The concept creators aimed to amaze, not simply decorate. They chose light as their primary source of amazement, at once a tool, an object and a motive. Bulbs, fairy lights, floodlights, and LED lights will animate and illuminate lace arches, three-dimensional figures, trees, fair pavilions and naturally, New Year trees. All the decorations will be put up by 16 December, when the Journey to Christmas and Christmas Light festivals are expected to open.
“The concept is called ‘Magical Light.’ It is the first project of its kind in Moscow’s history. We are not simply decorating the city, but using light to create a new fairy tale space. The project was developed by Russian architects, artists and designers,” said Maria Chernyak, art director of the Second Christmas Light International Festival.
Warm yellow light instead of white light will be used to illuminate various objects, from fir trees to fair pavilions to installations. This will help create a cosy home-like atmosphere in the streets. Russian and Italian patterns are the main graphic design. The project is being developed by teams from Russia, Italy and France.
French specialists contributed to decorating Tverskaya Street, where street lamps will become stylised tall wine glasses with champagne bubbles.
Lace-like arches made of light will pop up in Manezhnaya, Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya and other central squares, in addition to Novopushkinsky public garden and Nikolskaya Street, Kamergersky Pereulok and Gazetny Pereulok.
Lit-up trees will turn the Kuznetsky Most and Rozhdestvenka streets into a magical forest. A street light will float in the air in Zamoskvorechye District. A glowing three-dimensional figure of 2017, the holiday’s logo, will be installed close to fairs, boulevards and in parks and public gardens. The logo will feature a decorative pattern mixing fine style with the cosiness of family celebrations. In addition to parks and public gardens, the logo can be seen on shop windows and even transport ticket cards.
Moscow streets will also feature three-dimensional sculptures and installations from light bulbs and garlands. Father Frost’s sledge will be installed by the Arc of Triumph. A light labyrinth will open at the intersection of Tverskaya Street and Gazetny Pereulok Street. A small enchanted forest is planned to encircle the entrance of Chistiye Prudy station, while large New Year tree ornament balls will be installed on the Novoarbatsky Bridge.
Made by hand
Two symmetrical 12-metre structures resembling New Year ornament balls will greet riders on the Novoarbatsky Bridge. The producers say they take several weeks to make as there are so many details and each requires hand work.
Work is in full swing at the workshop where specialists are painting balls, welding them, and checking their lightning. The plastic components are ready, and now a semitransparent film is being glued onto them. They are coloured this way so as to emit warm light when illuminated.
Although they look simple and ordinary on paper, in real life the components are much more complex. Their main element is plastic casing where LED clusters will later go.
“The casings are multilayered. First, there is a special material with a holographic effect, then snowflakes are glued on. Then a semi-transparent covering with a laser-carved pattern is added. There is also backlighting. Each component is unique and uses specific technology. It can’t be done automatically; it must be done by hand,” production director Yelena Zaitseva said.
The large snowflakes in the centre of the balls are three-dimensional as well. Thanks to holographic film, they will shimmer in the headlights of passing cars.
The frame structures weighing up to 40 tonnes will be transported from Vladimir, where they are produced at a military facility. When all the components are ready, they will be taken to the Novoarbatsky Bridge. Assembly of the balls will last for five days, from 10 to 15 December.
Tall structures can be seen right next to the unfinished balls. They are tightly wrapped in LED ribbons so that rose and blue light seems to float downwards. These are parts of a light fountain that will be installed in Adropova Prospekt outside of the Kolomenskoye Museum Reserve.
“First, a plotter was used to make patterns for metal curving. The curving was done manually on a working bench. The parts were then painted and wrapped in light-emitting elements. This is LED technology, so the floating water is managed by a control device, programmed for a particular speed,” Yelena Zaitseva said.
She added that despite its large size - the fountain is 11 metres in diametre and stands five metres tall - it only needs 8 kW of energy, which is just enough to power eight kettles.
Light fountains will be installed in various Moscow areas. Each will be unique and made to resemble various objects, such as a tent, a globe, an aster and a lotus.
The Musical Forest art object is almost complete. Passing by Pushkinskaya Square, Muscovites can already see white trees on a raised 400-square-metre platform. However, as assembly goes on, the trees are silent and dark.
When completed, the Musical Forest will feature 50 trees, 50,000 manually programmed LED pixels, over 240 dynamic floodlamps, artificial smoke generators and rotating light beam projectors.
Every light pixel responds to a particular note to create an impression of trees dancing to a tune. The cutting-edge software ensures perfect light-sound synchronisation. Every evening, New Year tunes and classic melodies will be heard in this fairy tale ambience. Each light and music show will last 20 minutes.