Aurora Borealis, Stockholm International Airport Arlanda

The gigantic lighting installation consists of a series of undulating 4m high chainmail curtains snaking through the entire 65m length of the shop. The lighting is then set to run a “show” with the overall programme designed to be 11 minutes long.

As the Northern Lights are affected by a solar cycle that lasts for approximately 11 years we designed the ‘show/effect’ to last 11 minutes (to represent 11 years) with a fade out to nothing (“dark” period -11 SECOND pause of no lighting to represent the 11 years again) before fading back in again and restarting the 11min ‘light show’.

The full 11min show starts off with a small amount of ‘lighting activity’ and starting off subtly before ‘ramping-up’ in ferocity, then slowing down, then ramping-up even more, slowing down then gradually ramping-up to a finale before fading out again.

We wanted a replication of the Aurora Borealis, as accurate to the shift and speed as possible and random enough to look natural. In order to give this “random feel” the tempo of the lighting changes varies with some of the lighting runs intended to be very quick to build the drama while others are slower and more ethereal.

We have also purposely kept the palette of lighting colours fairly controlled so that it looks more natural and not artificial and like a lighting effect, picking out only the most recognised colours and hues from the Aurora. Obviously from an artistic and installation perspective, creating that all important “sense of place” it hopefully speaks for itself …

However from a commercial / retail angle the Aurora creates a “tourist attraction” which of course increases footfall in the store and increases dwell time in the space with people wanting to stay and experience the show, and ultimately wanting to stay in the shop, therefore more likely to spend money.

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