Cosmic Architecture – Durham Lumiere

Nina was commissioned by the Artichoke Trust to work with Sound Designer, John Del’Nero, to create a piece for the 2017 Durham Lumiere festival that celebrates the work of the Cosmic Physicists at the University’s Ogden Centre for Fundamental Phyiscs as well as the stunning building itself, designed by Daniel Liebeskind.

She brought on board Olly Venning as Art Director and 3D Animator to collaborate on the realisation of the work and together they visited the team including Carlos Frenk, Director of Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC), to get some background to their work.

This enthralling session inspired the final piece in every way, which incorporated renders generated by their supercomputer that demonstrate how galaxies are born. The team responded with bespoke particle work that integrated with the structure by use of virtual physics within the animation software and visual illusions that rippled and peeled back the surface of the Ogden centre, using animation that was inspired by the very fabric of the building to provide a container for the centre’s particle work.

Thank you all for your wonderful work creating Cosmic Architecture.  We were really delighted with your response to the brief and it was great to see the building and the work of the physicists come alive in such a dramatic form.

Kate Harvey, producer – Artichoke Trust

Nearly a quarter of a million people attended the festival that celebrates light art in all forms this year with 29 installations that extend throughout the town.

The rig consisted of 3 PT-RZ31K 30K Panasonic projectors run by a disguise (d3) media server. The equipment was provided by QED and Sebastian Frost was the sound associate with original composition provided by Isobel Waller Bridge.



Here is some of the wonderful feedback from audience members who came to see Cosmic Architecture:

@LightningFoxHD – Cosmic Architecture was the highlight of @lumieredurham for me. Absolutely incredible
@SteveHowell63 – Top three this year for me – For the birds, cosmic architecture and common good!
@_tumblebee – Loved Cosmic Architecture on #durhamuniversity Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics – great show! (Better than the Cathedral this year!) #durhamlumiere
@jeannette_ng – COSMIC ARCHITECTURE, by Nina Dunn & John Del’Nero
The Centre for Fundamental Physics is long known as a building that breaks your expectations of geometry and physics. So seeing it’s angled wood facade peel away to reveal the cosmos is… almost expected.


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