Time Travel, Sweden

Time Travel, Sweden

ART: Best Light Art Scheme – High Budget

Time Travel

Luleå, Sweden

Lighting Design:
ÅF Lighting, Sweden

Luleå Municipality

Main Lighting Suppliers:
Panasonic, Philips


At the Luleå Festival of Light in 2016, ÅF Lighting played a crucial part in the production of the centrepiece light show. The 8000 citizens who participated in the festival were able to witness the façade of the museum in the town square transform into a storytelling time machine, through the projection of a complex light show with narration and soundtrack.

The project celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the city being featured on Unesco’s World Heritage List, and it was especially commissioned for the event and for the site.

The video-mapped projection illustrates the city’s history, from the beginning of time to the present day. It starts off with a dramatic countdown and a visualisation of the Big Bang, after which onlookers get to experience the development of our earth in an educational and entertaining way, before being shown how the city grew into what it is today.

With sound, special effects and breathtaking visualisations, the project succeeded in creating a feeling of unity and pride among the citizens of Luleå. ÅF Lighting produced the video mapping in cooperation with Prague-based company 3dsense, a group specialising in video artistry and 3D-animations. The well-known Swedish theatre director and voiceover actor Mattias Knave wrote and narrated the spoken parts of the show.

Martin Petersson, lighting designer at ÅF and one of the project managers, described the final result: “Our main objective was to tell the story of Luleå, especially of its unique church town of Gammelstad, which was listed as a World Heritage site twenty years ago. It is a tale of light and darkness, fire and ice, and it has been a wonderful project to be part of.”

The project was realised using powerful video projectors capable of projecting 60,000 lumens, half a tonne of speakers and some 20 luminaires, which were installed around the square. The video mapping was produced in After Effects with some sequences filmed with green screen.

While similar projections tend to focus on special effects and ‘tricks’, this show managed to tell a coherent story in both visuals and sound. With only six months to prepare, ÅF Lighting and the other parties involved succeeded in delivering a light show that not only fulfilled the promises to the client, but left the spectators inspired, informed and excited about their city.