To get Kiwis excited about the New Zealand Festival season of Power Plant, Contact Energy, one of the annual event’s sponsors, has added thousands of lights to the Wellington cable car tunnel.
This means that from now until the final day of the event on 16 March, those who take a train ride through the tunnel will be surrounded by a chromatic burst of colours as the lights flash on and off.
“I was trying to create something that’s a fun experience and shows that we’re having fun with energy,” said Angus Muir, the artist that was commissioned by Contact to design the project.
“There are around 15,000 individual lights which play all the way down the 100m tunnel. The cable car triggers the experience. It’s kind of like being in a warp tunnel with optical illusions and various effects running through it,” adds Muir.
The display is powered by 45 lighting strips running up and around the perimeter of the inside of the tunnel. As the carriage moves through the tunnel, the lights pulse, change colour and create a dazzling effect that serves as a precursor to the experience that awaits at the Botanical Gardens.
And to give visitors added incentive to take a trip through the tunnel, Contact Energy is also offering complimentary return tickets to Contact account holders that present their bills at the ticketing office.
The energy company's manager of corporate comms Shaun Jones says that passengers have thus far enjoyed the kaleidoscopic addition to the tunnel.
"The response has been amazing. People are absolutely loving it. One member of the public who had just travelled on it said they would buy another cable car ticket immediately, just to see the lights again. There’s plenty of talk around town about it," he says.
But as with most instances that involve flashing lights, there was a risk that a trip through the tunnel could affect some passengers who suffer from epilepsy. So, in an effort to ensure that lights were safe, Jones says that contact energy took precautionary steps.
"As part of the production process we checked in with Epilepsy NZ, and although only very small number of people who suffer from epilepsy are sensitive to flashing lights (less than three percent of those with epilepsy), we decided to add some clear epilepsy warnings to our promotional material on the cable car."
Given that this event has been so well received, Jones has also suggested that Contact could possibly get involved with other projects as the year progresses.
"We’re always looking for opportunities to engage with our customers and the communities in which we work and live in exciting, new ways."