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Astera fixtures illuminate ‘The Heart of Manchester’
Alex Webb, brand manager for Allied London, used 28 x Astera AX1 PixelTubes to create ‘The Heart of Manchester’, a 20-metre high heart shaped light sculpture on the Quay Street façade of the No. 1 Spinningfields building in central Manchester.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Spinningfields commissioned various public art displays around town to explore love and heartbreak in the city. The pulsing Astera AX1 heart was visible across the evening skyline and from key vantage points like the Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink station and as far away as Old Trafford.
The tubes weigh only 1 kg each, and Alex Webb found some industrial strength suction pads which he used to fix them to the inside of the windows along floors 12 to 17 of the building. Black cloth was used as a mask behind the lights and the heart measured approximately 20 metres top to bottom, with its lowest point around 40 metres up the building.
The AX1s were programmed by Pete Deacon productions and Alex Webb, using the Astera App. The original idea was that the tubes could be removed and charged up during the day and then clipped into place ready for the evening’s lighting display, but with mains power available and the fact they can also run as wired fixtures, they were going for 24 hours. With the black cloth masking behind the luminaires and the brightness of the output, they could be clearly seen in daylight as well.
Alex Webb also used the AX1s for another installation on Hardman Square - a 2-metre-high heart shaped floral arrangement of cineraria eucalyptus, asparagus fern and salal, created by local florists at David Wayman Flowers, who are located in Spinningfields. This sat in a specially fabricated metal structure that helped keep it upright, and the AX1s, which were charged up during the day and set up at dusk, were cable-tied to the insides of the metal legs.
(Photos: Allied London)
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