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Beams of Light Illuminate a Medieval Gothic Cathedral

Jason Bruges Studio's 'Light Masonry' traces and highlights the centuries old craftmanship of York Minster.


Photo courtesy of Jason Bruges Studio

The interior of York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, was crafted by stonemasons in medieval times. Now, centuries later, the main nave of the building was complemented with a vast light installation. LightMasonry by Jason Bruges Studio recently paid homage to the work of the highly skilled masons and carvers using beams of choreographed light. 

The beams seek out and outline the vaults of the huge space using a custom system of 48 computer-controlled lights. Designer Adam Heslop, who helped visualize the performance, said it required the studio to develop a whole range of new techniques. 

"With our installation being heavily based on 3D form and geometry, we required a pipeline that would help facilitate this in order to realise the project," Heslop explains to The Creators Project. "The 48 narrow beam moving head light fixtures were operated by a bespoke control system, built to allow the design process to remain as three-dimensional as possible throughout."  


Photo courtesy of Jason Bruges Studio

The studio used Cinema 4D, creating a set of custom plugins to interface the lights directly into the software, giving them the ability to visualize the lights and allow direct control in real time. "In addition to the interface software, a whole host of other plugins were built into C4D such as custom animation tools and a calibration system," Heslop notes. "The animation tools were built for creating complex effects with the beams and to allow us to access the features of the lighting fixtures which existed outside of our visual representation. These included the focusing of the beams and the iris gobos."

The result is a haunting retracing of the Gothic space, illuminating the centuries-old work with otherworldly rays. "The artwork is founded on the construct of creating a secondary layer of dynamic, temporal and ephemeral architecture sculptured from light," notes the studio. "Drawing upon the ceremonial nature of the space, [it creates a] synchronized procession of light that highlights and explores the nave as a choreographed architectural experience."


Photo courtesy of Jason Bruges Studio


Photo courtesy of Jason Bruges Studio


Photo courtesy of Jason Bruges Studio

Find out more about the process behind the installation in the video below.

Learn more about Jason Bruges Studio by visiting their website here.

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