Matthew Placzek’s LED-Lit Sculpture ‘Spirit’ Welcomes Children’s Hospital Patients

iifchildrensnews032515Children’s Hospitals, spread across the US and located in Canada and Australia, do a fantastic job of helping even very sick children believe that better health is on the way. Still, entering any hospital is a daunting experience for children, leading the University of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital to commission a kid-friendly, LED-lit artwork project at the hospital entrance. The aptly named “Spirit” sculpture, by artist Matthew Placzek, is intended to raise the spirit of children entering the hospital and makes unique use of solid-state lighting (SSL).

The 140-ft-long Spirit sculpture includes twelve kites formed with stainless-steel frames and brightly-colored acrylic panels that complete the kite structure. LEDs light the kites at night, adding dynamic displays of color and a sense of movement and excitement. The LED-lit artwork also includes larger-than-life bronze sculptures of three children running with the kites.

“I wanted these pieces to come alive at night; the lighting provides a whole different look in the dark,” said Placzek. “The kites essentially float — you don’t see the tails — and because they’re all illuminated from within, they make a visually pleasing presentation.”

Indeed, the depiction of childhood happiness helps set entering patients and their families at ease. The LED-lit artwork captures the innocence of youth and is intended to engender a feeling of hopefulness.

Each of the kites is illuminated by 5000 LEDs. The implementation uses Wet Blaze LED strips from Diode LED with 40–50 ft. of the strips in each kite. The strips are not meant for submerged usage, but as the name implies are rated for wet locations. Indeed, Diode LED sells specialized waterproof connectors for outdoor applications.

Placzek concealed the LED strips by placing them into channels in the kite frames. LED drivers are hidden in the base of the sculpture. The project relies on 60W Class 2 transformers to deliver the 12V input required by the strips.

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