Client: Arts Brookfield
Location: New York, NY, United States
Completion date: 2015
Luminaries is a re-imagined holiday tradition—a spectacular lighting display that follows the glass enclosed topography of the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. Inspired by the season’s traditions of sharing, community and connection, visitors are immersed in a glowing canopy of 650 lanterns, embedded with LEDs. The interactive installation is transformed into a unique light display every time a participant touches a wishing station positioned within the palm trees of the Winter Garden. For every wish made this holiday season, Arts Brookfield donates $1 up to $25,000 to the GRAMMY Foundation® to support its GRAMMY in the Schools® education programs.
The goals of this project were two-fold: To compliment the holiday celebration at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan and to incorporate technology within an installation that would result in an interactive experience for the public. The LAB at Rockwell Group was commissioned to design a holiday display for the Winter Garden in Brookfield Place, the office-and-shopping complex in Battery Park City that was built in the 1980’s as the World Financial Center. As David Rockwell has designed many Broadway sets and could bring the drama and energy that was required for this project, Rockwell Group was the perfect fit. For this installation, commissioning a piece that was custom was key in order to create the right look, feel, and interactivity with guests as they enter Brookfield Place.
The creation of this installation entailed many discussions about utilizing the space of the building, creating an interactive touch point, and creating a new holiday celebration in downtown that complemented the Rockefeller tree lighting. “It’s hard to outdo the tree in terms of a tree, but we have space. We have scale. We have volume,” said Debra Simon, VP of Arts Brookfield when asked about the project and its goals. Working with designers at Rockwell Group and the Arts Brookfield team, the two came together to use the ideas of light and giving to create an interactive work, inspired by the ritual of offering light as a gesture of generosity and goodwill—a custom seen in many cultures across the globe. “I’ve been influenced by the Festival of Lights in Thailand for a long time and have channeled it in many projects,” says David Rockwell, “and we have been exploring wishing wells through technology for five or six years—the idea of when you drop a coin in the water, it creates ripples, so you’re in a way leaving an impact. So we thought, ‘what if we could create a place that is unbelievably beautiful, where you could make a mark?”