, trees and foliage, bridges and numerous other spaces and objects along the route, plus a special custom construction - The Cathedral - built in the Station Square, which is lit and projection-mapped.
One goal of the overall scheme was enabling visitors to view each piece of art from different angles, encouraging them to keep returning and re-engaging with the possibility of discovering something new each time.
Projection mapping is involved in two of the installations, the Station Square and the 19m high Poertoren Tower, constructed in 1401 by master mason Jan van Oudenaerde to store the city’s gunpowder, which is also a remnant of the late-medieval city walls.
An enormous moon is projected onto the tower using a Panasonic RZ projector linked to a Christie Coolux media server. This projection showcases the cycle of the moon over a 12-minute timeframe.
The Station Square installation is extremely prominent. The Cathedral is built from a customisable but off-the-shelf combined wooden / tented structure comprising four elegant arched ends which are 10 metres square and 11 metres high.
PWL chose the structure for its aesthetics and as a practical solution to house the video projection system. The team designed the custom print on the outer skins.
The full ceiling expanse and all the walls above 4 metres are filled with projections from five Panasonic PT-RQ32 machines rigged inside the structure, crossing over to project on the opposite walls, with the fifth one beaming up into the vaulted roof.
Video content is stored on one of PWL’s disguise d3 4x4 media servers and includes drawings and artwork collected from local schoolchildren based on the topic of ‘magical winter animals’. These were coordinated by PWL and Bruges Plus who liaised with local schools. Over 294 kids participated and can see their drawings “fall” from the sky inside the Cathedral ceiling, and selected images are highlighted each day.
In the evening, content transforms into a ‘dynamic galaxy’ created by the motion captured movement of people walking inside and outside the tent caught by a motion Kinekt sensor positioned on top of the tent. This galaxy is displayed each day between 7 p.m. and midnight - when the installations are powered off for the night.
The projection elements were installed by Vidi-Square and this part of the Wintergloed 2019 is sponsored by Panasonic.
The cathedral is lit using Chauvet COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 LED battens positioned all around in a curtain of light effect. Robe iPointes are rigged outside the structure to accentuate its central position and draw visitors - like a beacon - from other points around the city.
The Bridge is a light art installation created using 400 x SGM LT-200 3D LED pixel tubes each measuring 2m. This IP65-rated product offers 54 x 2m individually controllable LEDs per tube giving a 35mm pitch, and they are rigged in a specially fabricated roof structure rig supported by a double right-angled goalpost trussing structure stood in a pond in Bruges’ King Albert I park. The installation was inspired by the city’s many bridges.
The Gate was inspired by gates in the city and along the Wintergloed route. This piece features 10 partial gates made from custom-made LED pixel profiles arranged to play with perspective and create a tunnel effect along the narrow lane in which they are located. Visitors can fully envelop themselves in this work, move around and see different things.
PWL commissioned Belgian company Epix to fabricate the custom gates clad in LED pixels which are controlled via three networked Invent Design Digidot C4 Extended pixel controllers.
There are many other eye-catching works in this extravaganza of light including The Source, a spectacular geometric work comprising 30 LED strings each with 150 pixels spanning an 18 x 23m gap across the Minnewater lake - a famous Bruges landmark - between the city’s ice-skating rink and winter terrace.
Mayor of Bruges Dirk de fauw comments: “This lighting concept is a great ‘experience’ thanks to the harmonious interplay of light art installations, light stimuli and projections and it is also functional. Light has an all-encompassing effect enabling two walking directions which allow us to manage our end-of-year crowds much more flexibly. My sincere thanks to the Painting with Light team for their wonderful realization.”
(Jim Evans)

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