Greece- and New York-based design studio Objects of Common Interest introduces ‘Lights on’, a light sculpture proposal designed to breathe new life into the Piazza de la Liberta in Bergamo, Italy. Apart from the solar-powered luminous tubes, the site-specific installation uses leftover marble blocks from local quarries and reused rubber tires as seating furniture. The result sees an eye-catching landmark for the plaza, transforming the underused public space into an exciting gathering space that brings joy to passers-by.


Objects of Common Interest based the installation ‘Lights On’ on three main principles: Reactivation, Reuse, and Renewal. The light sculpture, which is the centerpiece of the studio’s proposal, is intended to reactivate the neglected plaza and transform it into an entirely new landscape. The solar-powered tubes are meant to form an illuminated city square that inspires. ‘By using the neighboring abandoned building as our framework, the intervention brings the plaza back to life and back to its people and to a human scale, thus making it possible to be part of their everyday life once more,’ the design team explains. ‘The city is uplifted by its reactivated public space , giving its citizens somewhere to sit and gather all day long, watching the light sculpture transform as the sun goes down, illuminating the plaza within its glow.’

Rethinking the relationship between the community and its natural resources was key to Lights On. Drawing inspiration from the city’s past and heritage, the team developed a series of innovative solutions to enhance the public character of the plaza. Leftover marble blocks from local quarries that would otherwise be discarded were used to create stackable, movable public seating. These pieces define the grid points of the square and produce a seating installation that dialogs with the space while utilizing what is already there.

The light installation is powered by solar energy – a simple gesture that results in an impressive, self-sustaining light sculpture in the heart of the square. At the same time, the new hard surfacing that forms a hill up to the fountain was made from recycled car tires – a reuse of an everyday object to create something playful. By creating an artificial hill from recycled car tires that rises up to the fountain, the studio created a viewing and seating platform that overlooks the entire square from a higher perspective and changes the way people look at the space.

‘Every step we have taken we have done so to renew this public space and transform it into a ‘city of hidden
treasures’ that cures and uplifts its users,’ says Objects of Common Interest. Each piece, the hardscape, the floor patterns, the seating blocks and the light sculpture, come together to create a public work of art that sets stages for public interaction along the plaza, renewing this otherwise desolate place and breathing an element of joy into it.

All elements were designed to have life after death, which emphasizes the team’s belief in reuse. Either as a whole or in pieces, they can be reassembled in a variety of clusters in different locations. The light sculpture is made up of repeating fragments that can be disassembled to create different variations at different scales. The marble seats are attached only with their weights and dowels as they have been used for centuries, and can be rearranged in other combinations and colors like oversized children’s toys. The glowing rocks are single pieces and the rubber platform made of crushed rubber particles can be made into any other shape and easily moved. The installation can be moved anywhere you want to give it back its life.