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The Design Brief An Opportunity to Design New Work for the 2020 World Famous Blackpool Illuminations

This is an exciting and unique opportunity to work with the world famous Blackpool Illuminations, the national institution for light and creativity, to bring new work to an audience in excess of 3.5 million during the Illuminations season. We are inviting expressions of interest from international artists, designers and creative professionals to design new work as part of a major strategic plan to reinvent the Illuminations for a 21st century audience. We invite expressions of interest from artists, designers, creative professionals, and lighting companies experienced in creating work for the public realm to produce outline concepts. We will select up to five artists/companies from the expressions of interest with each receiving an honorarium design fee of ÂŁ1000 to produce their concept design proposals in response to our brief. The winning design will be selected by a Commissioning Panel - a minimum budget of up to ÂŁ100k is available to produce the work. It will be unveiled to the public for the first time in August 2020 for the Blackpool Illuminations season.

The Brief Blackpool Illuminations The ‘greatest free light show on earth’ has been a major part of Blackpool’s attraction since 1879 when they were described as ‘Artificial Sunshine’. There are six miles of traditional festoons, features and tableaux along the Promenade with illuminated tram tours every evening, from the end of August to the beginning of November for 66 nights. The “Big Switch On” is the grand opening event and start of the Illuminations season when the switch is pulled by a famous celebrity (previous Switch-On stars being Jayne Mansfield to Red Rum) in front of a crowd of 20,000 people on the Tower Festival Headland.

Background What could be more exciting than not only seeing your work in lights, but also knowing you’ve created something that’s visible from space?! The Blackpool Illuminations truly are a British Icon and have, over the last 100 + years, inspired the world.

The winning entry in the competition will need to be both eye catching and hugely creative. We’re looking for a real sense of newness and innovative originality in the designs and I personally want maximum impact.

Since 2016, our Lightpool projections have transformed The Blackpool Tower into a sea of light, colour and sound, as a stunning, digitally-mapped multi-media show is projected on to this iconic building; and the traditional Illuminations have been complemented by the Lightpool Festival, our contemporary light art festival with temporary installations and performances across the town that takes place during the October half-term period. Blackpool Lightpool and the Illuminations are a key member of Light Up the North, a network of light festivals across the north of England supported by Arts Council England.

The historic Blackpool Illuminations Archive contains a unique and inspiring record of original designs from the Illuminations through the decades.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Creative Curator Blackpool Illuminations

Lightworks Blackpool Illuminations has also got its own highly skilled and experienced production team consisting of engineers, technicians, artists, animators and riggers now based at a state-of-the-art depot, known as Lightworks based near Blackpool Airport. The team have a wealth of experience manufacturing installations using many different types of materials. This resource is available to use for the creation of your work if appropriate to your design, but costs will need to be built into the £100k production budget.

Our Aspirations for the new Art Work

Technical Guidelines and Fabrication

There are no preconceived ideas of what the work or works could be…..we want our audiences to be wowed, surprised by the spectacular and be awe inspired by the ingenuity of the work. It could be interactive, and it will bring a sense of fun and playfulness to its audience. We want to see colour and light used to encourage people to explore the seafront. It will naturally create those classic picture opportunities to spread the word to people all over the world that Blackpool Illuminations is reinventing itself for the 21st Century; that it is a ‘must-go’ see experience if you have never been before or definitely worth making a return trip if you are a lapsed visitor from the past.

One of the biggest challenges for the work will be durability. It will be required to stand up to the Irish Sea environment of gale force winds and the work being blasted by the sand; it needs to be sited for the full three months of the Blackpool Illuminations season from end of August to beginning of November. The work will need to be robust enough to last at least five Illuminations seasons in Blackpool and be designed and constructed in such a way that it is able to be stored at Lightworks and hired out to other event commissioners out of season.

However, the work must be conceived with a clear understanding of the pressure that it will have to endure during the season with huge footfall and with exposure to all weathers, sited next to the Irish Sea.

