ESI Design recently created a massive light-art installation to transform an uninviting outdoor terrace, bordered by the imposing concrete wall of a parking garage, into an urban oasis in downtown Chicago. The installation at 151 North Franklin, titled ‘Sensing Change,’ turns the cold, blank concrete wall that once made the terrace feel narrow and cramped into an expansive canvas that draws on local weather data to create abstract light patterns that recall sunlight rippling through trees, rain falling, and clouds scudding across the sky.
The terrace, which is open to the public via an entrance through the building’s lobby, now offers a calming escape from the commotion of downtown Chicago.
The installation combines different palettes and animations to produce more than 250 permutations, ensuring an ever-changing experience that can be enjoyed both during the day and at night. It is composed of 390 vertical light bars that will support the growth of ivy, which will add another layer of depth as the vines wend their way through the bars in the coming years. As the vines climb the installation, the lights will reflect off their leaves, creating a unique juxtaposition of technology and nature.
Photography: Caleb Tkach