Sensing Change

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Client: 151 N Franklin Street

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $1,500,000

Project Team

Artist

Michael Stiller Design

Artist

ESI Design

Industry Resource

Dimensional Worldwide

woo

Overview

A new data-driven dynamic light sculpture on a downtown Chicago terrace draws a connection between the urban landscape and natural world. Titled “Sensing Change”, the sculptural installation is controlled by live weather-data feeds creating a unique and ever-changing experience that can be enjoyed both during the day and at night.

Standing on a 2nd floor terrace and against an imposing concrete wall, the illuminated trellis was designed to lend an open and organic feeling to this public space. Viewable from the street and the building’s upper floors, the piece adds a dynamic component to the surrounding neighborhood.

Goals

The owners of 151 North Franklin Street tasked ESI Design and their design collaborators, upLIGHT, with creating a compelling experience for the building's outdoor amenity space. The client’s main concern was that the terrace, bounded by the exterior wall of a neighboring parking structure, would feel narrow and cramped. To alleviate this, we transformed the imposing block wall into a dynamic light-art installation that makes the outdoor space feel warm and welcoming during the day and at night. The piece is visible to people enjoying the terrace as well as those viewing it from the street and the upper floors of the building. The experience is organic and contemplative, evoking the simultaneously active and calming quality of dappled light projected through leaves.

Process

We consulted with ESI Design starting with the initial project ideation and then developed the technical and lighting infrastructure to bring this concept to life. We worked closely with the fabricators, Dimensional Worldwide, to finalize the sculptural form so that it was faithful to the original design intent and able to accommodate all internal lighting and controls. We provided support and design direction to the project engineers, architects, and contractors during the contract documents phase and through construction and programming. As the dynamic lighting components are media-driven, we developed the final pixel maps and provided media specifications to ESI Design to assist their consultant's software development and all media creation.