Tower of Light: Proposal to Transform Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower


Urban designer and futurist David Vago is full of obscure ideas. The last time The Urban Developer spoke with David he was telling us about his “

edible” solution for Sydney’s housing affordability crisis (and it isn’t as wacky as it sounds).

Vago’s next idea is to highlight Sydney’s Centrepoint tower in a permanent light display. It’s not a unique concept – both the Tokyo Tower and Eiffel Tower set a strong precedent for lighting important landmarks to create inspiring visual experiences.

Currently in the conceptual phase, Vago has organised meetings with NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman to discuss feasibility and funding. Rather than use LED lighting, Vago has proposed optic fibre technology with minimum light spill in order to comply with the City of Sydney’s policy on lighting tall structures.


A message board for the city

After the terrorist attacks in Paris and Manchester, dozens of buildings and monuments displayed the colours of the French and British flags. Vago notes the contribution light displays have made to the visual activation of cities overseas, “Permanent lighting displays in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Paris have become iconic and have contributed financially to the tourist industry.”

The lighting, Vago says, would be adapted to various events or important days – rainbow colours for Mardi Gras, pink for the Pat McGrath foundation, green for St Patricks Day or green and gold for notable sporting events. Vago proposes that the general lighting of the tower use colours that reference key messages – peace, happiness, hope, celebration, life, nature and love.

According to Vago, the cost is negligible, “If we can spend $7.5 million a year on fireworks which last 20 minutes, I'm sure our State Government can invest $5 million to create a truly unique and inspiring piece of city sculpture in the form of lighting our Sydney Tower.”


It’s an appealing use of technology; cities do not exist without light. As the architect Marc Kushner puts it, “visual activation of a cityscape at night is important for how we inhabit a city”. Vago is quick to remind us of the transformative effect the Tokyo Tower had on its surrounds, “Tokyo Tower changed the suburb in which it is located from a dark dead zone to an activated and more appealing local area [and] Sydney Tower has a similar role to play.

“The city is for all of us and our city skyline is iconic. What better way to display our city to all Sydney-siders and visitors than to light our tallest and most distinctive structure. [The] coloured glow will become a beacon of community and unity.”

Vago proposes the lights should be launched at Vivid ’18, “Off the back of Vivid's success and the numbers of visitors it attracts, the timing feels right to invest in some permanent lighting in Sydney that will only highlight our already famous landmarks.”

The Urban Developer

will keep you updated on David Vago’s proposal in the coming months.

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