Firefly

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Title: Firefly
Photo Credit: Ned Kahn
Lead Artist(s):

Description:

Ned Kahn’s 12- story, wind-driven kinetic light sculpture, Firefly, is installed as part of one of San Francisco’s greenest buildings, the new Public Utilities Commission (PUC) headquarters, which achieved LEED Platinum certification. Kahn’s sculpture is a visual expression of the power of the wind, appropriately mounted on the façade of the tower housing wind turbines that generate 7% of the building’s electrical needs. Firefly is comprised of a lattice of tens of thousands of five-inch-square, clear-polycarbonate panels that are hinged so that they can freely move in the wind. During the day, the ever-changing wind pattern profile on the building appears as undulating waves. At night, this movement is converted into light. As the wind presses the hinged panels inward a small embedded magnet connected to an electrical reed switch triggers the flickering of tiny LED lights. The lights are colored to mimic fireflies, which are a threatened species due to their dependence on riparian ecosystems. Kahn is widely regarded as a master at creating mesmerizing works of art that harness the power and unobservable force of natural systems such as wind, water and light. This makes for a natural nexus between the artist’s practice and PUC services—the delivery of water, wind-power and electricity. In keeping with the PUC’s commitment to sustainable energy, the entire sculpture requires less energy than a 75-Watt light bulb to operate.

PROJECT LOCATION

Municipal Building/Site
Location is known as Public Utilities Commission (PUC) headquarters
Public Utilities Commission Headquarters
525 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94012
United States

click the map to enlarge
PROJECT TEAM

San Francisco Arts Commission
San Francisco Arts Commission
The Electronic Outhouse
Endrestudio, KMD Architects, Rocket Science
Rob Swartz, Ryan Stevens, JW Nickel
PROJECT DETAILS

Permanent
$1,438,069
$500,000 and above
Percent-for-Art
Kinetic, Mixed Media, Sculpture
LED, Metal, Panels
Kinetic light sculpture-mixed media
2012
2013
VIDEOS

Embedded thumbnail for 2013 Public Art Network Year in Review: Firefly
Embedded thumbnail for 2013 Public Art Network Year in Review: Firefly by Night