New images of £6.5million plans to shine the spotlight on the Granite City have been unveiled.
Steensen Varming, the firm behind the lighting of Sydney Opera House, has been tasked with developing colourful illuminations for some of Aberdeen’s most famous streets, civic spaces and landmarks.
The scheme, part of the council’s City Centre Masterplan, includes proposals to highlight the unique architecture of the likes of Union Street, St Nicholas Kirk, Belmont Street and the Castlegate.
And in addition to improving the atmosphere of more popular areas, the “game changer” project will also shine an energy-efficient light on less-travelled, dingier streets of Aberdeen such as Correction Wynd, Adelphi Lane and Donald’s Lane behind His Majesty’s Theatre. One of the most eye-catching designs to be put forward is a proposal to transform Langstane Place into a “landmark” by hanging spherical, colourful lights high above the street, which has been earmarked for pedestrianisation as part of the masterplan.
And local artists and groups would be invited to help create the display, with the intention of creating a “focal point overhead that is reflective of local culture”.
But the proposals are not restricted to the city centre.
Designs have also been put forward to illuminate the Victoria and Wellington bridges over the River Dee, as well as the banks of the famous waterway.
The firm hopes that by installing colourful lights, the area could be turned into a “new riverside district”.
If they get council backing, Steensen Varming hope the entire project could be completed over a five-year period.
The City Centre masterplan, which was unanimously adopted by the city council in 2015, said Aberdeen in Colour could help to improve the night-time economy and “raise the profile of Aberdeen at home and further afield”.
The plans will go before the council’s finance committee next week, where members will be recommended to approve of the project strategy and start developing a business case.
Each individual design in the Aberdeen in Colour project will be required to go through the usual planning process.
Councillor Marie Boulton, the council’s lead on the city centre, said: “The proposals require further work and what we do know is that there is an appetite amongst the public and the business community to create interesting lighting attractions that can be adapted for different times and events, but also can have a practical element such as lighting safe routes and acting as wayfinding.
“£6.5million is a lot of money, and we must ensure we target the schemes which will have the biggest impact and complement other projects where cross-funding can be attracted.”
The city council, which is currently seeking to save £125million, will set its budget for the next financial year in March.
Douglas Lumsden, the Conservative co-leader of the local authority, said: “The strategy will help not only with safety, but also with vibrancy and atmosphere.
“Projects like this are only possible with the valuable input and cooperation from partners including the Scottish Government and local businesses, and the local authority itself.
“This has potential to be a real game changer for Aberdeen’s nightlife economy.”
SNP councillor Alex Nicoll said: “Everyone wants to see the city centre improved, and lighting can play a role in that process, but we have to be conscious of costs and the administration need to be clear about how exactly they are going to fund this.”