Luxcity 2012: a hopeful, makeshift, magical glow

by Toby Manhire / 22 October, 2012
Christchurch city radiated with a wonderful light on Saturday night.


Nothing prepares you for your first walk down Gloucester Street these days, past haunted, fenced-off streets, the spectral remains of the demolition-ravaged Farmers building, the gaps, the Red Zone dust on your shoes and the loss.

But by the time we arrived on a Saturday afternoon the street was alive again with an army of ferociously-focussed architecture and design students in multicoloured hard hats. They were fighting a cheerful and seemingly impossible battle against time and wind to reinvent the centre of the destroyed CBD as “city of light for one night”.

Luxcity was the ambitious star of the Festival of Transitional Architecture (Festa). Vast structures seemingly made out of snowflakes, cobwebs and plastic cups, held up by cranes and demolition machinery, waited for dark to come and the lights to be switched on.

Some of the installations didn’t work as expected. One or two didn’t work at all. We watched as gusts of wind threatened to rip apart an undulating canopy called Murmur. It lived somehow to flutter valiantly, gorgeously lit, behind chef Richard Till’s Filthy Burrito stand.

There were towers of light, the Kloud dance party, fashion models in plastic globes … Personal favourite: In Your Face, a huge balloon floating about the crowd onto which faces of passing punters were projected.

There was a sense of party, potential and solidarity. “Thanks for coming and making a difference,” said a punter to the Auckland students still toiling away on the spectacular light grid, Etch-a-Sketch.

There was even some drama as the expected 2000 visitors turned into a briefly immobile mass of somewhere around 12,000. Good humour was maintained, fences were moved, traffic flowed and we headed off for possibly the world’s best gin and tonic.

The tubes above the ad hoc bar were full of tonic that was meant to glow in black light. They didn’t but no one cared. The night radiated enough of a hopeful, makeshift, magical glow to be seen from space.

Rebecca Macfie's Luxcity preview is here.

The Festa photostream can be viewed here.

Latest

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne Carter's rise to the top
107207 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Music

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne…

by Mike White

Shayne Carter’s career has been wild and acclaimed. But his just-released memoir reveals the drama and trauma going on behind the scenes.

Read more
Rare photos of the Straitjacket Fits by Brian Murphy
The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypothermia
107150 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Television

The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypot…

by Diana Wichtel

Season three of The Handmaid’s Tale packs a punch, despite some implausible scenes, writes Diana Wichtel.

Read more
Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not guilty to all charges
107204 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Crime

Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not gu…

by Anneke Smith

The man accused of the Christchurch terror attacks has pleaded not guilty to all the charges laid against him.

Read more
One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidable in NZ Parliament
107183 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Politics

One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidab…

by Bevan Rapson

Despite overdue efforts to improve Parliament's culture, political biffo will always be with us.

Read more
The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on the skids – it's a good thing
107144 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on…

by The Listener

Transport officials’ enthusiasm for a sweeping lowering of speed limits looks set to go the way of the once-proposed ban on cats in dairies.

Read more
Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching the right people?
107185 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching t…

by Phil Pennington

New Zealanders who feel they've done nothing wrong have found themselves under surveillance by the state and say they've been left nervous.

Read more
Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life in WWII-era Germany
107122 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Movies

Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life i…

by James Robins

Epic drama captures an artist navigating the upheavals of Nazi and post-war Germany.

Read more