Three London landmarks spread along the River Thames blazed with light through the Christmas and New Year period.
The central of the three structures was the British Airways London Eye , the giant ]privately-funded ferris wheel designed by architects David Marks and
Julia Barfield. Lighting designer Paul Cook lit the Eye's opening ceremony; one year later he and Park avenue Productions were asked back to add some pizzazz over the Christmas period. Their design deployed 32
Vari*Lite VL2416TM 1,20OW HMI washlights one for each "capsule" on the Eyeinside the triangular truss that forms the wheel of the structure.
Con'dome inflatable weatherproof domes from impact Evenement in France (available in the US as the Bub'ble ' from Tracoman), provided weather protection,
with both manufacturers having to undertake work to ensure that their products would cope with the unusual conditions demanded: an ability to operate at any angle as the wheel revolved, and in the cold, wet, and
windy London weather-particularly 450' (137m) in the air. The Con'domes were adapted with gravity- controlled air intakes that always pointed down to minimize the ingress of water.
A Flying Pig Systems Wholehog 2 rackmount controller was also attached to the Eye, with all of the equipment powered from the slip-ring fed busbar that
normally provides power for the lighting in each capsule and which had just enough spare capacity.
To pre-program the show, Cook used the WYSIWYG facilities at Vari-Lite in London. "Then we put a Hog 11, a WYSIWYG computer, an Artistic Licence
DMX-to-ethernet converter, and a microwave ethernet link in a mini-van, parked across the river from the Eye and programmed the show from there." Sequences were based on discussions with the architects-`they
wanted it lit in sky colors, sunsets, colors from Turner paintings, and we aimed to have transitions of color across, around, and through the wheel."
The architects also didn't want to see the Eye's support structures-the legs or the wheel's spokes-and Cook had to keep the lights away from the guest
rooms of the nearby Marriott hotel. He also had to include details such as keeping the fixtures moving gently even when off to prevent the motors from freezing. The scheme certainly presented the Eye in a different
way to the static look it has enjoyed for the last year; discussions about installing a permanent version of the lighting are currently taking place.