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Light Therapy

28 Nov

The saturated rays of "Light Escape" seep into the Tacoma night. Photo courtesy of RSVR.

Do you suffer from a touch of SAD-ness (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? Then take a trip downtown and bask in the unearthly glow of Light Escape-Tacoma Array, an installation by the Portland-based design team of RSVR (Ian Campbell and Benjamin Gray) in the Woolworth Building. RSVR’s mission is “to provide the City of  Tacoma with an extended summer” via a dynamic installation of streaming filaments of green-and-violet light. The effect is ghostly, sci-fi – and best viewed at night.

Campbell founded RSVR (“shorthand for reservoir”) in 2008 as a platform for creative cross-disciplinary collaborations. He describes himself and Gray first “as architects producing art, and not [as] artists. I feel this is an important distinction to make as our training as architectural designers often informs our approach, and on a whole, I would describe our collaborations as an attempt to explore the intersection of art, architecture, and industrial design.

Photo courtesy of RSVR

In the Woolworth installation, the duo creates an elegant, room-size spatial arrangement “that appear(s) to be made of almost no material while maintaining an intense visual presence.” In Light Escape, RSVR sculpts with light, stretching thin rubber membranes over a suspended wooden frame to create an undulating, translucent surface that reacts over time to ultraviolet light emitted from UV dispensers (“light escapes”). As the UV rays gradually break down the rubber membrane, its translucency is altered in a controlled manner.

“As the light of summer begins to fade (every day after June 22 – December 22), the lighting elements will slowly remove entire sections of rubber allowing completely unfiltered light to spill onto the sidewalk, providing any passerby an extended summer,” RSVR explains. “Essentially, we are using light to organically ‘cut’ our way out from behind the stretched rubber membranes.” Continue reading

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