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All I want for a little help from Doughty with the Downing Street Christmas Tree

All I want for a little help from Doughty with the Downing Street Christmas Tree

UK - On a street that boasts the most famous front door in the world, it’s fitting that the Downing Street Christmas tree is a vision to behold. Over the next few weeks, the tree outside Number 10 will appear countless times on television news reports. So when Future Group Lighting Design was asked to do something a little out of the ordinary to coincide with the International Year of Light, Doughty Engineering was brought on board to provide some expert advice.

Peter Phillipson, award winning lighting designer and principal at FGLD explained: “Back in August we were asked to design something special for the Downing Street tree that signified the International Year of Light without looking like a corporate sponsorship. We considered many types of projection but went for backlit motifs resembling baubles in order that it could be left unmanned.”

Turning to artist friend Inessa Demidova, who is adept at drawing deer, Peter presented several designs to Downing Street. By the time the go ahead came, speed was of the essence for Peter, who had to trust his instincts. “Time was so tight I wasn’t even able to get the final design approved by the Institute of Physics who are heading up the 2015 Year of Light in the UK. I had a very tight window in order to finalise the look, design the luminaires and figure out which LEDs to use – regular LEDs wouldn’t be suitable as they would flicker on camera. I needed state of the art ones that would allow the tree to be filmed and photographed in all its glory. The biggest unknown, however was how to attach the design to the tree and this is where Doughty came in.”

Having used Doughty on a number of theatrical projects, Peter knew that quality products would be best coming from Doughty. “Hanging anything on the tree is no trivial matter but until the day itself I had no idea what method would work and would have little time to install them. Dan Phillips at Doughty was incredibly helpful. I wanted three or four potential solutions but would only use one on the day and Dan discussed this at length.”

Peter continued: “Having ordered several bits of Doughty equipment through White Light, it’s apparent just how important quality manufacturing is to them. But just as important in my eyes is the level of knowledge and expert advice they are able to give. They don’t just sell a product – they sell an all round excellent service and that’s invaluable. Doughty is the best, making all the bits and bobs that nobody wants to look at but which are vital in to the delivery of a safe and reliable project.”

photo: John O’Brien

19th December 2014

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