Light Playground is an immersive installation which visualises a child’s imagination through light, taking inspiration from childhood toys: kaleidoscope and wind-spinner. Commissioned by National Heritage Board and Design Singapore Council, it aims to enhance the Bras Basah Bugis arts and heritage district.

Focusing on Queen Street, the installation touches the past, present, and future of the area. The street was once home to seven schools, where the concept of the installation begins as it intends to relive the child-like nostalgia of the precinct. Situated in the covered walkway of the present National Design Centre, once a Catholic school, it transforms a mundane pedestrian walk, to a fun “recess” time which allows pedestrians to pause, wonder, play, and fully experience the architecture. The craftmanship of the installation emphasise the importance of creative industry for the future, where the installation debuted at Singapore Design Week.

The installation’s main effect is achieved through the design of customised pendants. Each pendant comprises of 126 acrylic leaves of varying sizes, laminated with dichroic film. They are attached to a thin steel rod which are then hand assembled on site to a perforated central rod creating the flower-like pendant. The pendants are hung on a motor above the covered walkway.

In the daytime, the leaves appear light and ethereal, only showing colour when viewed from certain angles while being transparent in others. The thin steel rod allows the leaves to sway with the wind adding to the playful nature of the object. At night, spotlights shine on the pendant which creates colourful reflections on the surfaces of the walkway. The installation takes advantage of the narrow 2-metre-wide and high ceiling covered walkway to exaggerate the effect. Visitors are immersed in a kaleidoscope of colour. The slow turning movement from the motor also makes the reflection dynamic.

There are five pendants which align with the centre of each arch on the building creating integration with the façade, bringing playfulness to the formal architecture. The pendants are hung at a height where the whole height of the pendant is under the frame of the arch with enough clearance for pedestrians to walk underneath them.

Designed by Nipek, this installation is made possible through the craftmanship of Daiko which manufactured the leaves and central rod, as well as providing the spotlights. The construction of the temporary structure and installation of pendants are carried out by Krislite.