Star Wars Comes to Manchester

Forget the Dark Side! Exclusive Illuminated Star Wars Installation Lands in Manchester

A unique illuminated sculpture which features two up-cycled Star Wars crafts is now on display in an exclusive public exhibition in Manchester’s Spinningfields district


Designed as a collaboration between lighting specialist, Andrew Gibson of Tyson Lighting and Vinny Smith of Northern Backdrop Interior Design, ‘Heavy Petal’ has been fashioned from retro Raleigh bicycles which have been cleverly used to create the famous X Wing Fighter and TIE Interceptor from the iconic movies.


This innovative design installation, recently showcased in science, culture and technology magazine, WIRED, has been moved from an exhibition at Tobacco Dock in London where it attracted high profile attention from the media and even a purchase offer from American songwriter and entrepreneur


Andrew commented: “I decided to use neon-effect Encapsulite fluorescent tubes to bring the ships to life. The ice blue gun tube offers reflections off the ships’ chromed body, giving them an ‘in flight’ appearance, whilst the warm red engine section switches the installation on.”


He added: “Vinny was adamant about the positioning of the green Encapsulite tubes on the TIE Interceptor and, I must say, he got it bang on. The finishing touches are clever whilst subtle, replacing original Raleigh badges on the frames as a mark of respect to the components’ previous form.”


According to Vinny, the X-wing Fighter was made by fabricating together the frames of four Raleigh Grifters . “The Raleigh Grifter bike was pre-cursor to the BMX and actually released around the same time as the first Star Wars film, Episode IV A New Hope,” he explains. “So it re-kindled childhood memories of mine that formed the basis of this installation.”
“Since Heavy Petal’s appearance in WIRED magazine, we’ve had a lot of incredible feedback online from Star Wars and Comicon enthusiasts and we’re hoping that this Spinningfields exhibition will be the first of many outside London. We’re also hoping to complete the Star Wars Bike Trilogy to coincide with the 7th Star Wars film coming out later this year.” he added.
“The success of the installations has come from Vinny and I allowing each other to take control in our specialised area. And, if we did have any disputes, we simply settled them with a light sabre duel!” said Andrew. With over 50 years’ experience in the lighting industry, Tyson Lighting specialises in the design, manufacture, supply and project management of traditional, bespoke and contemporary lighting. Last year alone, it supplied 1,200 lighting projects to customers in the retail, hotel and leisure sectors both in the UK and internationally.


They have recently up-scaled their custom-made, bespoke manufacturing design division at their headquarters in Blackburn, Lancashire and are currently working on further, high profile bespoke lighting collaborations – due to be announced later this year.


Heavy Petal will be suspended in the West Reception of 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields and on exclusive public display until September. Entry to the exhibition is free.

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