A Public Art Installation In The East River

+ POOL Light
October 3, 2019 – January 3, 2020

+ POOL Light is a public art installation in NYC’s Harbor designed by PLAYLAB, INC. and Family New York in collaboration with Floating Point. The project visualizes the conditions of NYC’s waterways through a light installation and interactive website, posing the question: how’s the water today?

Installed at the Seaport District at Pier 17 in Lower Manhattan, the plus-shaped + POOL Light measures 50 x 50 feet, is constructed of LEDs, and floats in the East River as it continuously changes in color based on the condition of water, indicating when it’s great, or not so great for swimming.

The design recognizes the “+” sign as a symbol of positivity, indicating the positive steps we have taken to improve water quality since the Clean Water Act of 1972. Conceptually it is also a symbol of inclusivity in that the water that surrounds us belongs to no one single group, but to everyone.

Data is collected and then sent to a new online dashboard developed in partnership with Reaktor (water.pluspool.org). The public dashboard explains the science behind the changing lights and tracks water quality parameters that impact swimmer experiences, such as temperature, turbidity, and salinity.

The LED sculpture glows teal when pathogens are present in the water and predictive Enterococci levels are safe for swimming (below 35 CFU). It turns to pink when those levels exceed swimming standards. The sculpture also animates, changing its direction based on the flow of current (clockwise when flowing north, counterclockwise when flowing south). The brightness, frequency, and sharpness of the lights is reflected in oxygen, turbidity, and pH, respectively.

Free for the public to engage and enjoy, and viewable from a variety of geographic points in NYC–from the Brooklyn Waterfront to the Bridges connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan–the project offers the community a unique artistic lens through which to view their urban environment and raises awareness about the current state of our rivers.

Commissioned by Friends of + POOL, Inc. 

Design: PLAYLAB, INC. & Family New York
Curator: Kara L. Meyer
Lighting Design, Hardware, and Software Engineering: Floating Point: Jack Kalish; Mark Kleback
Lighting Fabrication and Installation: Floating Point & Connected Future Labs
Lighting Structure Fabrication Support: Beam Center Apprentice Program Engineering & Project Management: McLaren Engineering; Anand Agarwal, Alexander F. Haubrich, Ashleigh S. Campbell
Project Permitting: Sive Paget & Riesel, Mark Chertok; McLaren Engineering, Anand Agarwal, Kaitlyn McGrath
Construction: Derecktor: Tom Domotorffy
Project Mooring: Hazelett Marine: Todd Harris
Installation: Waterfront Contracting: Chad Walder
Anchoring: Helix Mooring Systems: Peter Morrison
Electrical Engineering: Windsor Electrical Contracting, Inc.: Andy Rambharose
Dashboard Design: Reaktor Inc: Ross Langley, Jonathan Dahan, Savas Ozay, Stephen Cronin
Microbiology Early Warning ALERT Instrumentation: Fluidion; Dan Angelescu, Andreas Hausot and Joyce Wong
Lab Testing: Aaniyla Allen-Sutherland
Data Collection & Analysis: Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: Wade McGillis; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Shawnee Traylor
Sonde Installation: Rob Buchanan, Wade McGillis, Haokai Zhao

+ POOL Light is made possible by the generous support of Heineken and The Howard Hughes Corporation and is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Water Quality Dashboard is funded thanks to the generosity of Reaktor. 

Special thanks to Beam Center and its students for working with us on this project and storing materials during permitting phases!

Monthly Donation

  • American Express

Quarterly Donation

  • American Express

One Time Donation

  • American Express

Your donation qualifies you for a tile!

We’ll engrave your name (or any message up to 80 characters) on a + POOL tile and send you a mockup to display and show off to your friends.

Would you like to add a name or message to the walls and deck of + POOL?