A New Light Installation in Chicago Creates a Peaceful Moment in the Concrete Jungle

Posted June 14, 2019

A new light installation creates a peaceful moment on the terrace of 151 North Franklin in downtown Chicago. The data-driven, dynamic art installation is receiving industry attention for its use of light to draw a connection to nature. Titled Sensing Change, the installation powered by live data feeds creating an ever-changing experience that can be enjoyed both during the day and at night.

An award-winning light art installation

We are excited and very proud to share that Sensing Change has won a LIT Award for Exterior Architectural Illumination and an IESNYC Lumens Award Citation for Interactive Façade. The light installation was also shortlisted for the Light Art Project of the Year by the Lighting Design Awards. We’d like to thank our partners upLIGHT who we worked with closely to produce Sensing Change for our clients at 151 North Franklin.

The light installation at 151 North Franklin in Chicago.

Standing on a 2nd floor terrace and against an imposing concrete wall, the light trellis was designed to make the space feel more open and organic. Sensing Change is viewable from the street and the buildings upper floors, adding  dynamism to the surrounding neighborhood.

Composed of brushed metal fins and vertical light bars, the trellis creates a textured structure that plays with animation and light. The front and back of the bars animate independently and together as a single canvas.

There are two media modes which play on the light trellis: Living Wall and Special Event.

The Living Wall mode dynamically creates animations influenced by local weather data. This mode features three distinct weather states: Cloudy, Sunny, Precipitation. Wind speed acts as a disruptive layer that plays on top of the other weather states. The colors and animations respond in real-time to the live weather data feed. By pairing different hues and patterns there are more than 200 permutations that can be created ensuring the look of the trellis stays fresh and interesting over time. The abstract light patterns are inspired by a sense of precipitation, water traveling through leaf veins, sunlight rays, and the flow of oxygen in and out of atmosphere.

The Special Event mode allows building management to program the trellis so that it can connect to the local neighborhood and community through celebration of holidays and Chicago’s local events. There are four templates that can be applied to specific color patterns and animation styles to create over 54 different media permutations.

Over time, the light installation will support lush ivy growth on the wall. Together, the trellis and vines will create a unique juxtaposition of technology and nature. As a result, the design is organic and contemplative, evoking the calming feeling of dappled light through trees.

The result is a peaceful and reflective experience in the middle of the concrete jungle, drawing inspiration from the natural world around us.

See the light installation in action:


Interested in a dynamic digital installation for your property? Click here to get in touch!

Olivia El-Sadr Davis

Olivia is a former member of ESI Design’s Marketing and Business Development Team, blogging about the latest happenings at ESI and beyond.

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