Entry No. 13
10 November, 2013
Author: Veronika Jonsson
PUBLIC ART: HELSINKI’S LIT LANDMARK
Lighting Design Collective | Silo 3468
Completed in the fall of 2012, Silo 468 is a lit urban art piece that engages its environment and provides a civic space for its community. Designed by the Lighting Design Collective based out of Madrid, the design won an international competition to convert a disused oil silo into a cultural landmark as part of Helsinki’s year as The World Design Capital.
Located 2 kilometers across the water from central Helsinki, the artwork was inspired by the movement of light on the surface of the sea and the visualization of the prevailing winds and swarming birds which are both well-known phenomena to the residents of Helsinki.
Throughout the day, the design effectively evokes the sparkling nature of water through the use of approximately 450 mirrors mounted behind nearly 1,250 perforations that let in direct sunlight and reflect it back out to be seen by onlookers. This effect on the exterior surface can be seen across the water most strongly during sunrise and sunset, but translates throughout the day in the interior where the perforations and mirrors work together to cast dappled shadows that move across the space in relation to the suns course.
[IMAGEs: Lighting Design Collective]
During the evening, however, the flickering display of white LED lights behind the perforations work in conjunction with software that monitors the movement of wind and triggers changing light patterns in real time. The software additionally is programmed to provide patterns that mimic the swarming of birds to reference the seaside location. Though the software works well in providing unique patterns that never repeat, the lit display does not necessarily communicate the designers’ intentions and lacks the interactive quality it promises.