The lights and sounds of Timber Aurora at Vivid Sydney 2019

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
27 May 2019

Arup continues its involvement in Vivid Sydney, the annual festival of light, music and ideas, with this year’s creative installation - a nine metre-long bench prototype, inspired by the polar lights. 

Through light, sound and structure, Timber Aurora captures the dynamic, yet fluid movements and sounds of waves while projecting the colours of an aurora – redefining what we expect of urban furniture. 


Arup’s Cloris Wang and Delvin Saputra joined with architects, Danna Priyatna, James Wang and Timothy Li to create the Timber Aurora concept.

Cloris said the design combines the technological and functional aesthetic expected at Vivid, but it also makes a statement on ways to activate traditionally unused spaces in our cities.

By lighting its surroundings, the Timber Aurora can create a playful community space. A place that would normally be dark and quiet, suddenly comes alive with excitement and conversation as people have fun and ultimately feel safer to visit.

Cloris Wang Urban Designer

The modular, templated timber pieces demonstrate the creative potential of timber. 

Coil-like, ‘inflated’ timber panels form the backrest of the bench seat and are illuminated to create a circular pattern. Linear LED RGB fixtures positioned within the sculpture shell between each timber panel create depth and movement as the colour travels between the panels.

“As a team we really believe street furniture like this can transform the edges of architectural landscapes,” added Delvin.

Vivid Sydney runs from 24 May until 15 June 2019. Timber Aurora is positioned in the Campbell’s Cove precinct of Circular Quay.

Read more about the role of light in creating human-centred urban night-time environments in Arup’s Cities Alive: Rethinking the Shades of Night report.