An interdisciplinary group of creatives, Balestra Berlin, have been working with light since 2006, realizing 27 international light installations to date. For an impressive example of their work, take the kubik light room installation. Water tanks filled with colored light, changing in time to electronic sounds, wowed audiences around the globe. The installation’s stunning, and stunningly versatile, architecture has already appropriated unused urban space in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Melbourne, and beyond, always adapted to each city’s individual flair, climate, space, and local environment. While Lisbon’s kubik incorporated windows and a staircase as part of a dynamic interplay between interior and exterior, the Hamburg version took proceedings all the way indoors – onto an empty factory floor. Other kubiks have floated on water, taking advantage of the fact that water tanks are equally suited for filling with air.
Designed with local conditions in mind, each kubik reflects its immediate surroundings while still remaining true to the original concept of combining light with music and space.
Light plays a vital role in this installation and Balestra Berlin’s overall approach. In a way, each tank is a single pixel, controlled individually, to allow the programmable elements to display special patterns, structures, light intensities, and a variety of colors. To this end, Balestra Berlin even developed a sensor-based program that detects movement and choreographs color and sound accordingly, thus reflecting the audience’s mood in the installation.
Spurred on by kubik’s impressive success, Balestra Berlin decided to expand the scintillating synergies between light and art with their new, aptly named light+art division (since 2012). Designed to serve as an agency for European light artists, light+art connects these inspired illuminators with consumers, festivals, or brands who wish to treat their audiences to enlightened experiences. Now, only one year down the line, the department’s portfolio already encompasses ten installations and works by renowned artists including Daan Roosegaarde (NL), Marshmallow Laser Feast (UK), and Squidsoup (UK, NO, NZ). Growing in leaps and bounds, Balestra Berlin’s sparkling output heralds great things for this relatively new artistic discipline. Who knows – the next generation of toddlers might be swapping their crayons for playing with light!
Excitement awaits, so keep your eyes peeled for Balestra Berlin’s luminous light sculptures – or explore your own opportunities to transform those bright beams that surround us.
Text: Lia Pack
Header image: Squidsoup