The Illuminations Team have a wealth of knowledge in terms of durable materials for our hostile seafront environment and will be available to share that knowledge to all shortlisted artists/companies. The Team have developed lighting products specifically to work in the hostile seafront conditions and if appropriate to your concept, these products could form part of your design proposal.

We are open to whether or not you design work that uses all, part or none of the design and fabrication skills and facilities available at Lightworks.

Talbot Square

If you wish to use the skills at Lightworks we are very open to hosting you at Lightworks on a residency basis to collaborate with the team on developing the winning concept design and fabricating the work.

ria S





Siting - Geographic Guidelines

Church St

The map included in the brief shows the key locations we want you to consider for the work in the Central area of the Promenade. The Lighting Columns along the Central Promenade section (pink line on map) are available to use if you want to use these but we do not want to restrict you to this traditional approach and so this area west of the Tram Track can be utilised for the work (including the beach or sea).

New Bonny St


We want you to be innovative, bold and imaginative and ideas put forward should play with and make the most of Blackpool’s USPs, our piers, the Irish Sea, our headlands and other key architectural features along the promenade.

Map: The highlighted area within the dotted lines are the potential locations

84 Promenade A5

The work needs to be visible and alluring to the visitors that are driving along the promenade but a key part of our strategy and forward plan is to get audiences to get out of their cars and explore the seafront and town centre.

Chapel St

Manchester Square Headland

Princess St

The Selection Process & Criteria

Artists will be appointed through a competitive selection process by a Commissioning Panel. From those EOI received artists/companies will be shortlisted and invited to develop concept design proposals. First Stage: Expression of Interest How To Apply

We are inviting expressions of interest from artists with a proven track record of highquality commissions for the public realm. We would like to see: 1. Information about your practice. 2. Five examples of previous work that you feel are relevant to this brief (links to websites or documents no bigger than 5MB). 3. Why you are interested in this opportunity. 4. How you feel your practice and relevant experience would fit with the brief. 5. Your initial idea in response to the brief that you would like to develop if you were selected.

Please keep submissions to under three sides of A4. Please send your expression of interest applications to; the deadline for submission is Wednesday, 28th August 2019 by 12 noon.

Artist’s Scope of Work for this Stage

Shortlisted artists/companies will be invited to a familiarisation/site visit day. Artists will then be expected to develop their concept proposal through initial consultation and independent research and prepare a high quality and detailed proposal which should include: 1. Visualisations of the work which clearly set out the concept, information on the size, materials, weight and appearance


3. 4. 5.

of the artwork. Drawings or a maquette(s) can be submitted. A written narrative outlining the ideas, research and inspiration for the key concepts associated with the artwork, and its appropriateness for the site and function. An outline methodology for production and fabrication. An outline budget for detailed design, fabrication and installation and outline time line. Consideration for maintenance and long-term sustainability of the proposed artwork.

Fees for this Concept Stage (including all expenses) is ÂŁ1,000 (excluding VAT). If you are an individual artist you must be able to provide a Unique Tax Reference Number.

All those artists/designers/companies shortlisted are required to attend a site visit day at the beginning of the process and present their ideas to the Commissioning Panel on submission/completion.

Artists will be notified if they have been selected by Friday 6th September 2019 and the briefing and site visit will be arranged for the week of 16th September 2019. The scoring matrix that will be used to ascertain the winning design will be detailed at the briefing.

Deadline for Submission of Design Concept Proposals will be 1st November 2019.

Presentation of concept proposals to the Commissioning Panel and other Key Stakeholders: Thursday & Friday 7 & 8th November 2019. For more information contact: Richard Williams, Illuminations Manager Tel: 01253 476407

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Blackpool Illuminations Design Competition  

Design a fabulous new addition to the greatest free light show on Earth!

Blackpool Illuminations Design Competition  

Design a fabulous new addition to the greatest free light show on Earth!