Town lit up by winning designer

Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013
Pallet pavilion
MAGICAL: The lighting of the pallet pavilion had to look a million dollars with the use of $10 fittings.
Kevin Cawley
KEVIN CAWLEY: "Who wouldn't want to give back to the city they love?"

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An award-winning designer is shining a light on his earthquake-damaged home town.

Kevin Cawley, of Christchurch's Lighting Design, has received plaudits for his light display at the Pallet Pavilion, an outdoor performance venue built by Gap Filler on the former Crowne Plaza site.

In October last year he won the award for excellence at the Illumination Engineering Society Awards for the lighting design on the Knox Church ruins on the corner Bealey Ave and Victoria St.

Cawley donated his time to both projects and went "cap in hand" to suppliers to keep costs down.

The pallet pavilion design was a challenge with its limited budget, he said.

"It's a big ask trying to make a pile of pallets magical without any money. I had to come up with a million-dollar effect with $10 fittings," he said. "I've worked with all sorts of budgets over the last 20-odd years, so I know that nothing is impossible."

More than 60 lights are included in the display. The result was "stunning" and he planned to enter the project in this year's society awards.

"I was absolutely blown away. I knew what we were going to do was going to be really special, but I really wasn't ready for the result the actual pallets themselves were going to deliver," he said.

"With the lighting, it's always about getting that emotional connection. The biggest thrill I get is people stopping to take photographs at night."

For Cawley, the pavilion and Knox Church projects were labours of love.

"When your own backyard gets destroyed, it's a great way of being able to fix it. Who wouldn't want to give back to the city they love? That's the way I see it," he said.

Local firms Enlightenz, The Light Site, Garard Lighting, Metaform and Aotea Electrical donated materials.

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