london roundhouse transformed into a real-time light clock

london roundhouse transformed into a real-time light clock

british artist conrad shawcross has turned the london roundhouse into a real-time clock. the installation, ‘timepiece’ is a modern-day mechanical sundial, which transforms the entire room into a time telling system, responding to the circular architecture in a dramatic display of light and shadow. the 8-meter, faceless clock functions from a rotating metal mechanism which hangs from the center of the ceiling. its three mechanical arms, each with a glaringly bright bulb attached to its end, rhythmically swing and fold. positioned on the floor, marking the center point of the space, is a four-meter high gnomon — the pointed needle of a sundial —  which signals the time. as the illuminated motor whirls, the light it casts onto the ground marks the hours, minutes and seconds in real time.



conrad shawcross’ timepiece in action at the roundhouse
video courtesy of roundhouse london | main image © stephen white courtesy of roundhouse



shawcross developed the idea behind the mechanical light sculpture with the realization that he could adopt the roundhouse’s architectural elements into a timekeeper, paralleling its 24 iron columns to the number of hours in the day. the chiaroscuro that defines the piece brings the idea of timekeeping back to the participatory, celestial experience it once was. throughout the month that ‘timepiece’ will be on display, the roundhouse will curate events that will merge performance art, film and dance with the installation. on august 4th, 2013, british choreographer wayne mcgregor juxtaposed contemporary dance with the light and shadow castings from the shawcross’ light-clock.

london roundhouse transformed into a real-time light clock
dancers from wayne mcgregor/ random dance perform in union with the installation

london roundhouse transformed into a real-time light clock
the making of ‘timepiece’ for the london roundhouse

london roundhouse transformed into a real-time light clock
marking the hands of the massive light-clock installation

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999