Subluminal, UK


Subluminal at John Rylands Library

Subluminal at John Rylands Library

Subluminal at John Rylands Library

sub-, prefix (sʌb, səb)
repr. L. sub- = the prep. sub under, close to, up to, towards, used in composition (cf. under-) with the various meanings detailed below.

luminal, a. l(j)uːmɪnəl)
[f. L. lūmin-, lumen + -al1.]
Of or belonging to a lumen

The late Victorian, neo-gothic architecture of John Ryland’s Library situated in the heart of Manchester created the ultimate interactive theatre for the first Subluminal event. A design collective comprising light, sound and electrical designers; the Subluminal team aspire to set new boundaries of collaborative design and create beautiful, transient installations.

The event attracted members of the design industry and public whilst drawing attention to the value of the sensory narrative within the built environment through the medium of light and sound. The event brought a new level of appreciation by granting the audience access to the library where light and sound came together to create spectacle.

During hours of daylight, the hundreds of visitors walk through the Library daily and are wowed by the majestic architecture. Over three consecutive nights, the Subluminal team demonstrated how light and sound can shape and enhance an environment that is established and celebrated. The lighting design introduced the attendees to architectural elements that are unique to John Rylands Library, and brought to life a space that could be appreciated in a way never been seen before. Elements of sound intrigued and inspired emotions by immersing visitors in a vivid and memorable sensory experience.

Starting the Subluminal experience, guests entered through the historic entrance of the library where a warm light highlighted the vaulted structure, contrasted with areas of complete darkness creating an eerie atmosphere. Leading up the wide staircase and towards the upper level reading room, a bellowing voice read quotations of light and shadow from literature that were projected onto a 58 foot high wall.

The upper level Main Reading Room was flooded with a saturated red light. Contrasting light and shade filled the ceiling picking out the smallest of details whilst highlighting the gothic arches overhead. Lower down, single beams of light illuminated historical books and enticed those present to move toward them as the speech emanated from hidden directional speakers. A statue of John Rylands illuminated with a cool white beam of light greeted the audience and explained the history of the building.

From here, the audience were invited to enter the basements, getting there was not for the faint hearted; a tight spiral staircase dimly lit with LEDs led the way. As the staircase descends each step grows smaller. A deep bass rumble emanated from below the building which became more apparent during the descent. A sub-bass soundtrack accompanied guests through the low basement corridor lined with ancient books and the occasional strobe flash to light the way. During the subterranean experience the element of sub-bass vibrations took over from audible sound to reach a climax before the exit and return to ground level.

With 800 visiters – Subluminal team plans to resurface in the future!