Crossing Signal Mosaic uses LED sources to invite pedestrians into residential building

An SSL-based public art project at the Parc on Powell apartment building in Emeryville, CA synchronizes with the rhythms of the roadway intersection and pedestrian crossing signals and has won a major design award.

Lucite International has announced that the LED-based “Crossing Signal Mosaic” public art project in Emeryville, CA has won the Just Imagine award for art and architectural design using LuciteLux acrylic. Artist and lighting designer Thérèse Lahaie was the creative force behind the project at the Parc on Powell multi-unit residential building using LED products and custom fabrication work by AFX of Milwaukee, WI. (Watch a video below in which the project is summarized.)

For Lahaie, the project was years in development working both on technology and creative concepts for the project and persevering through negotiations with the developer building the apartment building and the municipal staff of the city of Emeryville. Indeed, the City of Emeryville Art in Public Places Committee was behind the project and ultimately the developer Equity Residential bought in as a way to make its new Parc on Powell apartments more attractive to young renters. Emeryville is a community on the east side of the San Francisco Bay with a mix of art-centric studios and businesses, a few large high-tech employers, and a diverse tech-centric population that can easily commute to other areas around the Bay and high-tech employers.


Lahaie, who is a judge for the LEDs Magazine Sapphire Awards, began the creative process spending an extended amount of time at the intersection facing the entryway where the project was ultimately installed. She took still photos and video of the activity during both day and night visits. Ultimately, she proposed a project to the city and Equity Residential that was intended to use dynamic light effects to transform the relationship people have to time.

“When I began research for the project, my video documentation of the saturated colors and rhythms of the pedestrian crossing signals were the most compelling images,” said Lahaie. “In ‘Crossing Signal Mosaic,’ I decided to transform the ordinary iconography of these traffic signals by creating a conversation with the adjacent intersection and inviting a playful interaction between the signals and viewers. The crossing signals characters in the sculpture can be whatever color they want, and they can wave and dance.”

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