Brilliance, Blackpool

The challenge

‘Brilliance’, played an integral role in Blackpool’s ambitious £3.5m regeneration by light scheme, commissioned by Blackpool Council in 2009. The son et lumiere – light and sound show was the first event of its kind in the UK, designed to boost the resort’s reputation as a lighting destination. The aim was to encourage residents and tourists to visit the town centre at night and enjoy the family friendly atmosphere.

Based on a theme of a continuous ribbon spiralling in and out of the ground, the main focus was the light art work, consisting of six metal architectural arches criss-crossing along the seaside town’s Birley Street with custom-designed luminaires with projectors on the two adjacent streets.

Clients and partners


  • Client logo BDP H160px



Key project requirements

  • Encourage residents and tourists to visit the town centre at night.

The solution

A beautiful synchronisation of moving light, pattern, colour and sound can be changed to a variety of themes to reflect local events, seasons and festivities, to draw and engage visitors to the area.

The idea of a 21st-century son et lumiere came from Blackpool Illuminations concept designer Greg McLenahan of Worldwide Lighting Design (the man behind Blackpool’s giant Mirror Ball). The design concept was developed by Manchester based BDP. DW Windsor were commissioned to engineer and build the dramatic 9-metre-high (8-tonne) arches, each spanning 19 metres, equipped with projectors, lighting and amplifiers. Another first for the UK in this project, involved replacing all the streetlights with 45 lengths of recessed catenary white LED strips.  This removed the clutter of columns and the complete system used 630W, delivering a 60% reduction in energy, over the original SON scheme.

The result was both exciting and dramatic. The installation injected life and a continuous party atmosphere into the seaside resort, earning a well-deserved finalist spot in the 2010 National Lighting Design Awards.

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