SpY wraps neoclassical columns in ghent with 1984 luminous traffic cones for lichtfestival

Designboom_ 1984 luminous traffic cones embrace the columns of the Aula Academia at Ghent University and cast the Belgian city in an ethereal orange glow. Kicking off the sixth edition of the Lichtfestival Ghent on November 22, 2023, CONES by Spanish artist SpY disrupts the assumed solemnity of the historic architecture through an unconventional and thornily subversive aesthetic re-envisioning of its front. By day, a stark orange intervention captivates the urban streetfront, while by night, the artwork bathes the Voldersstraat in a warm blanket of light, transforming it into an immersive visual spectacle.

Working from the appropriation of an everyday urban element — the mundane traffic cone — SpY’s site-specific installation envelops the Aula Academia building to create enchantingly unexpected and intrusive, yet playful encounters for viewers while casting new perspectives of the historic structure. As the sun goes down, the artist brings the cones to life, radiating mesmerizing orange hues that add a layer of transformation to the street space experience.

The vibrant Lichtfestival Ghent illuminates the city every three years with works by national and international artists, turning the city into a canvas for surprising spectacles, installations, and performances — all centered around the theme of light. The light festival will take place from January 31 to Feburary 4, 2024, CONES takes its place among the various luminous offerings by Charles Pétillon, Benedikt Tolar, Atelier Sisu, and more.