Battersea Power Station became the focus of attention for Londoners as the capital geared up for its festive season. By sheer scale alone, this famous brick behemoth cannot be ignored, but this year it was even more eye-catching, cloaked as it was by a striking, yet sympathetic lighting presentation by Midnight Design.

Dave Bryant of Midnight Design thought manna had fallen from heaven to be offered such a broad canvas as the Power Station: "I knew immediately I wanted to create a design that reflects the power and majesty of the architecture," he said. "The sheer scale of the building exterior has made this a very challenging project."

In keeping with Bryant’s constant search for innovation, Midnight Design is the first company in the UK to purchase the latest Studio Due City Beams from Coe-Tech, included as part of the design. "The City Beams are ideal for the upper reaches of chimney plinths," explained Bryant’s project manager, Martin Toms. "Dave has kept the chimneys proper a bright white using the tight-beamed Philips Arena Vision, the lower plinth is lit with City Colors, and the more collimated output of the City Beams covers the upper plinths perfectly."

Bryant’s design lights each chimney and plinth at four opposing points from five metre high towers on a 30m perimeter of the building, with a further tower within the now roofless turbine chamber. "Each tower doubles as a weather-proof shelter for all the power distribution," continued Toms. "We have over 22km of mains cable running around the site, and all the links for the Avolites Pearl which controls the sequence of colour changes." The colour changes are subtle, blue/green to red/amber to open white, taking just two seconds every 10 minutes.

One of Bryant’s more spectacular effects is the interference between the colour-changing lamps and the battery of 84 MBI floods he has lighting the vast flanking walls between the plinths. "The MBIs create a predominantly blue cast," he said, "but when viewed alongside the dichroic blue of the Coe-tech lamps, the eye perceives them as more a magenta/mauve. Conversely, when the plinths are red, the walls appear a more intense blue."

Such trompe l’oeil effects are entirely appropriate for this lighting event - the Battersea illumination signposted the site as the host for the Christmas and New Year presentation of Quidam - the latest magical extravaganza from Canadian circus phenomenon Cirque du Soleil.

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