Lancaster Ginnels Case Study
Who is BCL Lighting Design?
BCL Lighting Design specialise in providing a bespoke lighting design service for theatre, events, conferences, product launches and site-specific productions. The company has over 25 years of experience in lighting design and technical management.
What did we make with BCL?
BCL came to us with a project for three large, decorative acrylic lenses for an illumination installation. In an embryonic idea stage, the lighting design referred to a Jacobite Rose, constructed from moulded acrylic. This acrylic would then be highly polished to give a water/glass effect.
The project roots from a call from Lancaster Business Improvement District (BID) for lighting specialists to design artistic lighting installations to illuminate the local Lancaster ginnels, or alleyways, in an interesting way. The hope was to increase footfall and provide a unique look to the ginnels. BCL submitted plans for three ginnels, and was chosen as the preferred designer.
Today, one of these ginnels, “Sir Simon’s Arcade”, leads to a number of businesses, but previously it led to The Ole Sir Simon, a 16th century Coaching House. BCL’s design for the lighting installation refers to this Coaching House and the history that revolves around it. Sir Simon was associated with the Jacobite uprisings and from this, BCL took inspiration, using the Jacobite Rose as a symbol.
How did we achieve this?
When first approached by BCL, the lighting designers supplied us with a moodboard containing thumbnail images of Celtic style jewellery, featuring the Jacobite Rose.
Due to budget restraints, the first designs Midton proposed were a routed acrylic sheet. However, on learning more about the project, we saw potential and decided to invest in this installation. We saw the opportunity to learn from this installation. By adapting the design of the Jacobite Rose, we would be able to create a more flowing surface and organic curves for the light.
To achieve this, our designers produced a second round of CAD artwork from descriptions in order to produce the mould. Our designers were able to take a set of pictures and turn this into a full CAD drawing of what BCL had envisioned. The designs went through three stages of revision, with our team offering suggestions and offering different examples each time as a starting point. BCL placed a lot of faith in our ability to maximise this project to its full potential.
BCL were initially concerned with the size and weight of the pieces, with a 60cm diameter and 5cm width, with deep curves. Machining a piece this size was bigger than the capacity for our machines. For this, we had to split each section into smaller pieces, using a rubber moulding system. Additionally, the finishing process presented a similar problem. We created new tooling to register the size of this piece. We then developed a coating with a partner to later reconnect these pieces. Care was taken to hand finish each of the three pieces to ensure precision and perfection.
After delivery, the lights were fitted with wooden surrounds that were engineered locally. These surrounds have routed recesses that allow high brightness LED tape to be concealed. The tape is RGBW, allowing the installation to illuminate the roses in different colours at various times of the year.
What is next for BCL and Midton?
Today, the lights continue to illuminate the ginnels every evening.
Our willingness to experiment and create new and stylised effects with acrylic is what established our relationship with BCL Lighting Design. Working with the lighting design company inspired us to work with acrylic in new ways, reminding us of the beauty acrylic can hold.
The project was not only a huge success for BCL but also our team here at Midton. Working with BCL was a process of R&D, and through working with the light installation we saw an advancement in our tooling and skillset. We were lucky to work with a team who put faith in our innovative and experimental processes.
Speaking with Brent from BCL, the designer explains that he “would definitely like to work with Midton again, and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them for a bespoke service”. Here at Midton, we also hope to find the opportunity to collaborate with BCL again in the future.
If you would like to work with us, or to even ask us a question, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.