Winter Lights Festival: People to People Through Light

World Trade Center Plaza, Portland, Oregon

How can we build an interactive, multi-faceted experience through light to strengthen community ties?

Winter Lights Festival: People to People Through Light. Aerial vew of multi-colored interactive light display topped with fanned out wooden beams. Image shows people moving in and through the structure.

Inspired by light festivals around the globe, the Portland Winter Light Festival aims to counteract the city’s tendency to hibernate during the winter by brightening the winter skyline and bringing warmth to the outdoors with dazzling displays of light, color, and imagination. In collaboration, FFA Architecture and Interiors, Luma Lighting Design, and Walker Macy designed a structure that connects “people to people through light.”

In our primitive days, we relied upon light from the sun and the moon to tell us when to rise from sleep, harvest food, and to seek shelter. When light was harnessed in the form of fire, we no longer had to rely upon the sun and moon for protection. Light provided a sense of safety and reinforced our values of community. As technology advances, the way we interact with light changes. Screens are demanding more of our attention; and while these advances in technology have helped put us in contact with people around the globe, our sense of community is disappearing. It is time for light once again to bring us together. People to People through light is an interactive experience where participants not only connect individually with light, but build the experience together. Progression from cool to warm light creates a layered experience that is revealed through participation.

Year Completed:
Project Contact:
Edward Running, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Partner, Market Lead
Early Concept Sketch
3D Modeling

Early Concept Diagrams
Rotating panels provide a layered viewing experience.
People interact together in the light-filled exhibition.