Shine On

Fantastical new Austin light show shines spotlight on famous gardens

Fantastical new Austin light show shines spotlight on famous gardens

Design Shine Umlauf
You Are Here, designed by Ana Kurzan, Christian Klein, Mari Russ, and Irela Casanova Rendering courtesy of UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum
Design Shine Umlauf
Each installation was designed to be viewed both during the day and at night. Rendering courtesy of UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum
Design Shine Umlauf
Lost Casts was inspired by the ground's history as a fly-fishing pond. Rendering courtesy of UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum
Design Shine Umlauf
Design Shine Umlauf
Design Shine Umlauf

As Creek Show glows on and Trail of Lights prepares for its dazzling annual display, Austinites have no shortage of light art installations to see this season. The latest, "Design Shine," is an illuminating new exhibit at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden + Museum that juxtaposes 21st-century tech-based art with Charles Umlauf's 20th-century bronze sculpture collection.

To create the show, Umlauf and the American Institute of Architecture - Austin asked local artists or design teams to create a brand-new, light-based project inspired by the South Austin museum.

In crafting their design, each team was asked to use light in a way that "engage[d] ... with the natural habitat of the Umlauf Garden." The winning proposals were then selected by Umlauf and AIA for temporary installation on the grounds.

The winners range from emerging designers to local architects and landscape architects, and all have crafted three different pieces that engage with the Umlauf grounds in very different ways.

You Are Here, designed by Ana Kurzan, Christian Klein, Mari Russ, and Irela Casanova, is "an interactive sensory experience based on habitat" that invites viewers to stroll through illuminated archways as they meander through the gardens. For Polaris, Sergey Belov, Stephanie Belov, and Scott Saddler "will construct a series of familiar, everyday objects in a circular formation as a reflection on the Garden’s topography, water levels, binary code, and cosmic alignment." 

For Lost Casts, Alexandra Krippner and Toni Toscano drew from the Umlauf's history as a fly-fishing pond. In this piece, beams of light swirl across the grounds, mimicking the graceful casts of a fishing line. 

Despite being light-based, each piece was also designed to be enjoyed during the day, too. "The installations present different experiences by day and night, encouraging multiple visits. Situated amidst Charles Umlauf’s sculptures, Design Shine reinvigorates the visitors’ experience with captivating, family-friendly sculptural art works," says Sarah Story, executive director of the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum.

This inaugural group show officially opens to the public on November 20 with a free, family-friendly reception from 6-8 pm. Once open, "Design Shine" runs through January 19, 2020.

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