Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier

NOTE: This project is now complete. Please visit the Port Pavilion website.

08New York artist Leni Schwendinger of Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LTD. recently installed the exterior wall sculpture titled Tidal Radiance to transform the façade of the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier by night into a dynamic, deeply colored, luminous form. By day, the sculpture blends into the architecture of the building, activated by glints of the sun. Materials include layered custom cast glass and textured stainless steel panels. On the ground plane a projected "light garden" enhances the building's entry with images inspired by water and sand patterns on the east and south side of the building. The calendar for chromatic lighting compositions follows: icon Tidal Radiance Calendar (32.06 kB).


Schwendinger is an internationally known artist and lighting designer. Her unique approach to the medium of light crosses a variety of genres including public spaces, landmarks and the infrastructure in urban environments. Light Projects' installations have received awards from professional organizations such as the American Institute of Architecture, Illuminating Engineering Society and International Association of Lighting Designers.

In 2006, Schwendinger was a featured participant in the Cooper Hewitt Museum's National Design Triennial: Design Life Now, an ongoing exhibition program presenting innovative American designers. Completed projects include SpectraScape, Main Street Garden Park, Dallas, Chroma Streams; Tide and Traffic, Kingston Bridge, Glasgow, Scotland, and Dreaming in Color, a 3-Dimensional Color Field, Marion O. McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington.

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Artist Statement:

"After dark, Tidal Radiance, a large-scale sculpture for the newly constructed Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier – a minimalist glass and metal building – is transformed into a shimmering, organic form with artwork elements seen near and far. The artwork will be visible to Pier visitors, boaters, pedestrians and motorists along the Embarcadero promenade.

Chromatic seasonal compositions relevant to the San Diego Bay's culture and environment appear through the medium of light. For example, luminous greens express the Whale Watching season, and glowing golds the Cruise season. During the Moon Cycles the Full Moon emanates pale blues, while the New and Quarter Moon are represented by deep and medium blue hues. Light projections onto the ground plane create an immersive environment--a visual and experiential installation to engage the public.

To set the stage for a dramatic and luminous transformation during the darkened hours, it was important that the sculptural materials remain neutral by day. To accomplish this, my studio Light Projects collaborated with the architect on materials selections and other media that influence light and shadow qualities.

I envisioned a monumental sea creature emerging from the shed at night. Deeply-cast clear-glass shapes reminiscent of fish scales and seashells are layered upon a tall vertical wall mounted onto the building facing the city, interspersed with textured stainless steel forms.

Integral to Tidal Radiance is the interplay between viewer and sculpture. The spectator becomes a participant through spatial and sensory immersion in the luminous stenciled projections along the entry and perimeter of the terminal. This environment is composed of a complex line drawing which is echoed in the cast glass of the wall sculpture.

Like all of my work, Tidal Radiance contains the element of change. Whether animated patterns or a calendar of seasonal light sequences, one of my continuing challenges is to utilize the property of light to brighten, fade, and disappear – and to respond to controlled voltages through highly sophisticated computer programming. This element of controlled changeability – combined with color symbolism – allows me to create public art that not only pleases the eye but communicates and displays nuanced messages about the environment we live in."

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