Lighting-up for sustainability

27 03 2012

Observation of Earth Hour
i Light Marina Bay 2012 Installations will be turned off for an hour at 8.30 pm on Saturday 31 March 2012 to observe Earth Hour.

Lighting and colouring up the gorgeously beautiful world that is Marina Bay over a three-week period, are thirty-one light art installations making their appearance at i Light Marina Bay 2012. The biennial festival is the second edition of Asia’s first and only sustainable light art festival. In bringing us the festival, the organisers also hope to send across a key message that advocates sustainability, particularly in the use of energy-efficient lighting technology for the future.

A close-up of Bibigloo by BIBI - one of 31 light art installations for i Light Marina Bay 2012 supplementing the sea of lights that the gorgeously beautiful Marina Bay is until 1 April 2010. Many of the installations feature the reuse or recycling of material - in this case Jerry Cans, to help send out the festival's key message of sustainability.

To send out the message of sustainability, criteria used in the selection of the 31 works out of 100 applications were the artists’ use of energy-efficient LED lights and the incorporation of sustainable, recycled / re-usable materials in their work. Some of the works do in fact feature the use of renewable or alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind energy or kinetic energy to provide the necessary power. The festival in promoting sustainability, has also enlisted the support of a number of the owners of buildings not just around the Marina Bay precinct, but also in other parts of Singapore to participate in the “Switch Off, Turn Up” campaign. The campaign will see some 42 buildings involved in a conscious effort to switch non-essential indoor/outdoor lighting and office equipment off whenever possible and turn up air-conditioning temperatures to 24 to 25° C during office hours. As with the festival, the campaign is in its second edition with the first edition featuring some 16 properties, which saw more than 41,000 kWh of electricity saved collectively. The buildings participating in the campaign include Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay Financial Centre and The Fullerton Heritage in the Marina Bay area as well as Wisma Atria, New Tech Park and Tampines Concourse outside of the area.

Shinya Okuda's BioShell which visualises invisible but closely interconnected relationships between humans and nature.

The Sustainability Sponsor for the festival, The PowerSeraya Group, a Singapore based integrated energy company, is a strong advocate of energy conservation. The Group is a Merit Winner of the Singapore Environmental Achievement Award in 2011. The company hopes to highlight the importance of environmental awareness as well as energy conservation through their participation – part of a broader outreach programme that the company has embarked on to encourage power consumers to use energy and resources responsibly.

Receptacle by Marine Ky - a work that is supported by Philips.

A close-up of Receptacle.

Besides the participation of the organisers’, the building owners, and the main sponsors in promoting the message of sustainability, the festival also sees the strong support of companies behind the development of energy-efficient lighting solutions. One such company is Philips, which hopes to drive a revolution in the use of energy-efficient LED. As part of their participation in the festival, Philips has lent their support to powering a number of the light art installations which are The River, Coral Garden, Tree Stories, Sweet Home, enLIGHTenment, BioShell, 5QU1D, Receptacle, and Planting Shadows. The LED lighting solutions being used for the festival’s installations use as little as one-tenth of the power required by an incandescent bulb and last for up to 20 years of normal use.

Olivia d'Aboville's Coral Garden is one installation supported by Philips. The installation encourages people to interact with the light installation made from cocktail stirrers much like an actual coral reef attracts marine life to it.

Through its participation and support, Philips aims to also bring across a message that light has the ability to enhance life, beautify the urban landscape, and bring out the unique personality of each city. The company feels that driven by the LED lighting revolution, sustainable lighting solutions now available offer limitless possibilities of what light can do for urban spaces and rethink the way cities are lighted up, allowing urban planners and architects great leeway in exercising their creativity. The company also hopes to see government regulation aimed at reducing energy consumption and protecting the environment and the phasing out of incandescent bulbs through a switch to LED lights.

The Philips picnic under a Breeze Shelter which featured some of their gorgeous LED light illuminated home products. Philips arranged for several local artists to share on their installations.

