On 16th and 17th October 2015, the historic town of Lewes in East Sussex was spectacularly transformed with light, as it celebrated its first Festival of Light.

Graham Festenstein the Lewes based lighting designer and Festival Director comments “

Lewes is a small town with beautiful buildings and spaces, and a big history. Walking through Lewes everyday I kept on thinking how good it would be to light this building here or that tree there or how wonderful it would be if this this space was to be lit at night, until one day a friend suggested why don’t you do it?

At this point the Lewes Light festival was born. Having worked on similar events in the past and on the preparation of lighting strategies I am well aware of the benefits this type of festival can bring to a town, not only does it look good for visitors and residents to enjoy but festivals are good for marketing and good for the local economy. They are also a great way of encouraging community engagement with Art, Design, Technology and the Environment.

Lewes’s location in the South Downs National Park, its strong creative community and the International Year of Light 2015 were also factors. We wanted to deliver a festival that created beautiful scenes and spaces but also one with community engagement and an educational component. With this in mind we collaborated with the local Sussex Downs College who provided invaluable resource and expertise along with a team of enthusiastic students who worked hard with the professional team to deliver the successful event we achieved. “

Lighting designers Karen van Creveld and Nulty + collaborated on delivering the schemes, and partnered with Architainment for the supply and commissioning of the lighting solutions for Lewes Castle and Pells Pool.

resized-JM2_8587Architainment’s Paul Vallis comments “ Two Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlasts with linear spread lenses were carefully positioned in front of the castle Barbican entrance. This allowed the front arch to be illuminated whilst simultaneously grazing the flint façade and rampart section from just two fixtures. To graze the inner walls, a total of four Philips Color Kinetics ColorGraze MX4 RGBA fittings were used to create the golden colour, and a further two ColorBlast Compacts were used to illuminate the secondary arch. It was great to have support from the local students who learnt how to set up the fixtures and control the lighting shows using the iPlayer 3“.

Working with Nulty+, Architainment’s Hector Machado lit up the artistically themed Pells Pool, where ColorBlasts and iColorAccents controlled by an iplayer3 enthralled the crowds with a variety of light shows.


Ellie Coombs – Director of Nulty+ comments “ Pells Pools is the oldest documented freshwater public swimming pool and was the real swan song of the event. The lighting effects on the pool and the illuminated tissue swans created the perfect place to sit relax and enjoy the ambience of this fantastic festival. We were thrilled with the outcome”.

“ We’re delighted with the results and success of the festival. Residents and visitors alike commented how fantastic it was to see the various landmarks around Lewes lit up in such a creative way. Our lighting partners and support teams rose to the challenge, and demonstrated how light can transform both spaces and structures” comments Karen van Creveld.

Graham Festenstein comments “ I was very happy with the results we were able to deliver and based on the fantastic positive feedback we have received from all who came, local business and local politicians, I believe the festival potentially has a long future ahead. We will definitely do this again and in fact preparations have already begun for next year.”

Image credits:
James McCauley – Lewes Castle Barbican
Nulty+ – Pells Pool