Light Projects' evolving mission to create wondrous spaces continues. In 2006 we are focusing on light, space and time to develop innovative "chromatic spatio-temporal environments".

This newsletter is the second of several communications focusing on installations of multiple scales, lectures, and exhibitions for which color is an expressive language.

Join Light Projects for Coney Island Parachute Jump July 7 Event, link below!

Coney Island Parachute Jump Illumination
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Thirty-seven years have passed since the closing of Coney Island’s world-renowned Parachute Jump ride. Since then, darkness of night has rendered the tower nearly invisible. Starting in July 2006 the two-hundred-sixty-foot illuminated structure will shatter the starry sky accompanied by waves pounding against its surfside site! This artist-programmed “skin” of colored-light transforms the filigreed steel Parachute Jump framework - a shimmering omni-directional icon for Coney Island and all of Brooklyn.

The 170-ton Parachute Jump tower was constructed for the 1939 New York World’s Fair as an amusement ride, modeled after paratrooper training towers. In 1941, the Jump was relocated to Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park with a half-million riders a year. In 1969, after the Park’s sale to the late developer Fred Trump, the Jump was closed permanently, and abandoned. In 1988 the tower was officially landmarked. In 2000, the City’s Economic Development Corporation assumed responsibility and engaged the STV engineering firm to rehabilitate the structure, abate the lead paint and restore the landmark red and yellow colors.

Following structural refurbishment, the lighting project began in 2005...
Objectives were established during a design process with the stakeholders group that included New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation (its owner), Brooklyn Borough President’s office (its funder) and New York City Economic Development Corporation as the coordinating agency. Collaboratively this process aspired to create an illumination would to serve as an internationally recognized beacon for a revitalized Coney Island. Its landmark colors were to be enhanced and echoed during the evening and night -- and choreographed lighting sequences would imply motion expressing the rise, fall and floating of parachutes specifically and Coney’s tradition of the whimsical, unique and unusual in general.

Light...Time...Movement...Urban Icon
The malleable forms of light, time and color are the media with which Leni's artform is constructed. For the Jump, episodic rhythms, affectionately named during long nights of electronic programming, include “Cha-Cha-Cha”, “Ghost Chasing Its Tail”, among others, are woven into scenarios which perform nightly during the entire year. Programs were sketched and based on music composition language such as stanzas which include glissando, pizzicato, legato rhythms, among others, and utilizing automated color-changing floodlights and LED sparkles as “instruments”.

The vernacular surroundings of the Coney Island boardwalk and its engineered steel icon contrasts with tomorrow’s development - sophisticated and sleek - typified by the modern Stillwater Avenue, IND subway station. The influences and desires of artist, audience and stakeholders exert a powerful dynamic tension within which public artwork is developed. As the artist, Leni envisioned a meeting of the popular and the mysterious emanating from the semi-solid figure of the mushroom-shaped tower. Illuminated iconic models ranged all the way from the Eiffel Tower, recently re-lighted, to the Empire State Building which demarcates public celebrations and occasions as well as dividing urban day from night.

An innovative fixture was designed to satisfy the client’s desire for an icon that would be seen from multiple vantage points including the Verrazano Bridge. An on-site mock-up was orchestrated to design a light-emitting diode (LED) fixture pointing in several directions. Called The Trident, in honor of the Coney beachfront, the fixture is composed of a calibrated set of three one-watt red diodes, applied to the tower’s “stalk” and canopy in a regular pattern.

Six discrete scenarios mark notable days of the of the year...
...such as the Coney boardwalk season, the full moon and holidays - with visual chimes to announce the hour, on the hour. The light performances start one-half hour before sunset and go dark at midnight, except during fall and winter...and the bird migratory season, when the lights are programmed to turn off at 11:00 pm, as a part of the “Lights Out New York” initiative.

Depending on the date, every night of the year, a blossom of light - animated, joyous, mysterious, and colorful - is viewed from ocean, highway, boardwalk and neighborhoods all around New York City. Link to a description of the six scenarios

Team Credits

Owner: New York City Parks and Recreation (Project managed by NYC Economic Development Corporation and funded by Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz)

Light Projects Team: Leni Schwendinger, Stephen Bickford, Courtney Hewitt, Charles Cameron, Mark Simpson
Master Programmer: Paul Hudson
Rehearsal Programmer: Alex Fogel

Engineers: STV
Consultant: Ron Fogel and Associates
Equipment: Electronic Theater Controls, Martin Professional, Phoster Lighting
Contractors: Turner Construction, Linco Electrical, CAN Resources, 4 Wall Entertainment Lighting

And join us also for our ongoing celebration of urban art sited throughout cities
Leni Schwendinger Light Projects has honed artistry, craft and technology over the past decade into a singular “product” recognized throughout the world of lighting, architecture, engineering and public works.

Through highly competitive processes Light Projects wins commissions that fit our unique profile--developed for clients who share our passion for light and its effect. These are projects that require innovative solutions for highly visible “destination” sites such as the McCaw Hall performing arts center, at Seattle Center, and the landmarked Coney Island Parachute Jump. We welcome any challenge seeking to implement and integrate materials, structure and light.

Two projects in this category have recently been awarded to Light Projects.

  • Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden, for which we are mandated to create a versatile, context-sensitive lighting system for eleven Victorian glass houses.
  • St. Louis Arch Grounds, for which we are creating a span of light that will connect the Saarinen/Kiley -designed site to the city and complete the original design vision.

We invite you to join us for an upcoming opportunity to hear Leni speak!
Color and Light: Humanizing the Urban Nighttime Environment
Illuminating Engineering Society--October 9 2006 in Tampa, Florida

Leni will discuss how the colored light “trend” is on the rise. As manufacturers lead the way by refining technologies and ease of use, by what measure can designers, agencies and owners rate the applicability of colored light? This seminar proposes a creative nighttime vision, covering a range of public projects.

... In New York City
Light Projects Employment Opportunties
We are seeking bright, creative, articulate designers and artists to join our staff. Light Projects has openings for lighting designers and an artist assistant.

We invite you to visit our light filled Hell's Kitchen loft studio. Please call Welfe Sullano, office manager/marketing coordinator for an afternoon date.

phone: 212-947-6282

Thank you for being a part of Light Projects' luminous world!

Copyright 2006 Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LTD

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Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LTD. | 336 West 37th Street | Studio 1410 | New York | NY | 10018