It was during a picnic organised by Philips held under the cool comfort of the Breeze Shelters at the Promontory @ Marina Bay I attended that I learnt more of Philips aims in supporting artists for i Light Marina Bay 2012. Philips was also kind enough to arrange for an opportunity to meet with a few of the local artists they are supporting. On hand to speak about their motivations in the creation of their respective installations was Ryf Zaini (5QU1D); the very enlightened Edwin Tan (enLIGHTenment); and Joshua Yang, Fiona Koh and Justin Loke of Vertical Submarine (Planting Shadows).

Edwin Tan (L) in the glow of enLIGHTenment.

It was interesting to hear what the artists had to say about their creations. First to speak was the Vertical Submarine team whose work, Planting Shadows is an adaptation from the one created for an exhibition at the Singapore Botanic Gardens in 2009. The installation features a sense provoking field of grey sunflowers. The inspiration for the work is a poem by local writer Chien Swee-Teng. The poem tells a tale of a sunflower plantation owner’s pact with an imp who lived in an empty bottle of sunflower oil. In exchange for success in his trade, the farmer becomes blind to the colour of his trade. In presenting sunflowers in the grey of their shadows, the team tries not just to recreate the story, but also aims to direct the viewers’ attention to the form of the sunflower.

In the colour of their shadows, attention is drawn to the form of the sunflowers. Planting Shadows by local group Vertical Submarine draws inspiration from a poem by local writer Chien Swee-Teng in which a sunflower plantation owner’s becomes blind to the colour of his trade in exchange for success in a pact with an imp.

Another sense provoking work is that of Ryf Zaini’s 5QUID. An engineering graduate of Temasek Polytechnic, the artist’s interest saw him completing a diploma in interactive media at the LASALLE College of the Arts where he graduated with first class honours in media art. An engineering graduate from Temasek Polytechnic, Ryf Zaini’s interest in the arts led him to LASALLE College of the Arts, where he completed a diploma in interactive media and graduated with first class honours in media arts. Combining both fields, Ryf Zaini creates hybrids of technologically informed art like his installation 5QU1D which represents a squid that emerges from the sea and takes on a hybrid form to merge itself with the surroundings. 5QU1D is embedded with blinking lights and uses recycled and used electronic parts, and LED lighting systems.

Ryf Zaini's 5QU1D is another sense provoking piece. It represents a squid which takes a hybrid form to blend with rapidly changing surroundings - a reference to the rapid changes in the modernising world and the effects they have on the natural environment.

The other artist who made an appearance was Edwin Tan, the founder of local design studio Bravo Company. His installation, enLIGHTenment involves a video wall of multi-coloured light tubes. In an idle state, an animated screen saver is displayed and when activated through an interactive console facing the light display, the installation starts “thinking”, finding an answer to a question asked through the console. After a pause of a few seconds, the display literally enlightens the audience with a YES or NO answer. Interestingly, Edwin mentioned that how he arrived at the work and its name was that he had only five days to work on his proposal. Seeking inspiration – it crossed his mind that he required some “enlightenment” which also contained the word “light” which is how he hit on the idea. The installation is cheekily placed at the Helix (bridge) that takes one to Marina Bay Sands and its casino and is aimed perhaps at those who contemplating a visit to the casino.

Yes, No, and sometimes Maybe?

Should the answer to that question be a negative one, one could instead have a last look at the installations before the festival ends on 1 April 2012. Besides the 31 installations, there are also lots of fringe activities being held during the last weekend. One activity certainly to catch is the Nescafe Passion Movie Night on Saturday 31 March 2012 during which there would be a free screening of KungFu Panda 2 at the Lawn from 8 to 10 pm. Another interesting event on the same day is the 8DAYS’ Pets and the City event at the Promontory between 4 and 8 pm during which pet owners can glam their pets up and take them for a walk. There will also be a mass Light Catcher creation workshop that will be held from 5 pm in conjunction with the movie screening, as well as Junk Jam which features percussion performances using household junk as instruments on both Saturday and Sunday from 9 pm to 10 pm along the Waterfront Promenade. Visitors to the area can also turn their eyes upward to watch the Singapore Sky Dancers lighting up the sky with lighted kites on Saturday from 7 to 11 pm. More information on the activities can be found on the i Light Marina Bay 2012 Activity Chart or at the event’s website:

All photographs in this post have been taken with a LUMIX GF-3.

