Light Balance: Illuminated Seesaws in a Montreal Plaza

Don’t even try to suppress your inner child when you come across a public installation as fun as this interactive collection of illuminated seesaws in Montreal, which play music in time with riders’ movements. Looking to inspire a bit of spontaneity in the streets, collaborating firms CS Design and Lateral Office offer up an all-ages playground stretching for a full block in the city’s Place des Festivals.

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Entitled ‘Impulse,’ the installation is comprised of 30 glowing seesaws with built-in speakers. Take a seat and they’ll produce a series of musical sounds, the lights strengthening and fading in intensity depending on the angle of the board. When the bulk of them are occupied, they join together into symphonies of light and sound that can either spontaneously synchronize or become totally random and chaotic.

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The seesaws are paired with colored LEDs projected onto the adjacent building facades, turning the whole square into a light show after dark. Every visitor has a different experience depending on where they’re sitting, how fast they move up and down, and how many other seesaws are engaged.

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“Through the use of architectural lines, a hypnotic soundtrack and an entertaining illusion of depth, the nine architectural video projections echo the seesaws of the Place des Festivals,” say the designers. “Playing with the notions of balance and unbalance, symmetry and asymmetry, tension and harmony, the video projections are visual experiments illustrating the original soundtrack created for each video.”