Litestructures makes a splash at Westfield Stratford City

Jason Bruges Studio, in conjunction with Prolyte Group, have designed the world’s first digital water feature for the new Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London. The innovative design of Westfield Stratford City ensures that the scheme is much more than just a shopping mall and demonstrates a real commitment to public space and a connection to the Olympic Park. Renowned installation artists, Jason Bruges Studio, were commissioned to create a groundbreaking ‘public art’ design to be a key feature in Chestnut Plaza, the central public square leading to the Stadium. And they turned to Prolyte Group’s creative brand division, Litestructures, to help them realise their vision.

The brief was to create a design that would be ‘both engaging and sensorial’ and was shaped by Westfield’s collaboration with the Discover children’s charity, which took children around London and asked them what they wanted to see in public art. They expressed an interest in a generative piece using water. This centrepiece public art commission is a digital water feature, dubbed ‘Digital Fountain’, and uses light to represent water in an illusory waterfall effect installation.

The Litestructures team undertook comprehensive 3D solid modelling allowing virtual engineering of both the structural integrity and complex assembly of the structure. Advanced profiling, forming and fabrication techniques at its Wakefield facility, combined with in-house powder coating, made it possible to create the stunning faceted black aluminium elevations. The main tower stands at an impressive 12 metres tall, is triangular in plan and contains 2856 LCD panels and their associated controls and cables. Angled panels surround the top of the tower with a more tapered design towards the base of the structure to mitigate ‘climbability’. Granite benches, known as ‘rills’, incorporating 4165 smaller LCD panels, surround the base of the tower giving the impression of water dissipating along channels as it reaches ground level.

To bring this ‘waterfall’ to life, Jason Bruges Studio created physical simulation software that schedules animations to play across the pixel surface of the rills and the nodes of the fall. The system, which is also accompanied by audio, has been designed so that it can be animated as a holistic canvas or individual elements can be controlled independently.

Prior to installation, the complete unit was pre-built by the Litestructures team, including all electrical assembly, at the LS-Live Studio adjacent to Prolyte’s UK facility.

The piece is designed to ‘provide a synergy between sections’ of Westfield, and aims to have a presence both during the day and at night.

Bruges says, ‘This ground-breaking sculpture will contribute to Westfield’s ambitious plans for combining art and culture with world-class public spaces at the new development.’

The installation is set in view of the main site lines approaching one of the centre’s public squares. Westfield estimates that this will be overlooked by 70 per cent of the footfall from Olympic spectators, travelling across the town centre link bridge to 2012 games venues.


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