Tate Britain: Lighting as Art

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tate installation

Image by Joe Humphreys | Tate Photography


Last month, The Tate Britain unveiled its latest commission; an immense neon light installation by artist Cerith Wyn Evans.


Forms in Space… by Light (in Time) has been created using 2kg of suspended neon lighting which forms a textured mass of hanging light. The brilliant-white structure snakes its way through the Duveen Galleries, animatedly throwing out shapes and symbols as it goes, like scribbles drawn in the air.


Wyn Evan’s installation is a beautiful illustration of lighting that goes beyond functionality to become something spectacular in itself and it’s a good example of how the way we utilise light in design has developed.


Lighting as an art form


For millennia, light has been used by people to bring about wonder. Because we rely on it for our daily lives, there’s something uniquely dazzling light when it is elevated to convey a message or meaning.

Tate blog 1


Light often has a way of altering the way we think and feel about something, as well as how we perceive it. From lantern festivals to birthday cakes and Christmas trees, light is something that we use to illuminate life.


As lighting technology has progressed, so has the opportunity for artists and designers to create more complex, standalone structures. Rather than using light to illuminate something else, neon and LED lighting technology has enabled artists to build complete structures from light alone.


These dramatic structures make us think about the potential of light, influencing the way it is utilised in a more practical sense. In the same way that modern architecture is structured around maximising natural light, artificial light can be used to create a bold statement.

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Image from Antony Gormley's website


Adding splendour with architectural lighting


Whilst architectural lighting design must always fulfil the practical purpose of illuminating a space, LED and neon present the opportunity to enhance the identity of a building using light, blurring the lines between utility and art.


Our manufacturing experience has taught us there isn’t a lot that can’t be achieved with clever use of the right materials, and helping a designer to achieve something truly unique is the most rewarding part of our job as lighting fabricators.


As architectural lighting technology advances, we’re seeing increasingly ambitious lighting installations on a huge range of projects. Designers are using light as art everywhere from shopping centres to airports, creating spaces that at are as stunning as they are functional. Which can only be cause for celebration!

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Have you got ambitious lighting design project in the pipeline? Tell us your challenge and we’ll help you exceed expectation. 

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