Public Art: Light Performances/Exhibitions | Design Commissions and Consultations
Lighting for Events | Theater and Entertainment |
Selected Design Reviews | Awards | References | Press Quotes


Hana Rocek- Manager of Design, Denver International Airport

"Leni Schwendinger performed design and installation work for Deep Time/Deep Space, one of the most successful projects at DIA. The passengers riding the shuttle train are provided with a wonderful visual experience. As Project Manager for the tunnel/train project, I worked with Ms. Schwendinger in coordinating the art, design and installation. The design possibilities were restricted by limited space; the construction time required an ambitious schedule with other competing technical disciplines. In spite of these difficulties, the project highly exceeded our expectations, due largely to the spirit of teamwork and cooperation present throughout the installation."

Christopher Choa- Architect, Haines Lundberg Waehler

"I admire the approach Leni takes with her work, in particular the control and qualification of the urban scale with the most ephemeral interventions. Leni's project, Deep Time/Deep Space: a Subterranean Journey, at the Denver International Airport, is a significant evolution in her design work. It moderates massive civic infrastructure with the suggestive qualities of light and minimalist hardware. Her airport intervention is a thoughtful and unique contribution to the design field."

Steve Izenour - Architect, Venturi Scott Brown Associates

"Leni's projections have the added benefit that--while they decorate and camouflage the industrial objects they fall upon-- they turn these objects into evocative ghost structures. Leni transforms the landscape without physically changing that which cannot or should not be changed." Mark Robbins- Curator of Architecture, Wexner Museum "I met Leni Schwendinger ten years ago at a time when I was a project architect at the firm of Emilio Ambasz and Associates in New York. Leni had been commissioned by the office to create a lighting installation for a temporary pavilion at a fair in Dusseldorf. Leni was given free rein in the interpretation of an appropriate theme and form for this work-- one that would engage a large audience and fit conceptually and physically into the rigorous constraints of the structure under design. She was successful on all these counts. Leni's work has increasingly been involved with the activation of space, an enhanced awareness of the built environment and the ephemeral quality of urban culture."

Ann Liebenstein- Landscape Architect, Project for Public Spaces

"During the design charette, Leni was very creative, persistent and conversant in a wide range of media--which helped facilitate team communication. She was one of the few who had done prior research, and offered a creative-yet-realistic approach to materials, including their relative cost and effect on the human environment. The subway manufacturer mentioned afterwards that the most useful ideas were those pertaining to the creation of a "New York Experience" in the subway. This was the concept that Leni championed and presented."



Light Projects' commissions are extensively profiled in print, and have been covered in the broadcast-news media and documentaries.

About Schwendinger

"For almost twenty years Schwendinger has specialized in bringing her visionary projects to out-of-the-ordinary architectural sites the world over. Her work simultaneously evokes painterly, sculptural and performance art in a genre that she calls "civic theatre" - an eloquent balance of the personal with the monumental."

About the Publicolor event:

"Art dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and her husband, Nick, bravely volunteered their just deconstructed and about to be renovated Upper East Side house to raise money for Publicolor, an organization that brings color to the corridors and classrooms of drab public schools. Following the lead of such artists as Massimo Vignelli and Maira Kalman, guests in Tyvek jumpsuits covered the walls-and themselves-in paint. Leni Schwendinger's construction-light chandeliers were so imaginative that the Rohatyns should think about keeping them forever."

-House and Garden, May 2001
About Water Above Water:
“Water Above Water temporarily transformed the locks and Kelvin Aqueduct into a magical, illuminated landscape. A sea of luminous blue, green, and aquamarine floodlighting dissolved and animated the stern, hand-hewn stone of the aqueduct’s buttresses and arches.”
- Architectural Review, December 1999
About XL:

“A visual delight…[e]specially impressive is a state-of-the-art lighting system that will allow the staff to gradually create different moods as the night progresses.”

- Time Out New York, April 5-12, 2001
About Rock-Island-Link

Providence, 1996

"Designer Leni Schwendinger explores the ideas of motion, transit and light in her public art projects. (For the tunnel in Providence) Schwendinger's large, cartoon-like shimmering sculptures of exploding quarry rocks and exaggerated costume jewels cover the ceiling and one entire wall. As you walk by, the forms tell a story; taking a quick look from your car, they provide a more abstract experience, each glance conditional on that moment's weather, traffic, and perspective. Rock-Island-Link counters chaotic, public space by allowing for private, intimate encounters, transporting the observant commuter on an emotional as well as physical level... the daily commute is itself luminously commuted"

- Metropolis
About Not Dreaming in Public

New York City , 1995

"Using light and the civic realm as her media, the installation artist has found herself again exploring the line between public and private that most of us traverse daily. For Not Dreaming in Public, at the Whitney Museum of Art at Philip Morris, she paired up with sound designer Ben Rubin to probe the nature of the suspended moment between wakefulness and sleep. [The environment] transformed the rigid, granite atrium into what Schwendinger calls a "malleable dreamspace". The only light illuminating the space reflected up from Schwendinger's naif-style projected images - drawings swirling in an arched sequence along the floor - including a complex of abstracted eyes, overlapping railroad tracks, sleeping figures suspended in space and a clock. Rubin's interwoven sounds created a multilayered, sonorous tapestry."

