Switch Lighting Design Ltd 6 LandLAB 12 Te Mata Topaki

Lighting Design 2021 Credits
  • Creative Director
    Omar Shahab
  • Design Director
    Omar Shahab
  • Contributors
    Henry Crothers, Sam Gould
  • Client

Te Mata Topaki – to hover over the headland – is a strong sculptural lookout jutting 30 metres into the water in the geographical centre of Auckland’s Viaduct precinct. LandLAB and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei artist Graham Tipene collaborated on the design. The lookout connects key destinations, and connects people to the water. It functions as both a vantage point from which to observe the basin, the city centre and the wider landscape, and as a destination to experience in its own right.

The design narrative was drawn from a collaborative process with mana whenua, with the following symbols at its heart: taurapa – a carved waka sternpost; mata – both obsidian, and a tip or headland; and topaki – to hover like a bird.

We were approached by the design team and client Tramco to offer a series of conceptual options on the lighting design of the lookout structure, to fit their brief for energising and activating the space. Our approach was to offer a timeless design that would complement the design of the structure and give life to it after the sun sets, while being careful not to over-light, over-saturated with colour, or generally tip the balance to being
showy. We wanted the visual outcome of the lit design to be humble but visually appealing and attractive – embracing, enriching and enhancing the static-sculptural forms with light.

Key criteria were working to a reasonable budget, a less-is-more approach, with lighting product hidden from direct view. The lighting had to be comforting on the eye yet still impactful. It had to utilise the very best in current lighting technology, and to withstand harsh weathering conditions – a coastal location hovering over sea water.

All product used here is very low energy consumption LED, dimmable, and easily programmable via an app, which allows the clients to create colours, scenes and layering, and the ability to change settings as the day transitions into dusk and then into darkness. It was important that the clients could control this to their preference.

Ultimately, our design creates a subtle wow-factor – tranquility with a touch of reverential theatre. It’s a design that will last, in both aesthetic and physical terms, for many years.