Water Droplet

Destiny Paris is the Klaus Engelhard Scholarship in Illumination Design recipient for the Master of Design Science (Illumination Design). In this, her second year, she and employer Aurecon have collaborated to produce a breathtaking installation for Vivid Sydney this year.

Destiny says that idea came to her at Christmas. She moved to Sydney from South Australia last year to start her studies with the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. Inspired by Vivid 2011, she knew she wanted to be a part of the largest lighting design festival in the southern hemisphere.

“To be a part of Vivid – to be a part of something so incredible on an international level – that’s a beautiful experience. To be a part of that atmosphere is just gorgeous,” she says.

Water Droplet is a two-storey high fountain stretched into the shape of a water drop. The fountain exudes a calming blue light and shrouds large cylinders hidden inside. With the backdrop of the harbour, festival visitors can sit inside the giant fountain. Atmospheric sounds of thunderstorms and waterfalls produces a soundtrack that is complemented by the sounds of wind chimes. Visitors use a small hammer to ring the chime that causes the sounds to change and the vibrant colours of the cylinders to shift, pouring colour down and over those inside the sculpture.

It’s an impressive feat of engineering and lighting design. Destiny had to work closely with structural, acoustic and visual engineers and designers to make it a reality.

“The idea was to incorporate the water of the harbour into a lighting installation. I based the design around a poem that accompanies the sculpture:

“Water is pure, elemental
A fundamental building block
Suspended in a single droplet
Stirs an activity of beauty and life.”

Destiny says that turning her artistic and creative vision into a physical sculpture was much harder than anticipated.

“The biggest challenge was definitely the structural engineering. We had to consider wind loads and the structural integrity of what is clearly a unique structure

“Another challenge was the audio-visual engineering. One of our engineers had to turn his house into a workshop in order to experiment with the trigger sensors that provide the sound effects.”

Destiny says that sponsors are the key to a successful Vivid installation. She singles out her company, Aurecon and lighting supplier 3S Lighting as especially deserving of praise.

“Sponsors are the key to Vivid. They have shown incredible generosity, working around the clock both on site and in their factories to help create and then physically build this installation”