A festival of light: 30 glowing see-saws illuminate downtown Montreal

by Kim Megson | 22 Dec 2015

A group of Canadian designers have collaborated on a huge illuminated playground in Montreal where members of the public can ride 30 glowing, musical see-saws.

Located in the city’s downtown, each see-saw is fitted with LEDs and speakers and emits waves of light and sound which change in intensity depending on movement. The subsequent music and visuals merge together to create an ever-changing composition.

The dreamlike effect is enhanced by abstract pulsing, soundtracked video projections displayed on the walls of nine surrounding buildings. These play with concepts of balance, symmetry, harmony and their binary opposites.

The art project, named Impulse, is the work of lighting designers CS Design, architecture studio Lateral Office, composer Mitchell Akiyama and engineer EGP Group and was commissioned by Canadian cultural organisation Quartier des Spectacles. It will be open to the public until the end of January 2016.

“We wanted to create a holistic environment through the use of physical objects,” CS Design partner Conor Sampson told CLAD. “The response has been overwhelming. The public love it. We’ve had more than 500 people using the see-saws every day.”

Sampson said that Impulse, which was created in just four months, is designed to be easily assembled and dissembled and revealed that several other cities have expressed interest in exhibiting the installation.

“It’s certainly a model that can be used again and again,” he said. “Public art can lift environments, change perspectives and create added value to an urban area.”

Impulse forms part of Montreal’s Luminotherapie festival, now in its seventh year. The annual event is organised to create an original winter experience for city-dwellers and provide a platform for young designers and digital artists.

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A group of Canadian designers have collaborated on a huge illuminated playground in Montreal where members of the public can ride 30 glowing, musical see-saws. Located in the city’s downtown, each see-saw is fitted with LEDs and speakers and emits waves of light and sound which change in intensity depending on movement. The subsequent music and visuals merge together to create an ever-changing composition. The dreamlike effect is enhanced by
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The installation will be open until the end of January 2016 / Ulysse Lemerise
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