california-based artist phillip k. smith III has illuminated an existing 100-foot-long (30m) skybridge that connects two of detroit’s most recognized buildings. the structure, which spans the 16th floors of ‘one woodward’ and the ‘guardian building’, has been conceived as a floating bar of light that hovers above the streets below. the ‘detroit skybridge’ features its own color program, inspired by the materiality and tones of two buildings it connects.

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
all images and video by lance gerber, courtesy of phillip k. smith III

 

 

the pedestrian bridge was constructed in 1976 by architect gino rossetti to allow employees to pass freely between the two towers. the 1990s saw the closing of the structure, after staff no longer required the same access. phillip k. smith III carefully choreographed the installation with shifting gradients and moving planes of light that seek to merge art with architecture at an urban scale.

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the skybridge measures 100 feet, or 30 meters

 

 

‘this project presents an entirely unique art experience outside of the traditional bounds of the museum or gallery, positioning itself within the public realm for all to experience freely,’ explains smith. ‘by day, the skybridge will continue to be seen as its historical self within the architecture and massing of downtown. but by night, it will become a beacon for the beauty, creativity, and innovation of detroit.’

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the project has been conceived as a floating bar of light

 

 

‘detroit skybridge is another example of how underutilized spaces can be re-imagined for the benefit of the public,’ says anthony curis, owner of library street collective — who conceptualized and produced the project. ‘phillip’s use of light and color, along with his understanding of architecture and scale, make this a compelling project for the city.’ the project is supported by bedrock detroit, quicken loans community fund, and wayne county.

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the structure connects two of detroit’s most recognized buildings

 

 

last year, phillip k. smith III installed a reflective installation within a milanese palazzo. as part of milan design week, designboom hosted a discussion in collaboration with COS where the artist discussed the project in more detail. see designboom’s archive of smith’s projects here.

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the color program is inspired by the materiality and tones of two buildings it connects

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the pedestrian bridge was constructed in 1976 by gino rossetti


smith carefully choreographed the installation with shifting gradients and moving planes of light

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the design seeks to merge art with architecture at an urban scale

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the skybridge serves as ‘beacon for the beauty, creativity, and innovation of detroit’

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
the structure spans the 16th floors of ‘one woodward’ and the ‘guardian building’

phillip k smith III detroit skybridge
see more projects by phillip k. smith III here

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