At the Venice Biennale 2016 climate engineering firm Transsolar and German architect Anja Thierfelder have created an immersive installation that floods the Arsenale with visibile rays of light.

The idea for this light-choreography arose out of the cooperation between Thierfelder and Transsolar, between architectural aesthetic and technical art. In order to make the light beams visible, one must have the knowledge and skill to manipulate a room’s thermodynamic conditions. Only a particular configuration of humidity, temperature, stratification and air movement in the room can bring Lightscapes to life and make a rain of light for the visitors’ enjoyment.


Like many other Transsolar projects, they drew on prototype testing and years of experience to ensure success of the installation. One of the technologies employed for the display is a high-pressure nozzle system which supplies the room with the required humidity. The usual source of crepuscular rays is sunlight, but none enters the room. There were neither existing skylights nor could skylights be added (due to the protected status of the heritage building). Therefore light beams from twenty spotlights extend diagonally across the dark room, and enter a dialogue with the symmetry and rhythm of the room’s columns.


The light beams are static however different impressions are offered depending on one’s location. When one enters the room, one sees shafts of light that appear to radiate and expand from a single point. As one walks to the side, one will notice that the light beams are actually parallel to each other. With her deft artistic sense, Thierfelder conjures a magical setting. By defining the position, direction, brightness and spread of the light beams, she transforms the space into a dramatic play between light and darkness.

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all images courtesy of Transsolar + Anja Thierfelder