Truce Wall

London, United Kingdom


Eleanor Rennie Architects


Cost Consultancy
PT Projects

Mike Smith Studio
Light Art

Architecture + Environment

The Truce Wall was a temporary artwork installed during the Olympic Games to enable all athletes and dignitaries from every nation to sign the piece as they arrived at the Athlete’s Village, as a symbol of their commitment to the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The brief called for a light box wall, but given that most of the athletes would encounter the artwork by day, Eleanor Rennie Architects decided to produce a light box piece that plays with natural light in the day and artificial light after dark.

The challenge was to make clear resin material ‘catch’ light; to produce a beautiful quality of artificial light to rival the natural lighting effects and to make sure that the lighting was visible as soon as daylight started to fade. The brief also required the installation to be able to be dismantled and re-installed after the Games, as the original intention was for the installation to be divided into individual totems and given to schools and town halls. All of this had to be achieved on an extremely tight budget.

Material samples of clear resin blocks were tested with applied dichroic films in order to resolve how to get the best lit effect both with natural and artificial light. These tests consisted of driving light through the blocks using a number of different light sources, beam angles and orientations. The tests showed that the linear luminaires could not be fixed to the base of each resin totem, as whilst it produced a great lit effect, the light sources would be visible, ruining the magical quality of the illuminated material. Additionally, the cost of the lighting scheme would be too high. Instead, an indirect trough lighting detail beneath each totem was developed, which created a glow from the base as if the resin piece was being forced from the ground. The light catches on all of the corner edges of the acrylic, revealing the colours of the dichroic film and causing the athletes’ signatures to glow.

Direct sunlight, diffuse daylight and artificial light each produced a completely different effect on the artwork, so that its appearance changed throughout the day and night, manipulating the colour and transparency of the piece.

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