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Partnering with Jill Anholt Studio, light show “Physis” earns two coveted Illumination Awards

Jackie Wei-Green Jackie Wei Green Senior Communications Leader,Los Angeles
10 June 2019

Jill Anholt Studio and Arup together received both a national IES Illumination Award of Merit and the 2019 Gloria Koch Leonidas Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design from IES Puget Sound for the Physis light show created within the artist-designed pavilion at Redmond Downtown Park entitled "Buoyant."

Physis follows roughly a year of change in nature distilled into micro and macro patterns of movement, sequence, and color; gleaned from the study of a collection of living organisms and environments found within Redmond, Washington, that are constantly in flux.

The dynamic lighting programme illuminates a canvas of moving water, created by textured metal rods continually flowing with water and RGBW LED inground uplights intricately programmed to relay the narrative of Physis. The illuminated water feature and its reflection in the mirrored circular ceiling creates the iconic primary light source for the pavilion.

The visual artistry of the light show lasts 50 minutes, played throughout the evening, and tells the story of the changing seasons through the cycles of  winter, spring, summer, and fall. Each season provides multiple scaled perspectives of natural changes occurring in multidimensional layers of frequency and movement from macro to micro: from abstracted tree leaves rustling in the wind to the sun moving along the horizon, from a field of wild flowers to an abstracted moment of a single bloom opening, from a frosted winter landscape to a microscopic crystal formation.  


The lighting control system utilizes an astronomical clock to tune the intensity of lighting to the natural light levels of the seasons, thus the lighting scene blends differently based on the season and time of the day. This varies the experience of the park and “Buoyant” for each encounter.

The Redmond Downtown Park in Washington is itself a destination for creative energy and community exploration. Arup was closely involved with the project led by Jill Anholt Studio and PFS Studio. Our team provided masterplanning services for the two-acre park as well as integrated, multidisciplinary design for “Buoyant” and the Physis lighting programme within. 

Photography courtesy of Lara Swimmer and Salinas Holcomb. 

Arup's lighting design team Arup's lighting design team
Several members of the lighting team attended the Seattle awards gala on 6 June to receive IES’s commendations.