Daan Roosegaarde's 'SPARK' proposes a sustainable alternative to celebration

The Dutch artist’s latest work from Bilbao reveals a dreamscape of countless biodegradable light sparks mimicking a sky stirred by fireflies.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Jan 27, 2022

Did you know that from an early age Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde has been fascinated by fireflies and jellyfishes? The simple pleasure of seeing them sprinkle magic, the dreamscape of these creatures later became a springboard of ideas for him. In line with his quest to create artworks and design that improve daily life in urban environments, spark imagination, and attempt to fight the climate crisis, a new work by Roosegaarde proposes a planet-friendly alternative to our idea of celebration. SPARK is a light installation by the Netherlands-based social design lab Studio Roosegaarde, which attempts "to transform traditional and polluting methods of celebration such as fireworks, balloons, drones and confetti, into a new sustainable celebration". Launched ahead of the Chinese New Year, the light art installation will be presented at The Wellbeing Summit for Social Change to be hosted in Bilbao – Biscay, Spain, from June 01 – 03, 2022.

SPARK by Studio Roosegarde enquires how we could celebrate sustainably | SPARK | Studio Roosegaarde | STIRworld
SPARK by Studio Roosegarde enquires how we could celebrate sustainably Image: Roberto Conte

Studio Roosegaarde's remarkable oeuvre presents various experimental light-based installations that range from urban scale initiatives to art and culture-led works. Some of these works, which were previously featured on STIR include Urban Sun - an artificial light installation that could disinfect public spaces and help prevent the spread of coronavirus; Grow - light recipes for growing plants more sustainably; Levenslicht - a memorial made of 1,04,000 blue rocks commemorating the lives of Dutch victims of the Holocaust ; and Presence - an exhibition conjured as a neon, multi-sensorial dreamscape. With SPARK, the design lab rethinks traditions that bind communities together and proposes a desire to upgrade the culturally ingrained ritual of fireworks.

SPARK Bilbao reveals colourful organic fireworks floating in the air | SPARK | Studio Roosegaarde | STIRworld
SPARK Bilbao reveals colourful organic fireworks floating in the air Image: Roberto Conte

In a video that explained the idea behind SPARK, where Daan Roosegaarde takes us through its physical manifestation in Bilbao’s central park, thousands of mystical light sparks can be seen floating in the air. The movement of the biodegradable light particles is driven by the natural speed of the wind. Constituting a 50 x 30 x 50 metres cloud, the ethereal installation, as per Studio Roosegarde, looks as if a sky is stirred by magical fireflies, flocks of birds, or a galaxy of stars.

The installation features biodegradable light particles | SPARK | Studio Roosegaarde | STIRworld
The installation features biodegradable light particles Image: Roberto Conte

"SPARK Bilbao invites everyone to become part of the journey to an environmentally-friendly future. With SPARK, the interconnectedness between humans and nature is celebrated, and traditions can be maintained in a new way. Moreover, it is a sustainable alternative for community events that want to promote reflection and celebration, such as the Olympics, the Fourth of July, New Year's Eve or other communal celebrations,” mentions Studio Roosegarde in an official press release.

SPARK attempts to transform traditional and polluting methods of celebration such as fireworks | SPARK | Studio Roosegaarde | STIRworld
SPARK attempts to transform traditional and polluting methods of celebration such as fireworks Image: Roberto Conte

Putting spotlight on the driving idea behind the work, Daan Roosegarde adds, "For many people, the current situation feels restrictive, and traditional fireworks are getting prohibited everywhere. SPARK Bilbao is a place of wonder which triggers reflection and shows a new sustainable alternative of celebrating together." The poetic performance and landscape installation is the result of a collaboration between Studio Roosegaarde, Dutch art museum Draiflessen Collection, and The Wellbeing Summit.

The silent installation piques curiosity and a sense of wonder | SPARK | Studio Roosegaarde | STIRworld
The silent installation piques curiosity and a sense of wonder Image: Roberto Conte

Read our interview with the Dutch artist here to know his thoughts on what designers and creators of today should be mindful of, and to discover more of his immersive art works, click here.

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