Weymouth residents will soon get their first peek at the potential new lighting scheme for the esplanade, as an exhibition is being planned to share the designers’ ideas and invite involvement from the community in shaping the lighting effects being displayed.
The exhibition follows an initial few days of targeted consultation to help the designer ensure it is a feasible concept. The concept, being developed by award-winning design studio Tonkin Liu, celebrates the sweep of Weymouth Bay, and unifies the three distinct character areas of the seafront; the peninsula, the main esplanade, and Greenhill.
Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu said: “We want to bring back the magic and delight of a stroll along the esplanade. The beauty of the system we propose is that it is easy to programme and easy to change; different moods can be created for different times of day, to celebrate seasonality and to reflect different activities on the beach.
“We’ve very much enjoyed working with school groups, a focus group of key elements of the community and the council’s Arts Advisory Panel. We’re also working closely with the Council’s engineers to resolve any technical issues that might arise. We’re looking forward to sharing our concept more widely, seeking lots more input to enable us to home in on the best lighting colours and rhythms that will be uniquely Weymouth.”
As part of a concentrated early engagement phase Tonkin Liu met with Borough Councillors, and also conservation and technical specialists from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, Dorset County Council and Scottish and Southern Electricity to ensure that the proposals were feasible within the technical constraints of the seafront location and could be achieved within the allocated project budget of £200,000.
Dorset Coast Forum, Bounce Back Arts and Tonkin Liu are now inviting everyone from the Weymouth community to an exhibition to view the concept being proposed, and feed in to how the light display could be programmed, the kinds of displays that could be incorporated, and the times of day different patterns of light could be shown.
The exhibition will be held at Weymouth Library on Friday 18th May 10am-5pm, and Saturday 19th May 9am-4pm, with the same material made available online at www.dorsetcoasthaveyoursay.co.uk from Friday 18th May to Thursday 24th May.
Cllr Richard Kosior, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Tourism, Culture and Harbour, said:
“I’d like to encourage everyone interested in the project to come along to the exhibitions and provide their thoughts on this concept. The feedback will be used to put together the detailed design elements of the scheme.”
Nicky Whittenham, Founding Director of Bounce Back Arts, said:
“We are so pleased with the response so far to the innovative concept by Tonkin Liu, and the workshops with local schools have been fun and informative. This will be a unique and welcoming lighting scheme that the whole community can connect with. The exhibition will allow the team to gather further thoughts and ideas from the local community, on how this magical installation will appear in years to come.”
Following the exhibition Tonkin Liu will incorporate the feedback received into final designs which will be discussed again with Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Arts Advisory Panel before being presented formally for sign off by Management Committee in July. It is anticipated that the new lighting scheme will be switched on in Spring 2019, dependent on planning permission.