The Beacon

Museums & Visitor Attraction

Designed by lottolab and built in collaboration with Interactive Imagination and van der Graaf Studio. The Beacon demonstrates the relationship with our environment, with dynamic lighting that displays how colour is affected by its context. The six metre steel tower incorporates solar cells and 16 florescent lights behind different colours of acrylic. The installation produces its own electricity through an array of solar panels, mounted at the top of the tower, and through a 20-metre path of innovative solar paving slabs, which are made from photovoltaic cells, embedded in a mixture of recycled glass and resin – manufactured in Hackney, from glass produced as a waste product in the borough.

During the day, the Beacon is illuminated by sunlight, which at the same time charges up a bank of batteries in the base of the installation (there is no mains power). At night, the batteries use their stored solar energy to power 16 high-efficiency fluorescent tubes. The Beacon is lit up at night only if the solar panels have converted enough energy to drive the lighting display. How fast the display depends on the viewer: the more the viewer moves, the brighter and faster the Beacon’s display. In short, how long the Beacon remains illuminated (if at all), and how brightly or fast, depends on ecology.

During the day it casts the light of the sun into coloured shadows on the pavement. By night, stored solar energy illuminates the energy-efficient light fittings.

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