Located in positions along the seafront promenade, the iconic Southend lighting columns stand at over 20 metres tall. The columns provide white ambient light to surrounding areas from the bank of projectors located within the top section, but they are also lined with RGB LED colour change luminaires, located behind perforated mesh panels to create vibrant visual displays.
The colour change displays were designed as a modern interpretation of the traditional seafront illuminations, for which Southend is famous. The leaning triangular shape of each column is reminiscent of a ship’s sails and has a functional purpose in helping to contain light spill and to direct it away from the beach.
As part of the design process, a series of scale models were constructed to test the visual impact of the columns along with light spill reducing blade design. A couple of photos in the gallery above show a hand-built 1:25 scale model of the Southend Lighting column design, based on GA and detail drawings. The final design differs slightly in the smaller details, such as mesh panel joints and projector locations. The model was constructed from plywood, sheet balsa wood, sheet polystyrene and chemiwood.
I was lucky enough to be part of the team which designed the columns from concept to realisation, and it is one of those rare projects where the final realised design was pretty close to one of our early concept sketches.
The columns were installed in 2010.
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Photography by Ben Hollands. © copyright Ben Hollands / studiofractal, all rights reserved.