Lighting for the Infinity Bridge by Speirs and Major Associates

February 13, 2010

Speirs and Major Associates have shared with us some photos that show off their work on the lighting of the Infinity Bridge that was completed last year in Stockton-on-Tees, England.


Lighting for the Infinity Bridge by Speirs and Major Associates

About the bridge:

Your browser may not support display of this image. The brief called for an iconic structure as part of the Stockton-on-Tees regeneration of the North Shore site.  The resulting footbridge now links the north and south shores and provides better access to business and jobs in the area.

Designed by Expedition Engineering, the slender bowstring bridge cuts a distinctive silhouette across the River Tees. A 230m-long concrete walkway is supported by a pair of asymmetric steel arches that appear to skip across the river like a pebble skimming water.

Speirs and Major Associates designed the lighting in such a way that the iconic twin arches reflect in the water at night to form the mathematical symbol for infinity – hence the name.

About the lighting:

The designers bounced blue light off the water to light the underbelly of the deck and form a blue zone above the water. Cold white light was used to reveal the structural form and create the sense of a floating wave hovering just above the deck.

In typical SaMA fashion, all lighting equipment was carefully concealed. Lights are mounted on outriggers away from the bridge so that pedestrians aren’t aware of the fixtures or disturbed by their glare.

Along the surface of the deck, light is programmed to respond to the presence of people, guiding them down the walkway or signalling the approach of oncomers. There are blue and white LED units concealed under the handrail. When people cross the bridge, the sensors trigger a change from blue to white, leaving a ‘comet’s trail’ of light in the pedestrians’ wake. (See video)

No other bridge is known to have quite the same design. Competing in the awards for Structural Engineering Excellence against over 100 global entries, the Infinity Bridge went on to win the overall Supreme Award.

Client: Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Design: Expedition Engineering
Lighting design: Speirs and Major Associates
Principal contractor: Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd
Photography: James Newton

Speirs and Major Associates is a UK-based design practice that uses light to enhance the experience of the visual environment. Their work is wide-ranging in terms of type and scale and includes architecture, strategic projects and innovative product design. Completed architectural projects include Barajas International Airport, the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi, the Sackler Crossing at Kew, Copenhagen Opera House and the interior of St. Pauls Cathedral, London. They have also developed strategic lighting master plans for several cities and developments including Cambridge, Coventry, Durham, Al Raha, Abu Dhabi and Burj Dubai. The practice has been credited with helping to raise awareness of the lighting design profession globally. Today it employs 30 people drawn from disciplines including architecture, art, lighting, interior, graphics and theatre.