December 17, 2010


Simon Heijdens creates light installations that try to introduce nature’s timeline into artificial spaces. His mission is to make people more aware of natural processes within an urban environment.

Simon Heijdens: This started with a commission to do a light project for the city of Einhoven. More often than not, the décor in human spaces is pretty static and 24-hour lighting can exclude a sense of connection with the natural day. So my idea was to create a site-responsive light installation that had a variable character directly linked to the leftovers of the natural world.

Tree starts at sunset: a tree seems to grow on to the façade of building as a projection of white light some eight metres high. It’s essentially a drawing built up of hundreds of graphic elements reacting to a wind sensor put on top of the building that’s being used as a backdrop for the projection. It recreates the exact motion of a real tree if it were to stand in that exact location. The tree changes throughout the hours and the days and seasons. One day it might be static, but on a windy day the branches will be bending and swaying.

Each time a person passes the tree, a leaf might fall. It’s then projected onto the ground nearby the tree. At busy times there will be a high rate of leaf-fall, effectively tracing an image of how the city is being used. The projected leaves are sensitive to human movement, so, as you walk through them, they slowly flutter around your feet, like you’re kicking through a pile of leaves. Sometimes they accumulate in alleyways and, because they leaves are made of light, the more that fall, the more the dark alleyway is illuminated.

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