‘Where Light Falls’. St Paul’s Cathedral

We have a passion for untold stories – for the history that doesn’t get told in museums. It was a dream come true to have the opportunity to project our creative onto Wren’s iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and tell the story of ‘The Watch’ whose bravery ensured the survival of a masterpiece that became a symbol of resilience and hope. Working with Historic England, The City of London and Keith Jarrett through the Poetry Society we created an immersive light and sound projection mapping experience; taking the audience through the blitz with St Paul’s bombed and damaged to a sensational finale with the firebomb turning to fireweed.


St Paul’s Cathedral Projection Mapping Show

Client – Historic England
Location – St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
Date – 24th – 27th October 2019
Project Partners – St. Paul’s Cathedral, City of London, The Poetry Society
Archive Partners – Historic England, Imperial War Museum, London Metropolitan Archive, Getty Images, St. Paul’s Cathedral
Poet – Keith Jarrett
Soundtrack – Barnaby Smith
Projector Spec – 4 x PT-RZ21K 21,000 Lumen Laser Projectors and 4 x PT-RZ970K 10,000 Lumen Laser Projectors

‘Loss and Destruction’

‘Where Light Falls’ was part of Historic England’s ‘Loss and Destruction’ season. Double Take Projections were commissioned, as part of their ‘Where Light Falls’ events, to mark 80 years since the start of World War Two by creating a visual experience to complement the words of ‘From The Log Book’ by Keith Jarrett. Poets are used to working within the constraints of the page – a line of poetry is not usually longer than the width of a book. The ‘Where Light Falls’ poets had a different set of instructions. Their poetry had to allow us to fit the words around the shapes of windows and doors in the cathedral walls.

Double Take Projections specialise in converting architectural details into typographical details. There were moments in this projection when words shattered like broken glass, or collapsed and grew like bombed and rebuilt walls. The programme lasted for 15 minutes and ran on a loop for 3 hours each evening to allow as many members of the public as possible to access it.

St. Paul’s must be saved ‘at all costs’

After hours of research and sourcing archive material from Historic England, St. Paul’s and the Imperial War Museum, we set to work to devise a creative with powerful images and archive photography. We blended them with original designs from our team and the text from Keith Jarrett’s poem and illuminated the facades of the cathedral to pay tribute to ‘The Watch’, who worked bravely to protect St. Paul’s at all costs on Winston Churchill’s instructions and uncover inspirational hidden wartime courage. The projection mapping show was set to an original atmospheric soundtrack by Barnaby Smith and the spoken words of ‘From The Log Book’.

Illuminated Facades

The free event was covered extensively by the national press and BBC London. It was the top London visitor attraction on Trip Advisor that week. Around 8000 people viewed the light show. Many of the older spectators were moved to tears during the four-night performance.  St Paul’s is very quiet at night. The flash of an image at dusk or a glimpse of scrolling text draws people closer, enabling them to appreciate a building and its hidden history in a whole new way.

“Where Light Falls was a glowing success. Double Take brought their unique capacity for illuminating stories from the archive to light up both Coventry and St Paul’s Cathedrals, using these iconic buildings as a canvas for compelling projections that brought history to life in a moving and imaginative way. Double Take employed an impressive array of skills, from hand-drawing to digital animation, to create immersive experiences that visitors loved. Audiences described their experience as ‘breath-taking’, ‘fantastic’ and ‘very moving’, reactions that testify to Double Take’s hard work and innovative approach.”
Ellen Harrison, Head of Public Programming, Historic England


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