Public Art / Drift

Programmed LED lights embedded in wooden benches. An integral part of the New Road redevelopment scheme, Brighton, it gained a Civic Trust Award in 2009.

Title: Drift
Date: 2006
Dimensions: 20m x 2m
Material: LEDs embedded in wood

'Drift' is a site-specific public art intervention that softly changed the urban landscape of Brighton. For this light artwork, Esther Rolinson used programmed LED lights embedded in wooden benches.

Illuminating the seating in subtle moving light, 'Drift' appeared to reflect the swaying motion of the trees above it. It was an integral part of the New Road redevelopment scheme, creating an outdoor foyer space to the Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton.

Esther Rolinson's artwork was part of one of the first shared space schemes introduced in the UK. It has also won some significant awards since its construction: 

• Winner Civic Trust Award 2009
• Winner CABE Best Street Award 2009
• Winner in the Urban Design category, Institute for Highways and Transportation
• National Transport Awards: Winner of the Walking & Public Realm Award

An installation derived from a mixed-media sculpture

An installation of over 200 LEDs shows how one artwork can change our perception of the environment. Made up of over 200 LEDs, this public art commission was built into the long wooden bench near the Pavilion Gardens, opposite the Theatre Royal, in Brighton.

A core element of Esther Rolinson's art practice is controlling the light to make them an art expression. In Drift, she designed the lighting so that the LEDs are individually set in motion and form a three-dimensional screen programmed to play straightforward sequences. The movement of the light gives the effect of shadows blowing over the surface of the benches. 'Drift' has completely altered how the space is used and has become a very popular meeting place in the city. It is a light artwork focused on environments.

The bench comes to life at night with the rest of New Road. It makes a significant contribution to the theatrical society providing an atmosphere for encounters in the refurbished area in the centre of Brighton.