VersaTube LED fixtures provide light art in O2 HQ

Feb. 2, 2006
A new installation uses linear LED fixtures to create the aura of an "information stream".
Digital media solutions specialist Projected Image Digital, has supplied and installed over 50 Element Labs VersaTube LED fittings for a stunning, specially commissioned piece of light art in the new Irish headquarters of phone company O2.
O2 HQ in Dublin All 850 of O2's staff have been moved to the impressive new building in Dublin’s redeveloped Docklands area, which was opened by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

The lighting feature is installed beside the central spiral stairwell leading from the first to the fifth floors. It consists of three elegant 17.75 metre high vertical lines of VersaTube, each one metre apart, running the full height of the void, disappearing into the ceiling.

O2 has also used VersaTubes in its UK retail stores, while VeraPixels were used at the O2 stand at CeBIT 2005.

The Dublin installation was designed by Peter Pritchard of Pritchard Themis, a central London based architectural lighting design practice.

Up the stairwell The stairwell is a tight space linking all the office floors without any physical barriers. The idea was to unify them, and to create the aura of an "information stream" going between the floors with the constantly moving content running up the tubes.

The tubes are fitted to the wall in a 20mm deep recessed trench via customised brackets designed by PID, so they are flush to the surface for a very neat finish.

Pritchard worked closely with PID throughout the project. PID’s Rob Fowler and Dick Welland undertook the installation and commissioning of the work on site. The main challenge, said Fowler, was overcoming the difficult access.

For the initial part of the installation process, while the building was still very much a construction site, they took advantage of a large scaffolding tower running the height of the stairwell. However they knew this would be gone when they returned six weeks later to hook the fixtures up to the power.

This left the stairwell, which wasn’t quite close enough to afford access to the tubes, whilst the overall space was too tight to insert a tower. Thinking laterally, they rented in a piece of truss and rigged it at the top of the stairwell, then hung off it at various points with fall arresters whist they commissioned the tubes. Every tube fired up first time when the power was turned on.

PID also specified the Element Labs C1 controller. For content, Pritchard outlined what he wanted, and Fowler developed and refined various video clips in Apple Motion. They came up with the standard ’O2 Wall’ – a data stream flowing motion effect - which looks simple when in operation, but “took a lot of creating” says Fowler. He also created some custom content for use on occasions like Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s day. These are all stored as Quicktime movies on the C1, and will be integrated and triggered by the overall building controller.