The O2 is one of the UK’s most recognisable landmarks, and Up at The O2 is one of London’s most popular, award-winning tourist attractions, offering climbs all the way over the roof of the O2. 2022 saw Up at The O2 celebrate both its 10th birthday and 1,000,000th climber. To mark the milestone, a new lighting installation was commissioned to illuminate the walkway and improve the twilight 'after dark' climbs for guests. NoiseBoys were delighted to be selected to enhance the world-famous structure with bespoke LED lighting.
Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the Up At The O2 walkway consists entirely of tensioned fabric and steel wires, suspended above the tent structure from The O2's distinctive yellow masts. Spanning the tent's 365 metres width, with an incline of 30 degrees at its steepest, and reaching 52 metres above the ground at the observation platform at the summit, the climb provides 360º views over London throughout the day and into the night. Illuminating such a unique and bespoke structure demanded an equally unique solution.
NoiseBoys quickly realised the importance of both the ‘near view’ and ‘far view’ of the installation. Taking into account the surrounding areas - including the iconic Canary Wharf with its lit up skyscrapers - the 'far view' of the lighting had to be as effective as the ‘near view’ for people on the walkway.
For folk on the walkway, the experience is one of lighting playing around them; colours and light moving with them and past them as they climb. For those further away, the lighting becomes less pixelated and more a continuous line of flowing light; one that holds its own even under the bright lights of the city surrounding it. The lighting would create an enhanced, interactive experience for climbers while supplementing the skyline from afar, and wouldn’t detract from the London views that visitors experience at the summit.
This project called for rigorous, detailed planning. Every centimetre of the walkway was measured by hand to ensure the 1074 frosted lights landed precisely where they needed to, mounted on three different types of custom-designed and made brackets, each fitting a particular part of the non-uniform structure.
At the start of the climb is a suspended platform; the brief called for this, and the glass access tower at either side of it, to be illuminated as well.
NoiseBoys opted for the Archishape 2.0 Dot by Traxon Technologies for the walkway and summit platform, with Chauvet Ilumiline and Ilumipod fixtures for the two glass towers and start platform. The entire system is controlled by a Traxon e:Cue system with custom user interface, designed and programmed entirely in-house by NoiseBoys. Staff can easily choose what colour scheme or lighting effect is used every day, with everything timed to come alive at sunset.
Each Dot is individually addressed and controllable, allowing solid colours, flowing gradients of light and dynamic effects to be played over the entire diameter of the tent.
Using colour mixing lighting allows creative theming; O2 brand colours feature heavily of course, but the lighting can also reflect key colours for charity and awareness days, seasonal events, and also programmed to complement events at The O2, such as for Blackpink’s London performances in December 2022.
Our install team worked either side of the attraction’s opening times, to avoid disrupting the thousands of people who visit each week.
Despite being an entirely bespoke solution on an entirely unique structure, the installation went very smoothly to time and to budget, the main elements being completed in only 10 morning shifts. It is fantastic to be involved with an installation that is visible for miles around, and will be for years to come.