Submitted by Catherine Widgery


Client: Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Location: Raleigh-Durham, NC, United States

Completion date: 2014

Project Team


Catherine Widgery

Widgery Studio


Rufus Butler Seder

Eyethink, Inc

Industry Resource

Peter Kaufman

Peters Studios


Airports can be stressful places. Ripples creates a contemplative, soothing expanse of blue water where the patterns of drops remind us of eternal rhythms and cycles. We see the sky reflected and the texture of the water with the waves of the drops expanding. For those who look more closely, the drops are falling and the rings on the water appear to be expanding; the whole surface of the water alive with the delicate motion of rain falling on water. The impression of movement is achieved via thin etched lines that "interfere" with an image behind them.


The impression of movement is achieved via thin etched lines that "interfere" with an image behind them.
In order to accomplish this I approached Rufus Butler Seder who has worked for 20 years developing a patented system to animate images in a flat surface without mechanical means. For this project we have created an entirely new approach and if it is built this will be the only thing like it in the world.

This image is actually three images that are woven together on the computer into thin strips and as you move by the etched lines obscure part of the image so that the brain sees for a fleeting instant only one…then the next and then the third and then the first one again. What the brain perceives is interpreted as motion. I took photographs of "rain" on water that we created on a day right after a rain storm when the sun had come out and the sky was blue with clouds. I took the photographs in rapid sequence so you are really seeing three moments in time in a single hybrid image that is viewed sequentially due to the movement of the viewer.

Additional Information

The airport wanted to create a screen that had to be translucent but not transparent for the wall between the security area and the arriving passenger corridor. This wall greets people arriving to RDU and they wanted something both welcoming and serene. We worked with the architect removing columns in the line of windows so that it is one long sweep of glass and adding special lighting so the integration was a crucial part of the design.