Reflect – Royal Festival Hall

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I was asked to create a light installation on the River Terrace of The Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank.The Terrace can be viewed from a number of different locations and it was important to me for the piece to have a variety of qualities, depending on viewpoint, which mutually enhanced one another.

I placed troughs of water, with dichroic film under the water, and solar fountains floating within the water, so that luminaires pointed at the water reflected water-rippled colour back up to the undercroft [ceiling]of the terrace. I had applied a frost [translucent] film to the glass windows projecting into the terrace and circles of dichroic film to the set- back remaining glazing. Finally, internally, I set up stands supporting sheets of dichroic film which were blown by fans and reflected light back onto the frosted window film.

The view from the river promenade showed the undercroft with reflected light undulating and rippling over the surface of the concrete ceiling, whilst up-lighters illuminated the supporting columns.

The water rippling colour echoed illuminated water from the adjacent river Thames, while the blown dichroic film reflections offered a sense of vitality and energy emitting from the empty building during Covid closure.

The frost films and dichroic circles offered layers of veiling and engagement whilst allowing the reflected light to both pass through and be held on the glazing.

The whole provides a multi layered reading of the River Terrace ‘slot’ on the facade of the building facing the Thames, which coveys an air of vitality, warmth and energy as an antidote to the sense of grey closure many of us feel as our cities are silenced.