Australian company lights up Chennai’s Napier Bridge


Sydney : The historic Napier Bridge in Chennai will soon be bathed in ethereal light to accentuate its iconic concrete arches and create the illusion of a floating edifice, thanks to an Australian company.

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The Corporation of Chennai is upgrading the nightscape of the south Indian metropolis, including the Promenade and the City Centre. It has engaged the Sydney-based Lighting Design Partnership (LDP) with its local collaborators, GA Architects, to light up Napier Bridge.

The bridge at the mouth of the Coovum river estuary – also known as the Iron Bridge – forms a natural gateway to the famous Marina Beach, which has now been given a facelift.

“The key features of our design include lighting under the bridge that creates a floating ink blue illusion, and usage of low power fixtures to minimise glare,” says Dhruvajyoti Ghose, managing director of LDP.

Built in 1869 across the Coovum river and named after the then British governor of Fort St George (Madras Presidency), Francis Napier, the narrow bridge was broadened and converted into a concrete structure and thrown open for general traffic in July 1943 by Arthur Hope, who took over as Governor in 1940.

“There is also a provision of dedicated lighting for pedestrians along the cycleways on either side of the bridge,” says Ghose.

Energy efficiency has been at the core of his design.

“The lighting scheme utilises less energy than the current road lighting of the bridge. This is achieved by using high- efficiency luminaires and close control of the light beams. Light pollution is reduced by minimising spill light,” Ghose told IANS.

To complement the low arches, the conventional street lighting over the bridge will be replaced with a unique solution of low-height street lighting being used for the first time in India.

“The design uses a mixture of LED (light-emitting diode) and metal halide discharge sources, which offer a longer life span and require less maintenance. All fixtures are made of high grade aluminium castings which can withstand the humidity and salinity of the marine environment,” says Ghose, who has earlier designed the lighting display for the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

One of AustralAsia’s leading independent lighting design consultancy with 30 live projects across India, LDP was commissioned to design the lighting of the bridge through an international tender process by the Corporation of Chennai.

Earlier, LDP also designed the lighting of the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and the new Incheon Bridge in Seoul (South Korea).