Redwoods Treewalk Nightlights

An iconic nocturnal tourism experience in Rotorua, New Zealand. A forest of giant lights can be viewed high up on a suspension bridge.

We partnered with the Redwoods Treewalk to create an iconic nocturnal tourism experience: Nightlights. It is New Zealand’s first design-led tourism experience. The new night-time experience will offer visitors and locals the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by our lights.

Located within Rotorua’s Redwood Forest which attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually. At the time of completion in 2016, it was the world’s longest suspended walkway. The walk, consisting of 23 elevated swing-bridges and living platforms, showcases one of Rotorua’s most visited natural attractions.

We partnered with the Redwoods Treewalk to create an iconic nocturnal tourism experience: Nightlights. It is New Zealand’s first design-led tourism experience.The new night-time experience will offer visitors and locals the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by our lights.

Nightlights Experience The idea to marry design and tourist-attraction remains relatively unexplored in New Zealand and enhancing an already magnificent environment like the Redwoods was no easy task. We worked hard with arborists at the Treewalk to place the thirty (some 2.5m tall) lantern-like lights amongst the 115-year-old redwood trees.

In addition to this lighting, over forty infinite colour spots and feature lights will illuminate the redwoods, native ground cover and tree ferns/punga(Maori language).

We were excited to take on the Nightlights challenge, initially finding inspiration in New Zealand native birds; the Ruru (NZ Owl), Karearea (NZ Falcon) and the Miromiro (Tomtit). Creating outdoor lighting was challenging especially for the forest environment.

The lights needed to feel weightless, yet be able to survive the conditions. Some are suspended over 25 metres above the ground, with others installed to circle the trees. In the giant scale of the redwood grove, they had to be much larger than most lights we make.

Project Specs:

Quantity of lights: 30

Names: Ruru (NZ owl), Karearea (NZ Falcon) and the Miromiro (Tomtit).

Installation Duration: Over twenty years

Location: Rotorua, New Zealand (Treewalk).

Website: www.treewalk.co.nz

Treewalk LAND Rotorua Redwoods Suspension Bridge Trubridge 0004 IMG 6817

TEXT FROM BEST

Redwoods Treewalk approached us to design and create a night-time tourism experience to build upon their already popular day-time treewalk. Located within Rotorua’s Redwood Forest, which attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually, the Redwood Treewalk is the world’s longest suspended walkway. Redwoods Treewalk is Rotorua’s newest eco-tourism attraction. The walk, consisting of 23 elevated swing-bridges and living platforms, showcases one of Rotorua’s most visited natural attractions.

The new night-time experience offers visitors and locals the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by our bespoke creations to create an immersive and captivating environment.

The idea to marry design and tourism remains relatively unexplored in New Zealand and enhancing an already magnificent environment like the Redwoods was no easy task. We initially found inspiration in New Zealand native birds; the Ruru (NZ Owl), Karearea (NZ Falcon) and the Miromiro (Tomtit) and felt if we were to do the project, we would have source highly sustainable materials. Upon receiving the contract we began our search and happened upon a new non-toxic composite sheet material suitable for outdoors called Tricoya, which is made from the by-product of another sustainable outdoor timber ‘Acoya’.

The vast scale of the project, being a forest environment was met with obvious challenges: the lights needed to survive the demanding conditions (for up to 20 years) yet needed to appear weightless. Getting the lights into the forest, then hung was also a small feat. All suspensions were attached to the tree trunks with fabric straps, avoiding any piercing or damage to the tree. The lights were transported to site as flat pack and then assembled in the forest exactly where they hang. Some are suspended over 25 metres above the ground, while others are installed to circle the trunks of the trees. The luminaires are Hunza, NZ made LEDs.

We were very happy with the result: the forms have the whimsical feel of lanterns lighting a path, floating away into the distance within the perspective of the forest. The patterns created between the radiating panels suggest the mottling on a bird's wing. The carefully placed groups of lights create a gentle glow of light as the viewers thread their way through the tree trunks.

“With thirty custom-made creations the night-time forest has come to life in a magical and surreal experience, our visitors are enthralled by it and the story behind the works” says Rotorua local and Treewalk director Kellie Thomasen.

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