‘Colour and Light’ at York Minster

Using a variety of animation techniques and styles, our after-dark projection show illuminated York Minster’s South Transcept.
We showcased the wealth of historical archives in a new and engaging way while emphasising the grandeur and ornate detail of York Minster’s architecture.


York Minster was a glowing delight of
multi-coloured glory

Double Take Projections was delighted to be approached by York BID to create ‘Colour and Light’.  We had wanted to do a lighting show at York Minster for some years, following our successful lighting shows at St Pauls and Coventry cathedrals.  This project was more about projecting elements of the building and showcasing detail above eye level which is often missed and highlighting the excellent craftsmanship over the centuries. One scene also pays homage to those that constructed the cathedral by illuminating the facade with their mason’s marks; the inscriptions that they would carve into the pieces of stone they worked on. Reflecting how the colours emphasise parts of the Minster, our team took things that may be hidden and brought them to the forefront.  We created an immersive experience for the whole family, illuminating the South Transept of York Minster Cathedral into a glowing delight of multi-coloured glory.

Visual scenes were mapped to key
elements of the architecture

Sitting on a site that’s home to 2,000 years of history and human creativity, the design team wanted to bring elements of the Cathedral’s rich heritage into the digital realm.  Each of the scenes had a meaning or purpose and connected in some way or another.  The building was the hero of the show, allowing viewers to marvel in its architectural magnificence. We produced a series of visual scenes that were mapped to key elements of the architecture – particularly seen in the opening line trace section – where key elements like the columns, arches, rose window etc. were outlined, highlighting the ornate detail of the facade.  Our dramatic candle scene references the candlelit vigils which take place in the cathedral.

Shining a new light on the 600-year-old
window illustrations

 As well as paying homage to the construction of the cathedral and incorporating nods to local history, a particular focus was bringing York Minster’s mediaeval stained glass as the UK’s largest expanse of mediaeval stained glass to the spotlight. Collaged compositions of abstract and classical biblical stories were animated by our design team and beamed onto the towering transept walls – shining a new light on the 600-year-old window illustrations.  There’s almost an overwhelming amount of detail in the glass windows, so one of our aims was to bring to the forefront some of the lesser-known pieces – allowing viewers to find something new that they might not have noticed before. Many areas of the stained-glass windows are very abstract too which we wanted to highlight – illuminating the facade with colourful kaleidoscopic scenes, with the elements taken directly from the windows and repositioned to fit the building.  The stained-glass scenes are also paired with choral music that was recorded within York Minster.

Attracting people to the city in the
dark winter months

“In the current economic climate, we have been keen to undertake projects that attract people to the city in the dark winter months; as well as put a smile on people’s faces.  York Minster’s status as one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals is something to be celebrated.  We’re delighted to be working with Double Take Projections on this project and look forward to seeing the Minster’s historic architecture showcased in a whole new way.” Andrew Lowson, Executive Director at the York BID

Following the official switch on, the 8-minute looping show ran between 5pm and 9pm for two weeks from 10th February 2023 during half term.  The event was free and attracted nearly 45,000 people. Many broke into applause at the end of each loop. The event was covered widely in the press and on social media.  The public shared their videos and photographs on social media.


Create spectacular memories