Designed on, in and around a lake crossing and islands, two voices sing out across the water as the bridge, islands and even the lake waters light up in response.

ITHACA created Duet, an innovative light and sound installation, to showcase the iconic curved bridge crossing the five acre lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The 70 metre crossing features 990 bronze uprights on granite sleepers and follows a distinctive ‘S’ curve.

Our light installation had to highlight the bridge, maximise reflections, work from all angles of approach and allow large groups of people to cross without obstruction. While designing and installing we had to remain mindful of the garden’s daytime aesthetic, as well as ensuring that our fixings didn’t damage the bronze uprights on the bridge.

Duet presented an animated light bridge of custom made, linear fixtures, with over 26,000 individually controlled RGB LEDs. With the bridge based fixtures positioned pointing away from the audience, the perspective was that of the ethereal, highlighting the illuminated bronze uprights and creating amazing reflections in the lake waters. Special care was taken animating the flowing patterns of colour, showcasing the different perspectives offered by the architectural curve of the bridge.

On the lake islands, Elation Fuze Par Z120 units were selected to highlight trees and shrubs, complemented by 360 small, custom-made and individually-controlled RGB light spheres, arranged around the lower branches and bushes at the water’s edge. The underwater lighting linking the bridge and islands combined submersible RGB Par fixtures and 60 kilometers of 0.75mm side-glow fibre optic light strands which were designed to float like trailing plants, held in place with a system of fishing weights and floats.

The whole experience was accompanied by our own music composition and sound design, bringing together the distinctive areas into one magical experience. A deliberately cinematic soundtrack helped to enhance the atmosphere of the woodland setting, utilising our own twenty two speaker surround setup.

“With Duet our aim was to create an installation that really celebrated the unique natural and built environment of the lake and the bridge at Kew. Our work is often driven heavily by concept as well as pure aesthetics and in this case we wanted to create the illusions of two ethereal voices singing out to each other across the water, and in turn the lake and central environment coming alive with light, while keeping the surroundings extremely clean and natural. The response was hugely positive, with around 300,000 visitors, some fantastic feedback and many requests for the soundtrack.”
Chris Evans-Roberts, Founder and Creative Director, ITHACA

Lighting design and production and original music composition by ITHACA Studio.

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