Cradle2Cradle is a light art installation originally commissioned for Singapore’s i Lights Marina Bay Festival 2018. With the design theme centring on ‘Sustainability’, the designers were faced with the challenge of how to create an interesting light structure that was not only aesthetically appealing but also delivers the message of sustainability in an uniquely memorable manner.
The end result is an interactive light structure reminiscent of Newton’s Cradle that blurs the boundaries between science and art.
The Swinging Spheres
In order to mimic the pendulum effect of a Newton’s cradle, solid acrylic spheres with integrated lights were secured to swinging rods. These acrylic spheres were treated with a frosted finish to allow light within to diffuse homogenously.
The size and placement of the spheres were also designed with several key considerations in mind. They include ease of use, visual impact, active interaction and safety. These considerations resulted in two rows of spheres, each row offset from each other. Having two rows at different heights encourages both children and adults to interact with the artwork. The off-centre placement of each row is also a subtle way of informing users which end they may start on. It also encourages cross-generational collaboration; when a child and an adult stand at opposite ends and activate each row, both rows can be ‘active’ at the same time.
Its structure was designed to seem almost invisible from a distance, so it does not draw attention away from the focus of the artwork – the swinging spheres. Thin rounded steel members were cross-braced to provide the necessary strength, yet are structurally thin enough to ‘disappear’. Steel was also used to make the ribbed floor plates that provide grip even when wet and the polished ceiling panels that enhance the visual impact of the light display, mirroring the swinging spheres below it and the surrounding environment.
The braced structure, ribbed floor panels and polished ceiling envelop the users, at once creating a sense of space and immersion as one steps within these ‘walls’.
Piezoelectric Technology (Sustainability)
Piezoelectric generators were strategically placed at key points in the installation that are subject to mechanical stress such as at the pivot points of the end spheres. These generators harness energy produced from the mechanical stress to supplement the power required to illuminate the spheres.