Client: Longwood Gardens
Location: Kennett Square, PA, United States
Completion date: 2016
Set over the expansive 1,083-acre grounds of Longwood Gardens, Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience led nearly 300,000 guests on an immersive nighttime journey through ten discrete lighting and audio installations. Inspired by the landscape, Nightscape was designed as a walking experience, inviting visitors to explore the different environments of pixel-mapped lighting and projection-mapped visuals at their own pace. From the colorfully lit groves and dancing topiaries outdoors to the vibrantly patterned desert cacti inside the Conservatory, each site-specific installation highlighted unique features with articulated lights complemented by an original composition of ambient sounds and electronic music.
Klip Collective was tasked with creating an outdoor nighttime exhibit during a two-year renovation of Longwood Gardens’ historic fountain garden, where summer events were typically held. In addition to entertaining their existing members, Longwood Gardens wanted to expand visitorship by attracting a younger audience, particularly from Philadelphia, located 30 miles away.
The site-specific nature of Klip Collective’s work, and the ability to transform the gardens with light and extend visitor hours into the evening intrigued Longwood Gardens. Nightscape was designed to seamlessly blend into the scenery and celebrate what was already in the gardens. The natural textures and forms of the plants were the canvas informing the creative process. Each setting was interpreted through movement, color, light, and sound. Inspired by what the landscape presented, Klip Collective illuminated the gardens in an imaginative and playful way. Each lighting environment led into the next with intention, creating a journey, eliciting an emotional response and creating a personal narrative within the viewer.
As summer moved into fall, the look and experience of Nightscape changed as nights got longer and garden elements fluctuated. The exhibit was a different experience between July and October, drawing many people back to Nightscape for multiple viewings.
Creating a light and sound experience across a large and diverse landscape required close collaboration between the garden staff and Klip Collective. A vast team co-conspired to bring Nightscape to life: animators, producers, projectionists, electricians, programmers, horticulturists, musicians and composers.
Klip Collective spent a lot of time in the gardens exploring the possibilities and adapting lighting techniques like projection mapping on the ornamental landscape and trees in new and original ways. Site research was conducted with garden staff to determine the sites and canvases for illumination. Working closely with the horticulturists, plant elements were selected to provide the most dramatic visual effect. Many evenings were devoted to practical logistics like projector placement and integrating cable runs into the landscape. Others were spent in the gardens composing tracks for Nightscape’s original musical score. Still others were dedicated to learning how a line of light would refract across the accordion-like folds of a bismarckia leaf. A month prior to the exhibit opening, the Klip team spent long, sleepless nights turning hours of design, experimentation, and testing into the journey of discovery that is Nightscape.
Nightscape was powered by a custom-designed, show control system programmed to start up and shut down each light and sound installation on a daily schedule. Designed to withstand the weather elements and duration of the exhibit, the show control could be accessed remotely to monitor and troubleshoot any potential technical issues.