“Climbit is a unique, visually elegant, three dimensional sculpture specially designed for climbing.”

W5 is a science and discovery centre by the river Lagan in the Odyssey, Belfast.

Sutton Vane Associates was commissioned to bring Climbit to life with light. They decided to make it a piece of interactive art, designing the light so children could make shadows. The shadows of the children climbing bring the whole space to life, they love making their shadows.

To link with the river outside and continue the nautical theme of Belfast, the lighting also creates ripples of water across the space. The shadows from the climbing children and the ripples create unique ever-changing shapes in an underwater lightscape.

White and purple light shines up from the ground, showing the undersides of the climbing pads and the structure, creating a surreal atmosphere. Having all the functional lighting shining upwards is dramatic. The lighting makes the safety nets look like fishing nets. The upward lights are deliberately visible in large transparent bubbles. So children can see the lights and what they do.

The lighting can change the mood of the space by using different colours, dimming, or changing the projections, sometimes there is no rippling.  The projections give themes, for example snowflakes at Christmas or sharks at other times, allowing Climbit to be a fresh destination for key dates and events.

SVA Climbit at W5 3.jpg

"When we carry out evaluations, a lot of families say that it’s their favourite exhibit in W5.” Ann Graham, W5, Belfast.


Architect: Joan McCoy, White Ink.