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Catching the Beats of Leuven

Catching the Beats of Leuven

Belgium – Creative lighting and multimedia design specialist Painting with Light (PWL) was commissioned by the city of Leuven in Belgium to imagine and realise an eye-catching, living, breathing light artwork to tie in with popular Belgian Radio station StuBru (Studio Brussel)’s 2020 De Warmste Week (Music for Life).

Usually a highly visible charity fundraising extravaganza, this year’s De Warmste Week concept was reinvented and presented in a more subtle format due to pandemic restrictions. While the city of Leuven broadcast StuBru from 20 ‘warm places’ around the town for this week, the light art display became a visual focal point that tied in with this action.

The designated site for the lighting feature was the front of Leuven’s Catholic University Library. The building features impressive neo-Flemish-Renaissance architecture and holds over four million books and manuscripts.

The main objective was to create a spirit-lifting installation that was fun, danced with the music and was filled with positive forward-looking energy, representing hope and better days ahead after a tough time for everyone during the pandemic.

It had to add some aesthetic magic to the immediate environment and be able to run in harmony with the music station, all without drawing so much attention to itself that crowds stopped to gather.

The PWL team was led by Céline Cuypers and Jo Segers, whose challenge was to create and deliver the appropriate design and control system extremely quickly, meeting a deadline of just under three weeks.

Beats of Leuven was created from 153 Chauvet ÉPIX Strip IP fixtures, an IP-65 rated pixel-mapping one-meter-long LED strip, featuring 50 LEDs and a 125º viewing angle. These were chosen as a robust, cost-efficient solution with quality output and good colours, and were supplied by rental company, Splendit.

The ÉPIX Strip IPs were rigged in an angled arrangement creating some elegant looks on a special metal scaffolding framework – also designed by PWL – and erected by the Splendit crew across the street in front of the Library, creating the optical illusion from further away that it was attached to the building!

Céline and Jo created custom video content to play through the fixtures.

The signature look was a gentle, elegant, fluid repeat double-wave pattern cycling through two different colour ranges – blue and gold – which was replayed via MadMapper, while a flame effect representing the De Warmste Week flame symbol flared up momentarily every two to three minutes, triggered by Christie Widget Designer.

The idea behind the flame effect was to give the impression that the installation was reacting each time a StuBru listener called or sent a request in for a song to honour a special person who had helped, influenced, inspired or meant a lot to them during the past year.

PWL’s creative director Luc Peumans comments: “This was a fantastic project for us! We received many good comments from around the world relating to this light art installation, so big kudos to our team and suppliers who helped make an amazing creation happen at such short notice, from tender to delivery in less than four weeks!”

Beats of Leuven was another imaginative example of how light has become a symbol of unity and hope, bringing people together in these very challenging and isolated times of lockdowns and other restrictions.

PWL also designed all ten light artworks for the 2020 Bruges ‘WinterGlow’ illuminated city trail for the second year.

photos: Jo Segers

Catching the Beats of LeuvenCatching the Beats of Leuven

5th February 2021

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