Photo: Award winners Top from left: Stuart Alexander, Jack Greener Bottom from left: Gregg Dunnett, Lisa Tucker, Michael Grubb

Bournemouth’s Gardens of Light Festival has scooped the Best Exhibition Award at this year’s prestigious Design Week Awards. 

Commissioned by the Bournemouth Town Centre BID and supported by the Bournemouth Coastal BID, Bournemouth Borough Council and the Lower Gardens Trust Board to attract visitors to the town during the winter season, the Gardens of Light Festival was a major winter event introduced to the town in 2013 and has been recognised as ‘iconic’.

Awarded alongside major brands including Apple for its Iphone 5, ITV, Nissan and Barclays, the Gardens of Light Festival transformed the Grade-II listed Bournemouth Lower Gardens into a winter wonderland with interactive lighting experiences.  Created by renowned lighting designer Michael Grubb, who worked on the master plan for the London 2012 Olympic Park, 10 interactive light pods were scattered throughout Bournemouth’s gardens for visitors to enjoy.

Light pod designs included the HipPODdrome, a beach hut covered in chrome cladding and filled with disco balls, strobes and a DJ, Optical World, a three-dimensional curtain of hanging fibres inside a mirrored pod, and Narnia World, which looked like a beach hut until adventurous children opened the cupboard door to discover a secret world.

Design Week Award judges commented that the Gardens of Light Festival was ‘an iconic, simple idea immersed in nature – a gateway into a bigger idea, attracting and appealing to all generations.’

Lisa Tucker, chairman of the Town Centre BID Board, said: “We’re extremely delighted that Bournemouth’s light pods won this national award ahead of many internationally-renowned brands.  Winning the Best Exhibition Award shows just how far and wide the light pods, and Bournemouth, have been noticed and it’s a fantastic boost for the Gardens of Light event and the town as a whole.”

She added: “Bournemouth is an exciting, beautiful, fun and eventful place to visit in the summer and the light pods in the gardens are part of making it an incredible place to visit in the winter as well.  The first-ever Gardens of Light event saw Bournemouth town centre’s footfall increase by almost 20 per cent compared to the previous year.

“To achieve national recognition so early during the first year of the event is a huge boost and shows we’re on the right track.  We’re looking forward to the light pods returning this year with new, exciting interiors.”

The Design Week Award is the second major national award won by the light pods as they also picked up best outdoor event in the 2014 Lighting Design Awards.  The advertising campaign based on the Gardens of Light event also received three international awards, including gold for the television advert.