Ice & Light: Vladivostok architects create winter public space to spotlight derelict park

, Cities

Author: Lynsey Free

An architecture firm based in Russia’s Far East has taken advantage of the region’s bitterly cold winters to create an unusual installation in an abandoned park.

"Ice & Light." Photo courtesy Concrete Jungle

Architects from Concrete Jungle chose a frozen lake inside a neglected public space in Vladivostok as the stage for “Ice & Light,” which consists of a circle of 18 LED lights placed 30 centimeters into the ice with the help of drills and chainsaws.

The lights flash to the rhythm of music by Denis Kazakov, creating a magnificent display that was recorded by a drone flying overhead. The footage was then released to the public by Concrete Jungle.

The aim of the project was twofold. One of the reasons was to showcase the advantages that come with extremely long, cold winters.

“Ice is the only translucent solid material that can be found in abundance in nature, but only under certain conditions. In Vladivostok, this is the case: five months of winter allow for experiments with negative temperatures,” the project description reads.

The other reason behind the ambitious project was to cast attention on the Mine Town Park which, despite its central location in the center of the city, has been completely neglected.

“This is a very important park for Vladivostok. It has approximately the same location as Central Park in New York; that is, in the heart of the city. But now it is desolate, there is no lighting there, and visitors do not feel safe,” Concrete Jungle head Felix Mashkov told Strelka Mag.

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Mine Town Park. Photo courtesy Concrete Jungle

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Map showing Vladivostok residents' activity based on GPS data. Courtesy Concrete Jungle

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Installing the LED lights. Image courtesy Concrete Jungle

The park’s abandoned state did provide one major advantage, Mashkov said, noting that it gave his team “freedom in the expression of creative thought.”

Concrete Jungle says the next step is to determine what the future of the park – which opened in 1985 on the site of a former military munitions depot – looks like. The firm is convinced that a revitalization of the park as the main public space in Vladivostok is only a matter of time, and that “Ice & Light” is the first of many milestones that will eventually see the space completely transformed.

Concrete Jungle is an architecture and design firm founded by Mashkov and Vadim Gerasimenko, both street artists. The company is committed to the design and construction of the urban environment and public spaces.

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