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The Julien Dubuque Bridge Gateway
The Julien Dubuque Bridge Gateway
Mississippi gateway
Mississippi gateway
Mississippi gateway

Engineering Philips Lighting Eindhoven, The Netherlands

By Christian Narkiewicz-Laine

The Finnish-American artist and architect, Christian Narkiewicz-Laine’s newest work is an outdoor lighting installation for the Julien Dubuque Bridge.

Built in 1943, the Julien Dubuque Bridge is a trussed arch bridge that spans 3.8 acres across the Mississippi River between East Dubuque, Illinois and Dubuque, Iowa. The bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The artist’s states that this work is a “gateway,” welcoming people to the former territories of France, which became the United States after the Louisiana Purchase—215 years ago.

The artist has coordinated the technical work with lighting engineers at Philips Lighting in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

The art installation features a series of lighting systems with more than 100,000 connected LEDs.

The color panels change along the horizontal bridge constantly in tones and hues offering a rainbow effect that is reflected on the waters of the Mississippi River as part of the overall art installation.

Uplights also dynamically wash the above arch-shaped truss with adding to the Impressionistic light patterns generated on the River.

The connected luminaires offer an expanded palette of more than a billion intensely saturated colors or finely tuned pastels and hues in a variety of beam angles so that the full volume and depth of the bridge is showcased.

The installation is further enhanced by a cloud-based connected lighting platform that provides remote monitoring and management capabilities to ensure operational efficiency and the ability to program the lights without being tethered to the bridge.

The cloud-based technology is also interactive, allowing the public to access the lighting controls from their home computer or mobile phone to change the color palette of the art installation to their preferred viewing.

These capabilities allow the LED lights to produce hundreds of possible configurations and light distribution patterns to create static displays or dynamic color shows that can be programmed to commemorate special events, holidays and important civic causes.

The artist envisions this work of public art to create spectacular light shows and stunning dynamic effects, creating a center of activity for the local community and visitors while enhancing the Dubuque’s vibrant waterfront and encouraging its further development.

The illumination will transform the bridge into a centerpiece for the Dubuque metropolitan area, its citizens, visitors and local businesses. Revitalizing the bridge through dynamic lighting experiences that will ensure the bridge’s role as a source of great pride for the City of Dubuque.

“Art and Technology,” states the artist, “are radically transforming the way public spaces are illuminated while also helping to contribute to the economic, social and cultural prosperity of the local community.”

The illuminated Julien Dubuque Bridge will become an instant Landmark for the cities of Dubuque and East Dubuque.

About the Artist: Christian Narkiewicz-Laine is a Finnish-American artist who works from his studio in Galena, Illinois. He an architect, painter, installation-based artist, writer, and poet. He frequently experiments in the use of new materials and his work is often a commentary of socio-political subject matter. He is considered one of Europe’s leading contemporary artists, and his work is collected by museums throughout Europe and the United States.

Other of Narkiewicz-Laine's lighting projects include the restoration and renovation of the 1930s Art Deco lighting program for The Merchandise Mart (1930) in Chicago, which the artist did while working for the Kennedy family in 1985.