- Metropolis
About Deep Time/Deep Space, a Subterranean Journey

Denver, 1994

"Deep Time/Deep Space, a Subterranean Journey will be experienced by close to ten-million airport travelers annually, and provide them with a physical journey, as well as one of mind and spirit."

- Architectural Lighting
About Urban Heart, A Homebody?

Tokyo, 1993

"Schwendinger's painted images resembled drawings by Akira Kurosawa in their colors and freely expressive style... making equations between the house and the heart and the city...making connections transcendent and sensual, imaginative and concrete."

- Daily Yomiuri Newspaper


National Track & Field Hall of Fame

New York, NY - 2001-2002
Architect - Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership

Queens West, Stage IV

New York, NY - 2001-2003
Landscape Architect - M. Paul Friedberg and Partners


Seattle Opera House, McCaw Hall

Seattle, WA - 2001-2003
Architect - LMN Architects


St. George Station, Intermodal Transportation Terminal

New York, NY - 1999-2001
Architect - Hellmuth Obata + Kassenbaum

Desgrippes Gobe Associates

New York, NY - 2000
The Wedding List, flagship store in Boston

Triple Bridge Gateway, Port Authority Bus Terminal

New York, NY - 1996-2003
Sculpture and lighting enhancements for ramps.
Architect - Pasenella + Klein Stolzman + Berg


Costas Kondylis

New York, NY - 1999
Exterior lighting consultation for several Manhattan buildings

Desgrippes Gobe Associates

New York, NY - 1999
Conceptual lighting design for Reebok stores

300 West 46th Street

New York, NY - 1998
Clinton Housing Development Co./Residence (in progress) Lighting of public spaces - interior and exterior

Children's Museum of Manhattan

New York, NY - 1998-1999
For "Body Odyssey": exhibition lighting and a luminous sculptural element

Armani Exchange A/X

New York, NY - 1997-1998
Lighting design for flagship store.
Architect- United Designers (London)

Internal Revenue Service - Nat'l Headquarters

G S A, New Carrollton, MD -1996 (in progress)
Light-and-sculpture for 500' curved pedestrian bridge.
Architect - Kohn Pedersen Fox

Windows on the World

New York, NY - 1998 (art concept)
Architect- Hardy Holzman Pfeifer

Donna Karan

New York, NY - 1997
Lighting design concept for retail store at Caesar's Forum, Las Vegas NV

Rafael Vinoly Architects

New York, NY -1997
Invited lighting competition for Samsung Megaport in Seoul

Light Options

New York, NY -1997
Lighting and architectural conceptual design for lighting showroom and offices

Air Canada Centre "The Theatre of Sport and Entertainment"

Toronto, Ontario Canada -1996
Architect - Brisbin Beynon Brook

Joop! Jeans Magic - Men's Apparel Show

Las Vegas, NV - 1996
Design of exhibition trade show booth: architecture and lighting

Rhode Island Convention Center, City of Providence

Providence, RI - 1995/96
Light/sculpture environment for 500' overpass tunnel

Denver International Airport, City of Denver

Denver, CO - 1994
Light/sculpture environment for mile-long shuttle train tunnel


New York, NY - 1986-91
Lighting design: offices and showrooms, projections on translucent glass walls, open work areas.

Caltrans and Los Angeles County Transportation Commission

Los Angeles, CA - 1990
Program planning for public art in light-rail and express-bus stations

California Museum of Science and Industry

Los Angeles, CA - 1990
Exhibition lighting concepts: Our Urban Environment

Sounds of Brazil

New York, NY -1985
Architect - Bogdanow and Associates

Emilio Ambasz, Architect

Dusseldorf, Germany - 1986
Sculptural Light Installation for the International Printing Fair



Anchorage Museum of History and Art

Anchorage, AK - 1999
Vanishing Garden
Projected landscape into snowy Performing Arts Center courtyard

Storefront for Art and Architecture

New York, NY - 1999
Exhibition, Hell's Kitchen: Developing Strategies

Independent Public Art, Glasgow 1999, British Waterways

Glasgow, Scotland - 1999
Water Above Water, a Sublime Floating Landscape
Canal & aqueduct illumination

Whitney Museum of American Art (at Philip Morris)

New York City, NY - 1995
Collaboration with Ben Rubin
"Not Dreaming in Public", Light/sound installation

Axis Gallery: - Earth Paper Exhibition

Tokyo, JA - 1995
Custom silk-screened lanterns


Brooklyn Academy of Music

New York City, NY - 1993
"Public Dramas/Passionate Correspondents" Projections onto landmark General Post Office in Manhattan


OPEN HOUSE, Art and Life

Ushida/Findlay Architects
Tokyo, JA - 1993
"The Urban Heart, A Homebody?" Projections onto curved concrete house


Metropolitan State College of Denver Gallery

Denver, CO - 1993
"Public Art for the 21st Century" Exhibition of preparatory works for the Denver International Airport


