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Born from a disused china clay mine and a need for environmental sustainability education, the Eden Project was created in 2001. Eden has 2 large geometric bubble-like biomes, the Rainforest and the Mediterranean. The rainforest is the world’s largest indoor rainforest at 50 meters high and 16,000m2 and the Mediterranean houses some of the world’s rarest horticultural specimens.
For the second year now, GLX Productions has designed and delivered the biome lighting for Christmas at Eden providing one of the most breath-taking light experiences in the country. Using over 300 lighting fixtures, 3km of cable and 5km of fairy lights the site is well worth a visit. However, the installation and running presents a number of considerations which need to be taken into account, but the end result is a truly stunning immersive light scape experience for all.
The dramatic landscapes of the biomes will be lit in many rich colours to create a compelling world of shadows and light. The crowning centrepiece of the Mediterranean Biome this year is a giant mirror ball casting a blizzard of snowflake-like points of silvery light across the giant structure.
The biomes themselves catch light really well provided you have the right positioning throughout. The rainforest, due to its immense height, looks incredible when lit but does present its own challenges. Whereas the Mediterranean structure picks up light easily from the floor due to smaller plants, in the rainforest the vegetation is so thick it is borderline impossible to get light from the floor to the roof. To combat this, we light locally on the floor with 40 LEDJ Spectra Par 7Q8, 30 LEDJ Spectra Par 15Q8 and 35 LEDJ Spectra Flood 18T3 across the space. This picks up the intricacies of the plants from below and rig additional Chauvet Colorado Q40 Panels and Strike 1’s from the roof of the biomes to tie the entire look into one. Where the ‘pillows’ of the biomes themselves are clear it means light can be seen on the inside and outside of the structure simultaneously.
To help regulate the environment in the rainforest, just like in any rainforest there are a large number of ants and insects to contend with. Our crew were having regular run-ins with them. They do get everywhere very quick when making your way through vegetation to focus lights! Coupled with the humid environment, constant watering, birds and lizards the equipment used had to be IP65+ convection cooled and vacuum sealed to be safe for people, animals, insects and the structure.
Although the Mediterranean Biome needed far less extensive measures, we still kept the rule of IP65+ here too as you’d expect. Now we could use our SGM P5’s to light the 3 largest Washingtonia palm trees and cast blue light across the space. Inside, we also lit the cliff face in the same area with P5’s and 2 of our Chauvet Ovations and a snowflake gobo.
It created the perfect backdrop with the amber and magenta hues from the remaining 140+ LEDJ units for the giant mirror ball suspended from the structure. This was lit with 4 of our new Chauvet Professional Rogue Outcast 1 Hybrid fixtures which are pretty quiet and super punchy. They also break away from the mirror ball at points and shine snowflake gobos all over before coming back again – It just breaks it up a little.
The Mediterranean also had a large amount of rare species, some of which are the only variety they have in the UK. We worked very closely with the horticultural team in there to ensure we were careful with our positioning and our footprints!
Despite being covered in ants, insects and sweating in the heat of the rainforest the end result is a wonderful enticing trail of vivid complimentary colours which will remain in the memories of all young and old!
40 x LEDJ Spectra Par 7Q8 Exterior Fixtures
35 x LEDJ Spectra Par 15Q8 Exterior Fixtures
80 x LEDJ Spectra Flood 18T3 Exterior Fixtures
120 x LEDJ Aspect 3W & 9W Feature Lights
10 x Chauvet Professional Colorado Panel Q40
10 x Chauvet Professional Ovation E260WW IP
10 x Chauvet Professional GR-1 IP
4 x Chauvet Professional Strike 1
4 x Chauvet Professional Rogue Outcast 1 Hybrid
8 x SGM P5
Lighting Designer: Zak Nicholson
Production Manager & Crew Chief: Glenn Gridley
Technicians: James Coxon, Catherine Walton, Joe Bower & Embry Koehler
Equipment Supplier: GLX Productions
Production Management: GLX Productions