Crossing Signal Mosaic

photo of Crossing Signal Mosaic installation
Parc on Powell, 1333 Powell Street, Emeryville, CA. Plays sunset to 2 AM daily. © Therese Lahaie

Crossing Signal Mosaic: Recipient of LuciteLux® 2015 Just Imagine Awards

“Crossing Signal Mosaic”, a light sculpture installation in Emeryville, is the winner of the third annual LuciteLux® JUST IMAGINE Awards. Part of the City of Emeryville Art in Public Places Program, “Crossing Signal Mosaic” by artist Therese Lahaie integrates LuciteLux® along with programmed LED technology.

Lahaie completed the project in 2015 at Parc on Powell Apartments. In a competitive housing market, developer Equity Residential wanted a dynamic work of art that would infuse life into its building and attract young renters. The City of Emeryville Art in Public Places Committee sought an installation that would combine art and technology to reflect a focus on neighboring businesses and companies. In “Crossing Signal Mosaic” each request was met with a light-based installation.


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Overview

“Crossing Signal Mosaic” is a ceiling mounted light sculpture composed of programmed, DMX-controlled LED boxes that play a pulsing array of pedestrian crossing signal imagery. The piece, which can be viewed from sunset to 2 AM, is in conversation with the rhythms of the adjacent busy intersection. Dimensions: 28’L x 8’W x 5’D.

Crossing Signal Mosaic Public Art Installation – 1333 Powell Street, Emeryville, CA.


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Cross Sections

cross section of Crossing Signal Mosaic


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Content Development

My photographic and video research took place at different times of day and night time hours. Over the months the most compelling images involved the saturated colors and the rhythms of the pedestrian crossing signals during nighttime hours. The luminous colors reminded me of stained glass windows at my college chapel and the solace I felt with the experience of transmitted light through glass.

In this video mosaic of crossing signal symbol samples, the speed of the actual symbols is slowed down 60% to reveal a more detailed view of the shifting play of color and light. The intrinsic beauty of these mundane signals captivated me while videotaping the activity at a busy intersection. The video was the part of of my research for an art in public places project in Emeryville, CA.


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Design Development


My challenge was how to design a light sculpture that was in conversation with the architecture of the building and also with the adjacent busy intersection at Powell and Hollis Streets in Emeryville, California. I wanted to transform the familiar iconography of the crossing signals that govern our everyday movement into something fantastic.

Working closely with Kava Massih Architects, a ceiling mounted installation at the grand entryway was chosen.

The mosaic pattern relates to the rectangular shapes of the building façade and balconies. The sculpture is mounted on the ceiling of the entryway where it is protected from the elements while also serving as a light environment that invites people into the building. The light sculpture also transforms the space into a dramatic runway into the city of Emeryville for the young renters who make the building their home.


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Dotted Man Mockup

What happens when your local crossing signals turn into super hero’s? This is a mock up of 1 of 29 boxes making up a mosaic of electronic signage boxes playing pedestrian crossing signals. In this public art work we are working with programming our dotted man to wave – triggering a symphony of other activities in what now looks like an electronic cartoon strip. We will be posting more video’s as our testing of each box imagery continues.

Parkside Archstone Public Art Project – Emeryville, CA, 2014
Mock Up Box #1: 65″ h x 51″ w x 6″ d, one of 29 boxes that make up the Crossing Signal Mosaic.
Mock up of LED programming for dotted man.
Steel, LEDs, Acrylic


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Credits

Studio Assistant/Photographer: Marnika Shelton
Architectural Photographer: Kevin Berne
Event Photographer: Georgia K. Smith
Developer: Equity Residential
Architect: Kava Massih Architects
Fabricator: SignEffectz/AFX
Project Manager: artifacts
Composer/ Programing: Laurie Polster
Videography and Editing: Hanh Nguyen
Assistant Camera Operator: Joe Carlig


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Mockup Video

This imagery in “Crossing Signal Mosaic,” samples the icons that govern our movement, like crossing signals, and slows them down so we can notice the shifting play of color and light. This is a video of the placement of the crossing signal ” characters” in the electronic cabinets.


Crossing Signal Mosaic: Archives


• December 8, 2015

Comments are closed.