Institute of Contemporary Art

Philadelphia, PA - 1990
"Ephemeral Building-Building Art" Light and suspended-sculpture installation (200' projections)


Creative Time CityWide

New York City, NY -1989
"Holland Tunnel Drive-In Billboard" Site specific, 80' projection onto a billboard at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel

Art Awareness Gallery

Lexington, NY - 1988
"Civilized Life" Architectural/art exhibition


Fairmount Park Art Association

Philadelphia, PA -1987/88
Light Up Philadelphia Study, three-mile public art proposal to light the highway oil refineries


Alternative Museum - Luminosity Exhibition

New York City, NY - 1986
"Unchartable Regions; a Light and Sand Sculpture"


Limelight - Urban Light Exhibition

New York City, NY - 1985 "Tower of Alpha Babble" Site-specific light/sound installation


Publicolor “Stir Splatter and Roll”
New York City, 2001
Fundraising event: custom chandeliers

Orensanz Center for the Arts
New York City, 2000
Private wedding reception: light sculpture and custom lanterns

Mars 2112
New York City, NY - 1999
Star Wars premiere party
Visual design: lighting, scenic design, and centerpiece fabrications

Webster Hall
New York City, NY - 1997
American Institute for Graphic Arts annual event
Projection and lighting environment

Museum of Modern Art
New York City, NY - 1995
Visual design based on Mondrian exhibition: lighting of panels and decor, custom lantern design

USS Intrepid (Battleship Museum)
New York City, NY - 1995
Entertainment backdrop projections and light-centerpieces for Commander's Ball

Takashimaya Department Store
New York City, NY - 1994
American Society of Interior Designers' Gala
Lighting design and projection

First Night, Inc.
Boston, MA -1991
Collaboration with sculptor George Greenamyer
Frozen Shadows, an Ice and Light Installation
Shadow casting onto 125' x 12' ice blocks

Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York City, NY - 1989
Council of Fashion Design Awards event (1984-1989)

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Blumenthal Patio
New York City, NY - 1987
Moonlight at the Alhambra
Lighting for Oscar de la Renta special event

International Business Design Awards - Navy Pier
Chicago, ILL - 1987
Lighting and projection for entertainment stage



Anne Bowen Fashion Show
Grand Central Terminal, NYC - 1999
Lighting design

Microsoft Interactive Video
Personal Trainer - 1995
Lighting and projection design for pilot project

Hudson Guild Theatre, New York City - 1994
Rare Times Altogether, an original play about James Joyce
Visual design: scenic, lighting and projections

Urban Bush Women dance performances
Heat, Spoleto Festival, Charleston, NC - 1988-91
Praise House, national and international tour including New York and Montpelier, France
Visual design: scenic, lighting and projections

Children's Television Workshop Series
Ghostwriter - 1990
Participated in initial brainstorming sessions for series

Sandra Bernhard,
Without You I'm Nothing
Orpheum Theatre, NYC - 1988
Visual design: scenic, lighting and projections

Tri Star Pictures feature
The Squeeze - 1986
Projected effects: large-scale club scene

Warner Bros Pictures/Laurie Anderson feature
Home of the Brave - 1985
Lighting concepts

HBO-TV Special
Emo Philips - 1985
Lighting and projection design

Promenade Theatre, NYC - 1985
Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard
Projection design

Laurie Anderson
Mr. Heartbreak International Tour - 1984
Lighting design


  • New York Foundation for the Arts: Fellowship - 2001
  • Illuminating Engineering Society Lumen 2000 Award of Merit: Civic Service and Education
  • Glasgow 1999: UK City of Architecture and Design - Project Support -1999
  • Society for Environmental Graphic Design: Honor Award - 1997
  • International Association of Lighting Designers' Award Citation for Excellence - 1996
  • Arts International: Travel Grant - 1993
  • National Endowment for the Arts: Japan Residency - 1991
  • California Arts Council: Express Bus Art Plan - 1991
  • Japan - U.S. Friendship Commission: Project Support - 1991
  • California Arts Council: Light Rail Art Plan Team - 1990
  • Andy Warhol Foundation: Grant Visual Arts/Theatre Collaboration - 1990
  • Art Matters: Project Grant - 1989
  • N.Y.C. Dept. of Economic Opportunity: Business Mentorship Program - 1989
  • National Endowment for the Arts: Art in Public Places Grant - 1988
  • New York State Council on the Arts: Visual Art/Dance Collaboration - 1988
  • McDowell Colony: Residency - 1988


  • Licht & Architekur (Lighting journal, Germany) 1997, 2000
  • Architectural Review (Architectural journal, Great Britain) 1999
  • How Design Magazine 1997
  • Visual Merchandising and Store Display 1994, 1997
  • Architectural Lighting 1985, 1990, 1994, 1995
  • Lighting Dimensions 1990-1995
  • Metropolis 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2000
  • Public Art Review 1994, 1995, 1996
  • Kenchiku Bunka (Architectural journal, Japan) 1993
  • New York Times 1993
  • Lighting Design & Application 1989
  • ArtNews 1989
  • The New Yorker 1989
  • Philadelphia Inquirer 1988

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