Located just 56km (35 miles) north-west of central London, Luton Airport is one of the UK's largest airports and a major base for constantly increasing low-cost air travel. Part of the airport’s impending rapid transit system, the newly built DART Bridge is the direct air rail transit link between Luton Airport Parkway train station and Luton Airport. The passengers transfer from the Parkway Station directly to the terminal will now last only 4 minutes.

Split between coming and going, arrival and departure, rising and landing, the airport was sensed as a symbol of dualism by Knight Architects. As such, an asymmetric geometry was considered the emblematic translation of this dichotomy into an architectural structure. In their vision, the bridge should have been able to draw the attention of the passengers to the sky above while stretching out to the stars.

Spanning 72m across the congested Airport Way, the top chord of the bridge shapes a parabola, which, rising tangentially from the deck, dwindles into a slender profile fading in the distance. Mainly viewed from below, the truss designs an attractive arc, which perfectly embodies the virtual link between earth and sky.
Product specification and installation
NG Bailey
Project manager
NG Bailey, Max Knight Senior project Engineer
WILA Lighting UK
Pictures and video footage: David Stewart
Lighting scheme
As night falls, the top-chord of Dart bridge is beautifully enhanced by a dynamic color changing LED lighting system installed directly onto the bridge structure pointing downwards to allow a safe functioning in the severely regulated airport environment.

In order to achieve a luminous wash of light on the inclined surfaces of the bridge’s top chord, unobtrusive luminaires had to direct light downwards minimizing skyward lighting and dangerous glaring to vehicle drivers. Featuring a minimal body and adjustable fixing brackets with no visual impact, the selected luminaires of the nanoPARADE series have been installed end-to-end following the curving silhouette of the pioneering architecture within a concealed overhang located on the top chord of the bridge.

Now available in an optimized version, nanoPARADE RGB is an ultra compact aluminum linear profile featuring on-board electronics, extreme thinness, and lightweight manageability. Fitted with a separate power supply unit, it is the ideal solution for easy outdoor installation on balconies, windows or façades where a reduced mounting space drastically limits the range of suitable products. With an optimal light output efficacy, more units can comfortably be set-up in continuous end-to-end installation for creative wall grazing or linear lighting effects with a uniform visual layout.
Complying with the severe project specifications, the new illumination perfectly highlights the architectural layout of the bridge enhancing its inclination, its well-defined yet slim contours, and its futuristic elegance with a seamless, continuous line of colored light. Controlled via DMX protocol, the lighting is linked to a centralized control system connected to daylight sensors for public areas. The control system is regulated by a timer in order to switch or dim the light in the various areas based on a daily schedule. The independently addressed luminaires are hardwired so as one circuit failure shall only result in a loss of 50% of the luminous efficacy. .

Delivering a pleasant color-changing atmosphere, the lighting installation at DART bridge, with its impressive visual impact, is a very significant milestone for the town of Luton as a whole.

Products installed:
34x AL4484 12 RGAAF nanoPARADE RGB 1200mm ACTIVE
98x AL4484 12 RGPAF nanoPARADE RGB 1200mm PASSIVE
34x AL4484/A977 Start line
34x AL4487/2 IP67 Electronic driver
34x AL4487/3 Line end cap
40mx AL0512 Professional quality DMX cable

Lighting design: Griven
Installation: NG Bailey
Project management: NG Bailey, Max Knight Senior project Engineer
Programming and testing: Cosmic
Pictures and video footage: David Stewart
427 Hyatt Street
Gaffney, SC 29341
Phone: (864) 487-3535
Email info@griven-usa.com