Birley Street, Blackpool

Birley Street, Blackpool

Client: Blackpool Council
Architect: BDP Lighting
Contractor: J McCann & Co (Nottm Ltd)
Type of works: design and manufacture of a bespoke suspended trunking and street lighting system from DW Windsor.

Six giant arches, housing a light and sound system and stretching the entire length of a pedestrianised street, are part of an ambitious regeneration scheme for Blackpool’s town centre. The scheme for Birley Street, known as Brilliance, also involves what is probably Britain’s first overhead LED street lighting.

The idea of a 21st-century son et lumiere came from Blackpool Illuminations concept designer Greg McLenahan of Worldwide Lighting Design. The design was developed by BDP Lighting which liaised with manufacturer DW Windsor and principal contractor J McCann to make the vision a reality.

Originating from the idea of a continuous ribbon spiralling in and out of the ground, the arches have a tubular steel skeleton covered by marine-grade aluminium. They are 9m high with a foot length of 18.7m and weigh more than eight tonnes. Each has three Robe ColorSpot 2500E AT moving-head projectors, two 200W ChromaFloods from Pulsar, as well as iColor Flex SL LED chains from Philips Color Kinetics integrated into the underside, providing a colour-chase sequence during the shows and static coloured light in between.

A bespoke suspended trunking and street lighting system, spans the tops of the arches. Designed and manufactured by DW Windsor, the 350m trunking houses a series of recessed linear LED fittings (45 strips, each 1m long and with 188 White LEDs).

The solution simultaneously solved the problem of getting the power and control cabling the length of the street to each of the arches (as the street was believed to sit on a concrete raft which meant that trenches could not be dug) while avoiding the clutter of conventional street lighting. The whole system uses just 630W, 60% less than the energy previously used.

While the main focus is on Birley Street itself, the three streets either side provide a flavour of the event with gobo projections. DW Windsor supplied a bespoke family of single and dual-headed columns to house street lighting and moving head projectors.

The two-year-long project has been one of the most difficult that DW Windsor has undertaken, not only because of the scale but because of the engineering challenge it represented. “This project has taken us into a completely different area in terms of both engineering and manufacturing,” said Terry Dean, Managing Director of DW Windsor. “In meeting this challenge we have broadened our expertise considerably.”

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