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Darling Quarter Flicks the Switch on Massive Digital Canvas


The World’s largest permanent interactive light display, named Luminous at Darling Quarter, has been turned on (May 18).


Luminous at Darling Quarter represents an important investment in green digital art by the Darling Quarter joint stakeholders, Lend Lease, Commonwealth Bank and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.


The project, which has taken 12 months to complete, will establish Darling Harbour’s vibrant new precinct – Darling Quarter, as the new face of digital arts in Australia.


Bruce Ramus, creator of Luminous at Darling Quarter says, “The digital façade will add radiance and playfulness to the precinct and bring people together in the spirit of creating light and art for others to enjoy.”


Ramus says Luminous at Darling Quarter has been the collaborative effort of many, resulting in a unique approach to urban space that aligns public art, community engagement and commercial vitality. “It is efficient, innovative and sustainable,” he says.


Luminous is spread across four stories (14 metres high) of the two buildings that are home to Commonwealth Bank’s Sydney headquarters.  The facades’ two low resolution screens span a distance of 150 metres in total, making it the largest permanent, interactive light installation in the world.


When the sun goes down Sydneysiders can experience Luminous six evenings a week from the Community Green adjacent to Darling Quarter’s dinning and bar hub.

From May to December, Tuesday through until Sunday, expect to see digital art created by Ramus – the man behind many of the major lighting projections at the Sydney Opera House and Federation Square in Melbourne.


“The visual content seen in the façade is gentle and abstract using colour, movement and pace to convey meaning.  Luminous at Darling Quarter creates moods and offers people an authentic space to feel joy, curiosity, wonder, delight, stillness, rather than any particular message.  It is meant as an offering to the community, not an imposition,” says Ramus.


As the years go by Luminous at Darling Quarter will increasingly feature content created by community groups, local and international artists commissioned by the three stakeholders, public interaction and games, as well as some special event programming for the community.


Two touchscreen consoles have been fitted for visitors to play alone or with each other across the two buildings.  Popular games have already been programmed such as Big Snake, Pong, Finger Paint, Kangaroo Crossing, Gyro Dance and Plasma.   Smartphones are also an easy way for the public to interact with the facade.


Remote visitors to can view a real-time display of the facade, as well as design their own show to be played on the façade.


Darling Quarter’s Abigail Campion says she is really excited about the many opportunities Luminous at Darling Quarter will offer Sydneysiders.


“Since opening in September 2011 people have been gathering and lounging on The Greens at Darling Quarter seven days a week to enjoy the sun.  Now Sydneysiders can kick back and enjoy Luminous at night,” she says.


“Instead of discouraging ‘screen-time’, parents will want to encourage kids to explore and create a digital art master piece that may be selected to be displayed on one of the most spectacular canvases in the world.”


“We’ll also be exploring partnerships with existing events and festivals such as Vivid Sydney, Art Month, Art & About and the Biennale of Sydney, and those yet to be dreamed up,” she says.


Managing Director of Lend Lease’s Development business in Australia David Rolls, explained that Lend Lease was not only committed to creating iconic new spaces for future generations, the business was also keen to give visitors the opportunity to create their own experiences.

“The interactive component of Darling Quarter is like no other in the world. The digital facade allows guests to engage with the precinct. This type of social interaction gives Darling Quarter a new dimension of engagement.”

“Regardless of whether you are enjoying dining at one of the many restaurants at Darling Quarter, relaxing on the Village Green, working at Commonwealth Bank Place, or accessing the façade’s interactive station online, visitors can be part of the digital façade lighting experience for free,” he said.

Luminous at Darling Quarter is powered by 100 percent renewable energy created from solar panels fitted to the roof. This is consistent with Darling Quarter’s Six Star Green Star (V3) As Built Rating – the first building in Australia to achieve this status.


The Canvas is created from 557 LED lights that incredibly use the same energy – 10.2kW, as five household vacuum cleaners. New algorithms had to be written to adapt a brighter and less power hungry LED light to video streaming – the first time this has ever been done.


Remarkably, workers inside the building won’t even know when the lights are switched on.

A world first, Luminous at Darling Quarter harnesses state of the art technology to give Sydney’s digital arts scene a brand new canvas. Get set to be part of a unique sensory experience at Darling Quarter, bringing together international, local, emerging and aspiring artists, the community as well as families and kids.


To stay in touch with Luminous at Darling Quarter events and happenings please visit

About sydneysocial

One twenty-something year old girl who has been living in Australia since Jan 2009.


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