Tidal Radiance

6_Facade at dusk_cruise seasonFacade at dusk _ cruise season


Studioteka worked as a design consultant for Leni Schwendinger, Light Projects Ltd., on Tidal Radiance, a public art piece for the city of San Diego.  The Port Pavilion, at the tip of the Broadway Pier in San Diego, opened in December 2010.  For the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, a 45- by 16-foot exterior wall sculpture, Tidal Radiance, is combined with an environment of projections to evoke tides and sea life.
After dark, Tidal Radiance becomes a shimmering, organic form seen from near and far. The artwork is visible to boats, pedestrians and motorists along the Embarcadero promenade.  Featured on the building’s exterior, custom cast glass and metal forms are mounted to a unique framework of tension wires.  To set the stage for Tidal Radiance’s dramatic and luminous transformation during the darkened hours, it was important that its sculptural materials remain neutral by day.  To accomplish this, Light Projects collaborated with Studioteka on material selections and other media that influence light and shadow qualities by sunlight, as well as on the structural details required to manage an asymmetrically loaded composition subject to high winds.
Project Team:
Artist: Leni Schwendinger
Design Studio:
Leni Schwendinger Light Projects, LTD (Leni Schwendinger, Eric Chenault)
Architectural Services:
Studioteka (Vanessa Keith, Dongsuk Lee, Ana Sucena)
Basile Studio
Custom Cast-Glass:
Architectural Glass Art


The interplay between viewer and artwork is integral to Tidal Radiance. The spectator becomes a participant through spatial and sensory immersion in the luminous stenciled projections along the entry and perimeter of the terminal. This environment is composed of a complex line drawing, which is echoed in the cast glass of the wall sculpture. Through the medium of light, chromatic seasonal compositions evocative of San Diego Bay culture and environment materialize.  Luminous greens express the whale watching season, and glowing golds the cruise season. During the moon cycles, the full moon is expressed and emanates pale blues, while the new and quarter emanate deep and medium blue hues.
Like all of Leni Schwendinger’s work, Tidal Radiance contains the element of change. Whether animated patterns or a calendar of seasonal light sequences, one of the continuing challenges is to utilize the property of light to brighten, fade, and disappear–and to respond to controlled voltages through highly sophisticated computer programming. This element of controlled changeability–combined with color symbolism–allows the artist to create public art that not only pleases the eye but communicates and displays nuanced messages about the environment we live in.

4_Neutral day viewNeutral day view


7_Facade at dusk_whale watching seasonFacade at dusk _ whale watching season



2_Detail_cruise seasonDetail _ cruise season


5_Neutral day view_detailNeutral day view _ detail


8_Detail_whale watching seasonDetail _ whale watching season


11_Detail_lighting at ground levelDetail _ lighting at ground level


12_Clay modelClay model


13_Scale anglesScale angles