THE ‘light pods’ which helped brighten Bournemouth last Christmas have won an award previously given to the Harry Potter films and the London 2012 opening.

The Bournemouth Light Pods – which formed part of the Bournemouth Gardens of Light Christmas festival last year – have won the prestigious Special Project category of the Lighting Design Awards 2014.

The honour has previously gone to Patrick Woodroffe for the London 2012 opening ceremony and to Warner Brothers for its work on the Harry Potter films.

Among the runners-up this year were the David Bowie attraction at the V&A museum.

The light pods were 10 ‘interactive lighting experiences’ in beach hut-style structures in the Lower Gardens.

They included the HiPODrome, a silver light pod with smoke machine, spinning disco balls and its own sound system; Beach Hut 21 ½, which looked like a beach hut but hid a secret world, accessed by crawling through a kitchen cupboard; and Optical World, where visitors could walk among trailing fibre optics.

The pods were designed locally by Michael Grubb and his team, who also led the lighting design for London’s Olympic Park. The pods were locally built by Ecologic Developments.

The aim is for the pods to come back each year with new interiors. Mr Grubb said: “It’s incredible that Bournemouth’s Light Pods have won an award like this, and really shows how the Gardens of Light event has attracted the attention of people far beyond the town. We were delighted to be a part of the project and look forward to what can be achieved in future years.”

The pods were provided by the Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) as part of the Gardens of Light festival.

Footfall cameras reported a large increase in visitors in November and December.

Lisa Tucker, chairman of the Town Centre BID, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people interacting and having fun in the Light Pods.

“The entire Gardens of Light event gave a huge shot in the arm for Bournemouth town centre last Christmas and significantly increased footfall – exactly what the BID was set up to do.”