Navy Pier Announces New, Interactive Light and Music Installation

Impulse, a new interactive light and music exhibition coming to Chicago's Navy Pier this spring (photo courtesy of Luminothérapie).



Impulse, an internationally-acclaimed, interactive public art installation is making its way to Navy Pier this spring. From Friday, March 10 through Sunday, May 21, Pier guests will have the unique opportunity to engage with a series of 15 musical and illuminated seesaws in Polk Bros Park, inspiring fun and imaginative play for both kids and adults.

Impulse is an interactive work comprised of largescale seesaws with special LED lighting and sound, activated through the motion of its users. When in use, the seesaws create a dynamic, ever-changing field of light and sound–a key element of the design. The intensity of the light varies as the board’s angle shifts. Through repetition, rhythm and syncopation, the art work serves as a largescale urban instrument, intended to activate the surrounding public space and engage participants.

Impulse is very much in keeping with Chicago’s culturally rich and distinguished art scene, while also in alignment with Navy Pier’s mission of offering unparalleled experiences that inspire discovery and wonder,” said Michelle T. Boone, Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer of Navy Pier. “We invite guests of all ages and backgrounds to come experience the Pier’s ongoing programmatic evolution this spring, starting with this truly unique and artistic spin on a classic playground activity.”

The whimsical creation is the work of Toronto-based firm Lateral Office and Montreal-based CS Design, in collaboration with Générique Design of Montreal. The Quartier des Spectacles, the producer of the installation, first presented the piece as part of Luminothérapie, an annual winter experience in Canada from December 10, 2015 to January 31, 2016. The traveling exhibit has made its way through five cities since its debut in Montreal, including London, England; Lugano, Switzerland; Brussels, Belgium; and Scottsdale, Arizona–making Chicago the second U.S. city to experience Impulse.

Impulse will be one of the first major projects identified as a part of the citywide Year of Public Art initiative as 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of the gift of the Picasso work at the Daley Plaza and the 50th anniversary of The Wall of Respect, a seminal piece recognized as one of the first community murals painted in Chicago.

Navy Pier cites the procurement of Impulse as just one of the many examples of its commitment to raising its profile as a non-profit, with continued focus on offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs, as outlined in the organization’s mission and values. As the Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration continues in 2017, the Pier is looking to introduce more exciting and innovative year-round programming for guests to experience and enjoy for free.

For more information on this and other special offerings at the Pier, visit