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Arup designs 101 Collins Street Spire Lighting, Melbourne

Lighting design reaches new heights with bright new cityscape

Visible from all directions, the spire of 101 Collins Street is a Melbourne city landmark that lights up the night sky with a choreographed light display made from 700m of linear LEDs moving in a sequence of rich hues and intensities.

Swirls of colour inspired by the building’s internal finishes gently envelope the spire platforms and perimeter of the upper building and touch down onto the buttress.

As creative and technical leads of the lighting installation, Arup executed the design from conceptual thinking through construction and commissioning. The lighting team also collaborated with our façade, structural and electrical engineers to design bespoke bracketry and electrical systems.

The team was further commissioned to design custom content for display on the building so that the system could be used to its full capability. Through stakeholder workshops, Arup’s lighting team helped the client share some of the local stories, history of the iconic building and its important position on the city skyline. Custom scenes can be called up to celebrate annual calendar events, as well as nightly shows and animated content to engage with the city and community.

Different modes of the spire lighting design

The design takes inspiration from the grand, soaring interior of the 101 Collins Street lobby and its sophisticated metallic palette, and from the diversity of the city itself – a colourful, frenetic urban hive, visually represented at night through hues of light.

Project Summary


700m of linear LEDs
16 million colours in spectrum
60 storeys high

Watch the spire of 101 Collins Street lighting up the Melbourne cityscape

Invisible during the day, the permanent light fixtures leave the building’s familiar silhouette and architecture visually intact. Under the cloak of darkness, however, the building’s façade transitions to a 3D canvas of evolving art, with the initial sunset scene morphing into a 7pm community show and a 10pm romantic show. A series of scenes follow on the hour, each designed to represent a theme, before the evening’s showcase exhibits wind down with a moonset refrain.

“101 Collins Street is an iconic building in Melbourne which now has a unique lighting design to enhance the city’s skyline. Through light, we have helped the client create the means to engage in a dialogue with the local community on a city scale.” Tim Hunt, Melbourne Lighting Leader

The content is all custom designed by Arup, working alongside the client and stakeholders to understand how feature lighting could help the client engage with the city after dark.

A process of testing and developing the content of the light show in one-minute bursts took place during ‘4am reconnaissance missions’ by the Arup team, client and their collaborators. These were scheduled over a two-month period to minimise the chances of the public seeing it before the opening event. Many physical tests on the spire structure were completed before this to ensure the lighting effects would be achieved as intended.

https://www.arup.com

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