The Big 4

London, United Kingdom



Main Contractor
Mike Smith Studios

Andrew Howis

Strategy + Branding

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Channel 4, the Big 4 was a project conceived and realised by brand communications agency Freestate and involved turning the company’s iconic 4 logo into a 16-metre-high sculpture outside its headquarters in London’s Pimlico.

The challenge
Speirs + Major was approached only three weeks before the installation of the sculpture and asked to design the night-time image of the piece. The aim was to reinterpret the complex structure so that it would be seen quite differently after dark, and highlight its distinctive disjointed nature.

The solution
The solution was to leave the primary view of the structure in silhouette, illuminating the nine disparate elements of the logo from the side.

Using a single lighting angle – to the side and slightly behind the structure – allowed all the south faces of the structural pieces to be lit strongly with spotlights using a variety of optics. This positioning also allowed the rear edges to be picked out, providing a halo glow that strengthened the silhouette of the sculpture against the backdrop of the office lighting.

The lighting also had to meet Westminster City Council’s requirement for low glare and luminance levels due to the proximity of residential buildings and a busy street. This was achieved through the careful selection of optics and the use of custom beam control accessories. Both the client and design team were also keen to minimise energy consumption. By using appropriate optics and harnessing the spill from the office lighting, the installation uses just 1.2kW.

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