i Light Marina Bay

Art festival i Light Marina Bay returns with 22 light installations

The light festival is back, with 22 works illuminating Marina Bay waterfront and Esplanade Park

Who says it has to get dark when the sun goes down?

Sustainable light art festival i Light Marina Bay opens today and with it, the Marina Bay waterfront and Esplanade Park will come alive with 22 enthralling light installations and myriad activities.

The festival is organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and is in its sixth edition. It was introduced here in 2010 in a bid to add vibrancy to the Marina Bay precinct and encourage sustainable lifestyles among Singaporeans.

To this end, the installations showcased are made using energy-efficient lights, as well as recycled and environmentally friendly materials.

Last year’s 24-day-long edition with 20 installations attracted more than 800,000 visitors. The event this year is expected to be similarly well-received.

One of the exhibits this year is Kloud, a light installation that looks like clouds and changes colour in response to touch. It is made largely of polyvinyl chloride pipes and multiwall polycarbonate – a sustainable and fully recyclable material with minimal impact on the environment.

There are also Chandelier Of Spirits, a light installation made of recycled cold-brew coffee bottles, which shines brighter when there are more people surrounding it; and Milk Bottle Cows, life-sized luminous cows created with more than 2,000 re-used plastic bottles, encouraging the public to recycle and upcycle.

For the first time, several installations will also be on display at the Esplanade Park.


  • WHERE: Around Marina Bay waterfront and Esplanade Park (along Connaught Drive)

    WHEN: Till April 1, 7.30 to 11pm daily (extended to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays)

    ADMISSION: Free, except for the Art-Zoo Inflatable Park

This year’s line-up was curated by a panel of professionals and practitioners in the arts, architecture, urban planning and lighting fields.

Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, 38, who sits on the panel, says a focus this year is on installations “which provide new insights and experiences to sustainability”.

“It would be useful for future editions of the festival to explore new innovations in light and energy which can be scaled up,” adds Roosegaarde, founder of social design lab Studio Roosegaarde. “I Light Marina Bay is, for me, a platform of urban innovations for the smart city of tomorrow.”

Local architect Peter Sim, 43 also a panel member, says that the panel received many proposals from artists to show at the event, but chose entries that were “not only beautiful, but also engaging, interactive and enjoyable”.

Mr Sim, a director of multidisciplinary studio Farm, says: “In particular, we looked for installations that examine important issues of sustainability in a witty and thought-provoking manner".

Beyond the installations, there are also four festival hubs around Marina Bay, each hosting various activities.

One of the hubs, Illumi Bar, is a LED-lit pop-up space, with “furniture” made of re-usable plastic tanks.

Another is the Art-Zoo Inflatable Park, an imaginative play garden refreshed with new designs Mr Jason Chen, 49, who is the festival director and URA’s director of place management, says: “Through the festival, we hope that more people will be able to appreciate the importance of sustainability and can adopt sustainable habits in their daily lives.”

Singaporean Erika Lim, 28, has been to three editions and plans to attend this year too.

The sales manager says: “I have enjoyed every edition of the festival, which is why I always return. It is a great chance to walk around the Marina Bay area and enjoy the pretty artworks and cityscape. I also like how the artworks all have an environmental message to them.”

Here are eight highlights of the festival.


Location: Lower Boardwalk, Bayfront Avenue

Walk through this tunnel-shaped installation and its colour changes. Light animations and sounds are also activated.

This piece explores the emotional connection people have with light and sound. It also explores the concept of "passage" - the act of moving through or past something on the way from one place to another, as well as the process of transiting from one state to another.

It is created by Canadian artist Serge Maheu.


Where: Marina Boulevard

Receiving snail mail from friends used to be commonplace. But with the rise of digital communication, many have forgotten the importance of written correspondence.

This artwork highlights this fact with a modern-day form of a letter. During the event, participants can send a tweet with the hashtag #ilightmarinabay. Their messages will then be displayed on the installation.

The artwork is created by a six-member team of artists from Australia.


Location: Breeze Shelters, Marina Boulevard

The more people around this installation, the brighter it shines. When the breeze blows, it also emits the sound of harmonious chimes.

This installation is made using cold-brew coffee bottles, a symbol of Singapore's hardworking and resilient workforce, since coffee is drunk by many office workers here.

Just as coffee perks up many an office worker, this installation perks up one's spirits as it shimmers with light after sunset.

It is created by Living Spirits, a collective of Thai artists, and the bottles were donated by Chye Seng Huat Hardware, a home-grown coffee bar.



Location: Marina Boulevard

This interactive installation uses colours to illustrate people's changing emotions. Viewers can touch the clouds to disrupt the lights, similar to how a person's emotions can fluctuate with social interaction and other external factors.

The public can alter the colours of the installation through a Web app at klo-ud.com.

The artwork was created by a team of 13 students from Nanyang Polytechnic's school of interactive and digital media. It took six months to complete.

One of them, Ms Megan Chan Rui Wen, 18, says: "The objective of our installation is to allow people to see the colours of their ever-changing emotions. We want visitors to see the beauty of these emotions and celebrate them."


Art-Zoo Inflatable Park. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Location: The Float @ Marina Bay

Get ready to bounce and let your imagination run wild at this large experiential inflatable playground - one of i Light Marina Bay's festival hubs.

Filled with inflatable creations such as otters, gorillas, elephants and ladybirds, this attraction is inspired by creator Jackson Tan's childhood memories of visits to the zoo and the art gallery.

In a video publicising the park, he says: "The idea behind Art-Zoo is really to build a world that can be shared with the visitors... about nature and life, viewed through the perspective of art."

The attraction is divided into several clusters, with names such as purple meadows and green river.

The candy canyon cluster, for example, features chameleons in a playground swathed in shades of yellow, pink and turquoise.

The park is open daily until April 1, from 5 to 10pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and from 3 to 10pm on Fridays to Sundays, school holidays, public holidays and the eve of public holidays. Entry tickets can be purchased on artzooworld.com or onsite.

When bought online, a single ticket costs $17.80 or $16.80 each if bought in a bundle of four. When purchased onsite, each ticket costs $18.



Location: Clifford Pier

Highly Instagram-able and romantic, this inflatable heart is set to be a hit among couples and lovebirds.

Installed in the heart of town, it pulses depending on the time of the day and the number of people around it.

It is created by French artist Franck Pelletier, who is known for his ephemeral, poetic and playful works.


Location: ArtScience Museum

With sequences of germinating seedlings and blossoming flowers, this three-minute projection show playing in a loop on the facade of the ArtScience Museum is a sight to behold.

Addressing the issue of sustainability, it is created by Limelight, a group of artists from Hungary who specialises in 3D projection mapping artworks and light installations.

The group has also done 3D video projection mapping shows on the facade of Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard building in Bangkok, as well as on the Palace of the Parliament building in the Romanian city of Bucharest.


Location: Mist Walk, Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade

Inspired by the gentle swaying of lallang grass, this installation is a tribute to the flora and fauna in the Republic's ever-changing landscape.

It aims to increase awareness of the importance of sustainability and is created by a six-member team from the Lasalle College of the Arts.

Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2018, with the headline 'Walk in the light'. Subscribe