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Pop-up zoo of inflatable animals, eco village and more at i Light Marina Bay

Apart from 20 art installations, i Light Marina Bay will feature three themed hubs, giving the festival a carnival-like air

Tonight, the skyline above the Marina Bay waterfront promenade will be lit up by the stunning Northern Lights, a welcome addition to the beautiful sunlight and cloud formations Singapore has been seeing.

This version of the aurora borealis is a light-art installation inspired by the natural phenomenon - 100 vertically positioned light lines suspended between 6m and 12m above ground will emit green and blue hues as they sway delicately in the wind.

The entrancing piece by Swedish artist Aleksandra Stratimirovic is one of the 20 light-art installations at this year's i Light Marina Bay.

The fifth annual sustainable light- art festival, which will run from tonight until March 26, is presented by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and will take place around the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.

Light & Nature is the theme of the works by Singaporean and international artists, who created the pieces with energy-saving lighting or environment-friendly material.

Stratimirovic, 49, says Singapore is the "perfect setting to stage a bit of the Northern sky".

"Characterised by advanced architecture and high-tech ambience in a hot and humid equatorial climate, Singapore is just so completely the opposite of the Nordic environment," she says.

  • VIEW IT / I LIGHT MARINA BAY

  • WHERE: Around the Marina Bay waterfront promenade

    WHEN: Tonight to March 26, 7.30 to 11pm, till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.ilightmarinabay.sg

Her work was showcased at the Amsterdam Light Festival in 2015.

Many of the other artworks are based on flora and fauna.

They include Boston-based architects Jin Choi and Thomas Shine's sea urchin-like domes with intricate lace-like patterns, which were hand-crocheted using white nylon cords that glow in the dark; and local artist Lee Yun Qin's MoonFlower, which was inspired by her childhood memories of playing in her mother's flower shop. Lee, 36, has created 800 flowers made of plastic netting, each lit with a solar-powered LED bulb.

The flowers glow a calming blue come nighttime and festivalgoers can adopt a flower for $5 each after the event.

This year's festival has fewer installations compared with last year's - which featured 25 - but it has a carnival-esque vibe, with the introduction of three new themed hubs: Art-Zoo at The Float @ Marina Bay, an inflatable playground meets zoo; The Fantastical World of eco.me at The Promontory, which promotes sustainable living; and GastroBeats at the Bayfront Event Space, which will have food stalls, music performances and silent disco parties.

Mr Jason Chen, festival director and director of place management at the URA, says there is a "stronger emphasis on interactivity" in this edition with the festival hubs.


The Fantastical World of eco.me

Be inspired to adopt a sustainable lifestyle after visiting The Fantastical World of eco.me, a festival village at i Light Marina Bay this year, which is packed with activities that spread the green message.

One highlight is four dance performances inspired by four light-art installations at the festival.

Each dance is choreographed by an artist aged between 15 and 21, from the performing arts training centre 10 Square, and will incorporate elements of nature - fire, water, wind and earth.

Polytechnic student K. Sharanmegha, 21, was "completely taken" by British artist Luke Jerram's light artwork Ocean Pavilion, which is made of repurposed plastic bottles.

  • VIEW IT / THE FANTASTICAL WORLD OF ECO.ME

  • WHERE: The Promontory @ Marina Bay, 11 Marina Boulevard

    WHEN: Today to Sunday and next Thursday to Sunday, 6 to 10.30pm

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: eco-me.sg

In her dance, Opposites, she explores the idea of opposites pitting two dancers against each other.

The performances will take place once a night at the site of each respective light-art installation.

The village is organised by non-profit arts and culture organisation The Rice Company Limited and cultural and creative enterprise Global Cultural Alliance.

It will have a marketplace, with eco-friendly and repurposed items on sale.

Visitors can also sign up for upcycling workshops and go to OCBC Urban Garden, where urban farming will be introduced.


GastroBeats

As part of i Light Marina Bay, Marina Bay City Gallery in Marina Boulevard will transform into the Silent Disco Nightclub and Arts Space, the biggest silent disco event in Singapore to date.

In addition to the silent disco concept - dancing to club music played through the headphones - the organiser, Silent Disco Asia, will introduce two new versions at the festival.

  • BOOK IT / SILENT DISCO NIGHTCLUB AND ARTS SPACE @ I LIGHT MARINA BAY

  • WHERE: Marina Bay City Gallery

    WHEN: Silent Disco: From 9pm tonight, and 8pm this weekend, March 10 to 12, 17 to 19 and 24 to 26

    Silent Disco Kids Edition: This weekend, March 10 to 12, 18 to 19 and 25 to 26, 3.30 to 5.30pm

    Silent Yoga: Every weekend till March 26, 1 to 3pm or 4.30 to 6.30pm

    ADMISSION: $20 (early-bird price for first 100 tickets) or $25 for Silent Disco (ticket includes one drink); $12 a person or $40 for a family pack of four for Silent Disco Kids Edition; $30 (early bird) or $38 for Silent Yoga (participants to bring their own mats, towels and water)

    INFO: Book tickets at ptix.co/silentdiscoasia

  • VIEW IT / GASTROBEATS

  • WHERE: Bayfront Event Space

    WHEN: Daily till March 26, 5 to 11pm from Sundays to Thursdays, and 4pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.ilightmarinabay.sg/Discover/Programmes/ GastroBeats

Silent Disco Kids Edition, a daytime shindig designed for children aged three to 16, features music more suited for younger ears, such as classic Disney ditties and bubblegum pop.

In the other new concept, Silent Yoga, participants wear noisecancelling wireless headphones to listen to an instructor guide them through their paces.

The Silent Disco Nightclub is part of GastroBeats, one of the three festival hubs at i Light Marina Bay.

GastroBeats is where visitors can grab a bite from about 40 food vendors, watch music performances and play old-school carnival games.


Art-Zoo

A new zoo has popped up in town and the animals in it are not caged.

Visitors to Art-Zoo, at The Float @ Marina Bay, can walk through the belly of a whale, get lost in a giraffe-themed maze and monkey around on a spider's web.

There are about 35 types of fauna and flora in the form of cartoon-like inflatable art installations, which are divided into 11 zones such as Antarctica, home to penguins and reindeer, and the Swamps, where frogs and hippopotamuses lurk.

The inflatables range in size from 3.3m-tall kangaroos to a 25m-wide giraffe-themed maze, where the animal's neck is 15.5m long.

  • BOOK IT / ART-ZOO WHERE: The Float @ Marina Bay

  • WHEN: Today till March 26, 5 to 11pm on weekdays and 2 to 11pm on weekends

    ADMISSION: $15 a person and $50 (online) or $54 (on site) for a group of four. Free entry for up to two children aged under two with each paying adult

    INFO: www.artzoo.sg

Art-Zoo, one of three festival hubs at this year's i Light Marina Bay, is the brainchild of Mr Jackson Tan, creative director of homegrown multi-disciplinary creative agency Black.

His inspiration is his childhood memories of visiting places such as the zoo and animal-themed playgrounds in the heartland.

He says: "We wanted to create something fun and interactive for both the young and young at heart. These are art installations that you do not just look at, but can bounce on too."

The inflatables take up around 4,000 sq m of space and weigh more than 11 tonnes. Mr Tan and his team spent a year designing and producing them.

He worked with Pico Art International, which spent close to seven figures on the zoo. The playground will likely travel to other countries after the festival wraps up, says a spokesman from Pico Art International.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2017, with the headline 'Shining light on Marina Bay'. Print Edition | Subscribe