Lighting consultant, It Does Lighting was commissioned to provide a visually arresting focal point for Rochester Riverside’s 170ft Blue Boar Crane.

Ecology and the proximity of the new residents who would live close by were core priorities due to the crane’s location next to the river, so a suitably sympathetic yet attractive design was needed.

After months of working from paper-based plans and a mock-up model, due to lack of physical access to the site, due to Covid restrictions, It Does Lighting was able to conduct several onsite trials, with the final completed in July-2022 before the grand unveiling – which was planned for October-2022.

The scheme consists of eleven Colour Kinetics luminaires with Pharos controls. It Does Lighting has chosen to dim most of the luminaires to ensure the right level of brightness without over lighting, keeping the scheme sustainable and energy efficient.

Due to the heritage status of the project, mounting positions were restricted. Therefore, specific luminaires are dimmed to a lower level reducing flare onto the structure.

Lorraine Calcott, Direct and Founder of It Does Lighting, details, “It was important that most luminaires are invisible from the ground. Only the ones mounted on small side arms can be seen to allow us to get the best angle for the light distribution, but they mimic the crane’s structure and blend in from where they are viewed. We have also left the outer edges of the legs unlit, which makes the top section appear floating above the base.”

It Does Lighting worked with Intellilight UK for the system and software programming with support from LITE for the installation.

Bathed in soft blue wash of saturated LED, the lighting design reveals the crane’s industrial nature with strong shadows exposing the skeleton-like form and sharp,hulking lines.

Lorraine explains, “The structure is painted in a pale blue which almost blends it into the sky during the day, so by night we wanted it to be seen from its prominent position along the banks of the Medway but not to dominate against the lovely new Countryside housing development.”

The design blends five shades of ‘perceived’ blue for the main weekday scene, but why blue? Lorraine comments, “Well, it just seemed fitting with the name Blue Boar in the Blue Boar Lane, and just to tie it up nicely, Countryside’s corporate colours are blue too.”

For the weekend, It Does Lighting has created a more dynamic aspect which changes slowly so as not to impact residents or become a visual distraction.

Lorraine adds, “We are also working on other scenes, for example, the spring and autumn equinox, we are delivering suitable options for the two evenings to mark the changing of seasons and then there is a New Year’s Eve setting which will include rainbow colours to show inclusivity and community. An additional patriotic scene has also been created for pageantry days such as the queen’s birthday using red, white, and blue.”

To meet the ecology objectives, It Does Lighting removed the 480nm element from the lighting spectrum and produced the blue using different colours to achieve the same result but without the potential adverse effects. This is also good for human receptors as it keeps the most’ activating’ spectral aspects from impacting sleep and affecting residents’ circadian rhythms.

All scenes dim to a low level after 11 pm to ensure minimal disturbance to locals but maintain the crane’s presence in the landscape.

The newly lit crane links the site’s past, reflecting its working life, and is a testament to the lives of those who worked with these magnificent structures. Furthermore, the full-colour dynamic LED system with lighting control gives Countryside the flexibility to use this landmark to mark special events and holidays and bring alive its legacy to the community.

Andrew Usher, Managing Director, South London, Countryside, said:

“The Blue Boar crane is a fantastic symbol of the river Medway’s industrial heritage and makes a striking centrepiece for the Rochester Riverside development. It Does Lighting has worked hard to illuminate this landmark in a way that is both visually attractive and sympathetic to the surrounding environment. It’s a wonderful addition to the community here at Rochester.”

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