Denver International Airport (DEN) is famous for stunning public art installations displayed throughout the interior and exterior of the airport. Completed in November 2019, ‘Luminous Wind’ is one of those innovative pieces.
Created by artists Laura Haddad and Thomas Drugan, Luminous Wind is part of Peña Station NEXT, a Green community concept being developed by partners Fulenwider, DEN, and Panasonic that sets new standards for smart, sustainable, and connected living. Located at the transit station within Peña Station NEXT, the sculpture is inspired by innovation, energy, nature, and the work of its namesake, former Denver mayor Federico Peña.
Crafted from environmentally activated materials, the 8 m (27 ft) tall sculpture is continuously transformed by the sky, sun, wind, and landscape. 952 prismatic clear acrylic rods inspired by windswept grass reflect and refract sunlight. Extending from a stainless-steel geodesic sphere mounted on a tripod of stainless-steel columns, each rod is illuminated by an individually programmable color-changing LED node, creating a spectacular mosaic of vivid and ever-changing colors and patterns. As wind speed increases, a wind sensor activates an increase in the speed of the light effects, creating a barometer that visualizes wind patterns.
Color Kinetics iColor Flex LMX gen2 (now specificed with Flex Compact gen3, RGB) (952 nodes) was used for its color-changing and mappable lighting effects, brightness, sustainability, and proven track record. The fixtures, with custom strands made by RGB Lights, are woven into the sphere of the sculpture. Controlled with Pharos LPC controllers and powered by Color Kinetics PDS-480x units assembled by RGB Lights, the sculpture displays a different light show each night, while holidays are marked by distinct colors and light displays.
“Luminous Wind has been a fantastic opportunity to fuse inspiration from the surrounding plains, the airport, and the work of Federico Peña to create artwork that expresses the growing sustainable and technologically-advanced “Smart City” community of Peña Station NEXT. We hope it will be a beacon of inspiration, not just for the residents, but the many travelers heading to and from the airport.” - Tom Drugan, Co-creator, Luminous Wind