Project Description

Trafalgar Square: London Design Festival 2018

“Notch enabled us to give Londoners the voice of a Lion.”

Taking place between the 18th and 23rd of September 2018, The London Design Festival celebrated its 10th Birthday. During the event, a range of design lead installations took place all across London. Working together with Es Devlin, Google Arts + Culture Lab, Nocte and LUX technical, Luke Halls Studio created an interactive experience using Notch. Londoners were able to view their poetry in real-time across Nelson’s Column in the heart of London’s Trafalgar Square.

Luke Halls studio is a multidisciplinary moving image studio, specialising in video and projection for music, theatre, and the arts. We talk to animator Charli Davis on the project: “We started with a brief from Es Devlin and The London Design Festival to bring the Trafalgar Square Lions to life. We developed on an idea that we had worked on previously with Es and Google Arts + Culture for a user-driven poetry installation”.

Es and Luke Halls Studio visualised the journey of one person’s word turning into a short poem using animation across the Lions and Nelson’s column. They envisioned a silenced lion being able to roar within the animation. Pre-production ran for one month, three days of which were spent on projection tests, working with a small team of five. It was important for the projection design to feel congruous, the Lions and Nelson’s Column had to feel part of the same piece. A major challenge was creating a design that could be mapped onto these unusual organic shapes. Using Notch and disguises gx2 machine, the team were able to seamlessly map their projections using virtual models which translated into accurate real-world projections.

Central to their design idea was ensuring that the poems were being received and projected live onto the statues. It was important for the text to follow the contours of the statues to fuse together the existing and the new. Using Notches real-time text generation the team was able to render out high quality animated text and update it live. Notch’s virtual lighting contoured the lion with life-like shadows which were projected live via the gx2. The design turned out exactly as envisioned and the event was a roaring success.


Client: London Design Festival / Google
Production Company: London Design Festival / Google
Artist:  Es Devlin
Fabrication: Stage One
Creative Direction: Es Devlin
Video Director: Charli Davis, Luke Halls Studio
Video Producers: Luke Halls Studio
Animation: Charli Davis and Elena Kotsi, Luke Halls Studio
3D Modelling and UVing: Jon Botros and Dave Shepherd

Notch Animator: Andrea Cuius, Nocte Studio 
Poetry Generation: Ross Goodwin, Google Arts + Culture Lab
System Integration: LUX Technical
Sound Design: res.lab
Equipment Vendor: Blue-i
Media Server: GX2 disguise

Project Category

Events & Installation