American artist Phillip K Smith III has installed colored LED lights along a skybridge in Detroit, built in 1976 by architect Gino Rossetti, which becomes a floating bar of light hovering over the streets of Downtown Detroit at night. The 100-foot long 16th-floor skybridge connects two of Detroit’s most iconic buildings, One Woodward and the Guardian Building.
Inspired by the modular white concrete of Yamasaki’s 1962 skyscraper and the mosaic of color within the 1929 Guardian Building, Smith has created a unique color program for this significantly scaled project. Composed of shifting gradients and moving planes of light, this precisely paced installation will merge art with architecture at the scale of the city.
“This project presents an entirely unique art experience outside of the traditional bounds of the museum or gallery, positioning itself within the public realm for all to experience freely. By day, the Skybridge will continue to be seen as its historical self within the architecture and massing of Downtown. But by night, it will become a beacon for the beauty, creativity, and innovation of Detroit,” says Smith. “I am interested in creating experiences that tap into ‘universal beauty’ — experiences that make us step away from our pattern, our life, our work, our errands, and allow us to see sublime beauty shifting and changing before our eyes.”
The Detroit Skybridge is one of his latest projects designed for an urban site, although earlier this year he placed a curved mirror wall inside a historic Milanese palazzo during the Milanese design week as part of a commission from clothing brand COS.