During evening events at M Shed the coloured lights in the main foyer will be dimmed to avoid dazzling people who attend. This means the room lights will wash out the coloured lights on these occasions. The coloured lights elsewhere in the building will remain on though including the cafe and the smaller western foyer.
Days/times when the main foyer colour lights are dimmed:
Thursday 17 March – will not run until after 7.30 pm
Monday 21 March – will not run until after 9 pm
Friday 25 March – will not run at all
Saturday 26 March – will not run until after 7 pm
Thursday 31 March – will not run until after 7pm
Friday 1 April – will not run at all
Saturday 2 April – will not run at all
This project uses colour changing LED lights. Because these types of light produce hardly any heat, all the power they consume is converted in to light. In fact they produce nearly 10 times as much light for the same amount of power used by conventional lights.
In numbers, the energy used to light up the foyer while the project runs is approximately 2 kWh. This is the same as a small domestic heater used to warm a single room. Solar panels on the roof of M Shed produce around 44 kWh on average. This means this project uses less than 5% of the power produced by M Shed’s panels over the same number of hours.
The rest of M Shed’s energy comes from 100% renewable tariff.
Being in the centre of the city, M Shed and adjacent areas are all accessible by good public transport links, on foot and by bike.
Due to the temporary nature of this installation a full review of the impact has not been possible. The lighting units that are being used are single frequency coloured LEDs and the configuration of the lighting does not use or produce white or UV light.
As the lighting will move through the spectrum of colours each night the exposure to any single colour will be limited. The units are directed within the building and are timed to turn off at 1am further reducing any possible impact.
During the evening/night, Tidelight can be experienced outdoors from many places across the Harbourside area. This should allow the project to be viewed safely from a distance if necessary but please always follow the latest government guidance.
If visiting M Shed itself you can go to their website for the latest information on their Covid-19 arrangements.
M Shed is located on the waterfront and faces out towards the cultural and commercial core of the city. The building lit up as Tidelight, will act as a beacon reminding us of the connection to the sea beyond. And how, even in the bustle of a modern city, the big powerful forces of nature are present.
For those travelling from the neighbourhoods to the south of Bristol towards the centre by bike and on foot many will use Gaol Ferry bridge which crosses the still tidal New Cut and then down past M Shed. This would allow people to directly see the correlation between the height of the water in the New Cut and the colour of the lights.
Tidelight coincides with the current M Shed exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The museum recognised links between Tidelight and categories in the competition. Many images in the exhibition communicate powerful messages about climate crisis and loss of biodiversity. They also offer the public an opportunity to identify with the natural world and reflect on their relationship with the environment. In highlighting the tidal range in Bristol, Tidelight offers a way to connect to a local event in nature. It also provides a space to consider the relationship that Bristol has with the sea.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a touring exhibition from Natural History Museum, London. It is on display at M Shed until Sunday 5 June 2022. Find out more here
Colour changing lights have been fitted as an integral part of the architecture throughout M Shed. A computer plugs in to the central control panel running specially produced software that allows the live tide data from the Environment Agency to directly control the colour of the lights.
The majority of the lights are already fitted in to the building as part of the architecture and located everywhere from the large foyer spaces, through to the cafe and meeting rooms. These lights are all centrally controlled. Many of these spaces are glass fronted and outward facing so different parts of the building will appear illuminated from within after dark.
In addition, supplementary colour changing floodlights are temporarily installed in the large glass fronted foyer space that faces out over the water. These face upwards from the ground bouncing light off the ceiling and around the interior to produce the ‘lantern’ effect.
Both the lighting system already installed in M Shed and the supplementary lighting are able to reproduce millions of colours allowing for a smooth transition between hues as the tides change.