The UK played host to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 13 November 2021. With the world’s focus on COP26 and a prime opportunity to raise awareness of sustainability issues, Zurich Insurance Company Ltd commissioned a thought-provoking installation at the conference which was placed at the heart of the event.

As designers who consciously consider the impact of their work, award-winning Michael Grubb Studio, was delighted to work with Zurich Insurance Company Ltd to deliver the lighting scheme for its recent commission to pledge for climate action. Together with the fantastic team at m ss ng p eces, a thought-provoking installation was created to inspire individuals at COP26 to come together in harmony and take action for our planet.

As a sign of optimism and hope, the installation is candidly named ‘What can go right?’. While some often worry about what can go wrong, Zurich now ask the important question ‘what can go right?’ when we all come together to take action for the planet.

Zurich’s attention-grabbing statue at COP26 symbolises a visual language of support. Each figure in the installation represents people from around the world coming together by joining elbows. The installation raises awareness of the fight on climate change; one that everyone can join, whether they take big or small actions. An opening within the circle of figures leaves a deliberate space for visitors to stand within and make their pledge for climate change. When an individual takes that step, the statue is illuminated, bringing it to life, and shining a light on the pledge.

For the lighting design concept, Michael Grubb Studio – an accomplished leading lighting design practice with an international portfolio specialising in bespoke, interior, and exterior lighting designs, lighting strategies and masterplans, across multiple sectors – developed a sustainable and innovative lighting design solution for the installation. This involved the delivery of a zero-carbon immersive experience in collaboration with leading lighting manufacturers, Stoane Lighting.

Sustainability is at the very heart of Michael Grubb Studio, which strives to consider its carbon footprint in all design work. Throughout the project, Michael Grubb Studio re-used products, such as Xicato modules, that have previously been destined for waste. For the Zurich project in particular, Michael Grubb Studio was proud to achieve a zero-carbon immersive experience.

The interactive nature of this design has been thoughtfully considered to encourage visitors to immerse themselves in the installation and ask themselves the important question of ‘what can go right?’ We all have a role to play to reduce emissions and help the planet by changing our behaviours – from what to eat and wear, to how we travel and heat our homes. And we can put pressure on businesses and government by what we buy, lobbying politicians, and how we vote.


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