The Living Lantern, Brisbane – Projects

The Living Lantern,
Brisbane

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The Living Lantern is a bold sculptural statement of hope by NEON and Frankie Boyle Studio in response to COVID-19. The team aimed to create a project that illustrated the responsiveness of humankind and how we are capable of adapting to change and working together when we face new situations. The resultant kinetic / light installation has been designed to be inviting, offering a sense of joy and activating public spaces that have recently been quiet and felt unsafe.

Elliott Wood carried out the structural design of the interlocking CNC-milled plywood frame - our third collaboration with NEON following the Pump House Pavilion and the ECLH Atrium Artwork. As a bespoke, small-scale project, this involved going back to first principles and thinking creatively to ensure the final sculpture worked structurally while retaining its architectural elegance.

On a very tight time scale we worked with the designers, fabricators and suppliers to develop the design, working from NEON’s 3D model in Rhino which fed directly into the CNC manufacture. The use of this manufacturing technique meant that the shape of the structural elements was not restricted, enabling us to develop an efficient bespoke shape for the plywood ring beams, informed by both the structural forces in the elements and the construction sequence.

The end result is a dynamic, wind responsive outer membrane that opens and closes to filter the light from its core. During the day, visitors can experience a version where the artwork’s timber materiality is expressed; when it’s dark, the artwork is activated with light much like a real life lantern.

To minimise the impact of the sculpture, our ballast design ensured that it can sit directly on the ground without the need for embedded foundations, and can be dismantled leaving no trace. The sculpture is fully demountable and can be reused in multiple installations.

The Living Lantern was shown for the first time in Brisbane, Australia as part of the Word Science Festival and Curiocity, a 17-day festival that celebrates science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM). The project’s next stop is Hsinchu city, Taiwan as part of the Taiwan Light Festival and it will then appear at numerous locations worldwide as part of a 5-year global tour.


The Living Lantern, Brisbane
The Living Lantern, Brisbane
The Living Lantern, Brisbane
The Living Lantern, Brisbane
The Living Lantern, Brisbane