Esbjerg Port & City

In 2018, the port and city of Esbjerg celebrate it’s 150 years birthday. For this occasion, the port authorities asked Innopixel to develop a concept for light projections on the facade of their headquarter building.

The Challenge

Creating an outdoor light show might sound easy, but the project had several challenges. Located close to the sea all lamps would be exposed to wet, humid and salty conditions. All graphics and animations projected on the building should suit the old classic building and be inspired by the official logo made for the occasion.

We looked into several solutions. Lasers could not be used since we were projecting on windows in an office building and people could look into the high-powered laser beam by accident. Video projectors was an obvious choice since they gave a lot of flexibility, but where too big to be mounted on masts and too expencive. We ended up using moving spotlights interchangeable symbols.

Innopixel 3D model

Transforming a classic looking building into a modern lighthouse using computer controlled spot-lights.

Our Approach

As this was the first time that Esbjerg port was experimenting with light setups and did not know what they wanted, it was important to match the expectations and set budget goals relative to the possible solution.

Our idea catalog was talked through and several elements became more consistent with the customer's need. Our ideas were to try out new technologies while ensuring a scaling and themed customization. An exciting project with an empty canvas that was realized on time through good dialogue.

Our technical approach was to use LED and moving heads. Using LED lights had the advantage that the color of the light is defined in the computer and are easily adjusted and animated. To find the right mood of experience, we did some mood tests on coloring the trees and bushes on the banks below the building.

Innopixel 3D model
Innopixel 3D model
Innopixel 3D model

The Solution

The west coast of Denmark has always been notorious dangerous due to the harsh weather and water conditions. Lighthouses were built along the coast to guide the ships on their way to safe ports. This story formed the base of the concept - we developed 'Esbjerg's modern lighthouse' made the building a colorful beacon in the celebration year.

We reached out to Innopixel's partner DVC (Danish Video Center), they had previous experience of delivering hardware to installations similar to ours. Nine LED panals were mounted on the roof eaves, which allows colorful columns of light between the windows. On each of the two rigs, two LED facade spots where mounted to immerse the entire building in a basic color. On top of this basic color, animated text and symbols were projected from computer-controlled SGM LED moving heads.

Innopixel 3D model


The official logo elements where animated by Vizfx in Adobe AfterEffects, creating a movie showing the entire light show. This movie was used as reference for hardware supplier DVC to transfer the visuals into code all the lamps could understand. The final system had to be super stable running day in and day out with no maintenance but yet flexible.

It was great to see that the set-up was flexible enough to handle changes given at a late stage by the client. During the development process, the client and hardware supplier DVC gave useful feedback and inputs. Great teamwork.

Project Partners

Companies involved

Services used

  • Design Strategy
  • 2D Animation