Petalclouds at Singapore Changi Airport is a large-scale kinetic installation that combines light, music and motion to form a fascinating work of art. The harmonious choreography of the piece is ideal for creating a tranquil atmosphere. “This provides passengers at Changi Airport with a welcome respite from the hectic hustle and bustle of the airport,” says ledxon CEO Benjamin Garufo, going on to explain that “ledxon’s Linear Flex LED modules are a major component of the overall structure.”
For three and a half years, several parties from diverse fields worked meticulously together to make the concept for this elaborate installation into a reality: Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnald, who contributed the sounds for the work; the Takenaka Corporation construction team; and a number of engineers from MKT AG Olching, an international market leader in kinetic and interactive exhibits and sculptures. The piece is made up of six identical sculptures and extends over a distance of 200 metres, between the publicly accessible areas and the transit zone. The beautiful, sparkling elements, which move in synchronisation, are connected with steel cables to two motors each. A total of 96 specially shaped rings, made of custom extruded aluminium profiles have been incorporated into the installation, each of which measures nearly three metres in diameter and weighs 40 kilogrammes. The music can be heard through multiple speakers at various locations throughout the terminal and can also be accessed on any smartphone via an app.
“You really have to consider the dimensions,” explains Werner Riebesel, an engineer with MKT. “The art installation weighs almost four tonnes and hangs above passengers without any additional security, such as a net. It has taken several years to develop a structure that would meet all of the requirements of the responsible safety authorities.”
The team’s hard work has certainly paid off. Just as in the sky outside, the gleaming Petalclouds are in constant, fluid motion, changing shape continually. Nothing about this process has been left to chance, and even the movement pattern has been carefully choreographed by means of an algorithm. ledxon’s fl exible LED modules serve as a light source. “We got the tip from our electrician Martin Munder,” recalls Riebesel. “He brought a ledxon brochure to us at the very start, and the Linear Flex really caught our eye. After talking to ledxon, and once we had clarifi ed the final details, it all quickly fell into place. After all, we had worked with ledxon many times before, so we were happy to collaborate with them from the outset.”
In Geisenhausen the feeling is mutual: “We have long valued MKT AG as a skilled, reliable partner,” ledxon CEO Benjamin Garufo confirms. “Our Linear Flex was just about perfect for this job. It is a very delicate, self-adhesive LED module that adjusts perfectly to the movements of the installation. The product can change between red, green, blue and white light as required.”
The team team also had to manage some specific technical challenges. “The Petalclouds installation is supplied with power via the wire ropes from which the rings are suspended. The standard Linear Flex needs 24 volts to run, but it is not possible to supply a constant 24 volts via the steel ropes – the voltage varies. That meant we needed to adapt our components to ensure they would light up just as reliably at irregular voltages.”
This was not the only feat the team pulled off in style, either: a customized software framework was specially developed to control the various components of the piece. This is what allows the overall choreography of the lighting, motion and music to unfold in perfect harmony.
Description: Kinetic installation at Changi Airport, Terminal 4
Project type: Lighting installation
Customer: MKT AG Olching
Products: Flexible LED modules (Linear Flex)
The Petalclouds at Singapore Changi Airport form a large-scale kinetic installation that combines light, music and movement into a fascinating work of art.
The self-adhesive LED module from ledxon adapts perfectly to the movements of the installation and allows the desired colour change between red, green, blue and white light.