A Carlow man has designed a five-storey-high tower of 3,636 glass cubes which form a lighting spectacular created to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Taiwan.
Titled Cloud Nine, the five-minute-long lighting showcase which occurs every 30 minutes adorns Taoyuan City in Taiwan as part of the Lantern Festival or Shangrila of Light.
Billy Canning, from Borris, Co Carlow, is a renowned international chandelier designer who worked on the Waterford Crystal New Year’s Eve countdown ball in New York’s Time Square which was installed for the millennium.
Mr Canning has also designed chandeliers for buildings such as Dublin Castle, Farmleigh House, Croke Park, the Gaiety, Windsor Castle in the UK, the Kennedy Centre in the US, Asia and numerous palaces in the Middle East.
Mr Canning collaborated with the award-winning Taiwan Lighting Artist Sammy Liu to design this art piece which is 32 x 12 x 11.5 metres in dimension, which is similar in size to that of a five-storey building.
50 centimetre white cubes frame the layout of a city skyline with a giant peacock hanging in the middle. The peacock was constructed by titanium, optical glasses and by different lighting artistry which give the effects of flying and dancing peacocks and doves.
The lighting of the showpiece is controlled by two super computers which have a series of five different programmes.
The father-of-three said the project, which is part of the Chinese New Year celebration, took a year to design with the unveiling delayed by two years due to the pandemic.
“The result is a spectacular feat of glass engineering, lighting work and also includes an amazing musical accompaniment score, that was composed by renowned Taiwanese composer Lim Qiong, so the project was indeed very challenging not only in terms of design and man-hours, but also due to the difficulties posed by the pandemic,” explained Mr Canning.
“Normally I would have travelled out to Taiwan to oversee a project of this scale but due to the pandemic that was not possible, so there were numerous Zoom meetings and telephone calls instead. To be able to pull off a showstopper of this size was just amazing and a credit to all involved.
“We wanted to have a theme of flight as Taoyuan is the city of aviation. We also wanted to reflect symbols of Chinese and western culture where the objects have a universal good meaning such as the peacock and the dove.”
Mr Canning was the chief lighting designer for Waterford Crystal for several years before the original company was wound down in 2009.