Revealing the invisible

Our everyday is full of invisible moments and systems; from the monuments of the city that sit silently in stone and steel, to the rhythm of boats manoeuvring around one another in a choreographed dance. The presence of the unseen is dependant upon the filter through which we see our everyday. Much of what surrounds us as we walk down our familiar streets blend in the invisible realm, simply because they are what we expect to see. What happens when we begin to toy around with the mundane? When we attempt to shift our capacities to suspend belief and present ourselves with the unexpected?

Croatian designer, Dean Skira, did just that. He added a layer of light to a row of building cranes in a shipyard by the coastal city of Pula. At night, these eight sleeping giants are summoned into existence with 73 LED spotlights. Each light contains 64 LED chips, cutting through the darkness and synchronised by a wifi based control system, projecting 16,000 possible colour combinations. The lights run over the cranes for 15 minutes three times a night, synchronised to the sounds of the harbour. They give life to these moments that would otherwise blend into the everyday, with the colours dancing off the structures and into the reflections of the harbour. Even though the giants remain static, the cranes shift from being industrial objects and come to life as creatures with personalities, vocalising the silent moments of the historic fabric of the city.

“The industrial revolution in the early nineteenth-century has brought us some new monuments, which still stand and move every day in the gentle dance of steel”

The design strategically arranged the lights to illuminate the cranes whilst avoiding the creation of glare, as they are still operational in the shipyard. Skira explains that “every day, these metallic ‘monuments’ undertake their own gentle dance of steel, helping to create some of the greatest commercial ships ever built… this dance has been going on for almost 200 years and I wanted to create a colourful stage on which they could perform.”

Crane plans

This vision of lighting giants was conceived by Skira back in 2000 and was only realised in May 2014. The town authorities were in talks for relocating the shipyard, this gave Skira the idea of highlighting them instead. With the support of local industry the project come to fruition 14 years later as a theatre of the silent monuments; designing the extraordinary through shifting the viewer’s position through light.

Video and plans by Skira

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *