Helsinki’s Lightshow Silo

In our previous post of events and projects that will be coming to Cape Town during 2014 for the World Design Capital designation, we have mentioned that a majority of the projects and events will be driven by local ideas and designers. Anyone with an idea, project or event that will showcase Cape Town’s contributions to design that improves life will be able to apply for funding and realise their vision.

Here is a perfect example of such an idea, unique to Helsinki, that was made a reality during this year’s World Design Capital 2012 event. In 2011 Helsinki held an architectural/design competition to give Helsinki a permanent urban light art piece for WDC 2012. The winners, Lightning Design Collective, proposed this brilliant idea to re-use an old unused oil silo on the east side of the city.

The Old Silo in Helsinki

The 16 meter tall and 35  meter in diameter silo will be transformed into a new public space where citizens can congregate, relax and enjoy what Helsinki has to offer. Not only will it become a new public space, but it will also become a new permanent art piece as the original design competition required. The silo will have two different art shows during the day and the night.

Inside the silo displaying the interesting space created inside.

The art work was inspired by the movement of light on the surface of the sea.

The two main ideas that transforms the silo are that 2012 perforated holes that will be made and the 1250 LEDs installed on the outside of the silo’s walls. During the day, sunlight will sparkle and shine through the perforated walls to create a beautiful daytime space. At night, the LEDs will be controlled by software, written by Lightning Design Collective, to flicker and go on to mimic a swarm of birds flying in the wind. This will be triggered by the wind howling over the silo at night.

Cape Town will hopefully also bring us some of these inspiring projects and spaces during World Design Capital 2014. Will we see a few summer pavilions around the city and art after dark shows at the old Athlone Power Station?

After writing this, we discovered that the Old Biscuit Mill is redeveloping their unused grain silo in Woodstock. You can read all about that here.

About Rouen Smit

Future actuary working at a company based in Cape Town. Love open water swimming. Love taking public transport and feeling the city. The Future’s Bright