Chromatic Cycle by Umut Yamac and D-P-Q

Chromatic Cycle is a public art commission for the recently completed Battersea Exchange development and represents a new collaboration between Dallas-Pierce-Quintero and lighting designer Umut Yamac.

The project emerges from Dallas-Pierce-Quintero’s Cultural Strategy for the site which proposes embedded public artworks focusing on the theme of connections.  Chromatic Cycle is the sixth and final commission, and is the most high-profile; a striking colour shifting light installation located within a Victorian arch which acts as the main gateway to the development.

“Inspired by the complex geometry of the arch, we broke the proposal down into elemental parts, and played with this idea of creating an optical illusion where from one end of the arch you see perfect circles and parts of circles, whereas from the other end the artwork deconstructs.

Juliet Quintero

The brief called for an intervention to activate this key route into the development – which was until recently a disused railway arch – and enrich the experience of people passing through the site and to the school and workplaces beyond.

The studios developed the concept around two key themes; light and time. The brief expanded from the purely functional to the more personal and reflective; to illuminate the arch and provide a visual pathway through this dark space, while also providing a sense of discovery and a moment of reflection.

“I’ve always been fascinated with how time has been a guiding concept for us in our lives, as we are almost governed by it in some way. This artwork explores how we can show time in a different way, where it’s not dictated by the conventions of seconds and minutes.”

Umut Yamac

The artwork takes the form of an optical illusion, composed of an arrangement of colour changing lines of light, suspended from the surface of the arch. From the entrance on Queenstown Road, these lines come together to form a composition of a deconstructed clock face. From this viewpoint, the lines of light curve to correspond with the 15-minute segments of a clock face – quarter past, half past, quarter to, and on the hour. At their respective times, these curves glow white to indicate the time within the hour

The theme of time is also highlighted with the use of colour, which gradually changes throughout the day to reflect the changing hue of the sky from dawn to dusk. The overall effect is an intuitive version of time which prompts personal connections linking time with people’s daily rhythms.

On entering the arch, the optical illusion begins to distort and the curves reveal their true forms which appear to stretch and change shape as the viewer’s perspective shifts. In this way, the artwork becomes animated by the movement and changing viewpoints of people passing through. This creates a dynamic and different experience from both sides of the arch and one that works in synchrony with both the people and the site.


Battersea, London
Taylor Wimpey Central London
Photography & Film: Dan Fontanelli

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