Related posts:

Media Preview and an Overview of some of the installations

Opening Ceremony and the Light of The Merlion

Light Painting by LUMIX and other Fringe Activities

The View from Sands SkyPark and the Garden of Light

About i Light Marina Bay 2012:

i Light Marina Bay 2012, the second edition of Asia’s first and only sustainable light art festival, will be held from 9 March to 1 April 2012. Themed “Light Meets Asia”, i Light Marina Bay 2012 features innovative and environmentally sustainable light art installations by 31 multi-disciplinary artists, with a strong focus on works from Asia. The festival is organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in collaboration with Smart Light Singapore. i Light Marina Bay will be on nightly from 7.30pm to 11.00pm from 9 March to 1 April 2012. For more information, please visit In conjunction with the festival, LUMIX is running a photography competition for which participants who can capture the magical atmosphere created by the light art installations around Marina Bay stand to win attractive prizes. More information can be found at the festival website.

URA Press Release on Earth Hour 2012

Singapore, 28 March 2012 – i Light Marina Bay 2012, the sophomore edition of Asia’s first and only sustainable light art festival, is going the extra mile in its commitment to the sustainability message with the Festival’s participation in this year’s Earth Hour.

Come 31 March 2012, all 31 featured artworks will be switched off for an hour between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. The public are invited to participate in a Mass Light Catcher Creation workshop at The Lawn commencing from 6.00pm, followed by a commemorative light-up. There will also be a free movie screening at the NESCAFE® PAssion Movie Night later that evening.

Besides participating in Earth Hour, the “Switch Off, Turn Up” campaign – an energy efficiency effort initiated by the festival to encourage properties in and around Marina Bay to switch off non-essential lights and turn up air-conditioning temperatures – is projected to achieve energy savings of at least 200,000 kWh (kilowatt hours), triple the energy saved during the inaugural edition in 2010. This equates to saving 100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is enough to generate electricity for 762 4-room HDB flats for the same period.

The “Switch Off, Turn Up” campaign, with the support of Sustainability Sponsor PowerSeraya, has to date received the commitment of 47 properties to drive energy efficiency, which is close to a three-fold increase from the 16 buildings that took part two years ago. Participating partners include Marina Bay Sands, Prime Sponsor of the festival, as well as other developments around Marina Bay and beyond.

For more information about the festival, visit

About Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is Singapore’s national land use planning and conservation agency. URA’s mission is “to make Singapore a great city to live, work and play in”. We strive to create a vibrant and sustainable city of distinction by planning and facilitating Singapore’s physical development in partnership with the community. As the main land sales agent for the state, our multifaceted engagement strategy includes the sale of state land to attract and channel private capital investment to develop sites for meeting our land use needs. As the place manager for Marina Bay, we promote exciting activities within Marina Bay in collaboration with other government agencies and private stakeholders. To create an exciting cityscape, the URA also actively promotes architecture and urban design excellence. For more information, please visit us at

About Smart Light Singapore

Smart Light Singapore (SLS) was established in 2010 as a not-for-profit entity to develop urban lighting festivals that would set new international standards for energy efficiency and provide family-friendly, outdoor celebrations by illuminating public spaces through art sculptures and other smart light activities.

Through these events and activities, SLS aims to increase awareness in the reduction of energy usage, engage public and professional participation in best practices in lighting design, promote dark city skies and improve on energy-efficient lighting performances.