+POOL creators unveil floating LED sculpture that tracks NYC's water quality

+POOL creators unveil floating LED sculpture that tracks NYC's water quality

a new project from the team behind the +POOL displays the water quality in NYC’s east river in realtime using LED lights in the shape of a cross. the floating art installation, designed by playlab, inc. and family new york in collaboration with floating point, is a 50-foot x 50-foot plus-shaped ‘+POOL light’ that changes color based on the condition of the water in which it floats.

+POOL creators unveil floating LED sculpture that tracks NYC's water quality plus pool

images courtesy of friends of +POOL

header image © iwan baan



the LED sculpture glows blue when pathogens show up in the water but predictive enterococci levels are safe for swimming (below 35 CFU). it illuminates pink when levels reach unsafe swimming levels. the sculpture’s lights also change direction based on the flow of the current and their brightness, frequency, and sharpness depend on oxygen, turbidity, and ph. the data is sent to a public website developed in partnership with reaktor, which explains the science behind the installation.


‘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,’ they explain. ‘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.’

+POOL creators unveil floating LED sculpture that tracks NYC's water quality plus pool



the sculpture is installed at the seaport district at lower manhattan’s pier 17 and will be on view until january 3rd. commissioned by friends of +POOL, inc., the installation can be seen from the brooklyn waterfront and the bridges that connect brooklyn with manhattan.

+POOL creators unveil floating LED sculpture that tracks NYC's water quality plus pool

renderings of the +POOL concept by family new york



the installation is an offshoot of the +POOL project, which since 2010 has been trying to install a self-filtering public pool with its own river-cleaning system in one of new york city’s rivers. floating pools were popular in new york city during the 19th century when officials opened pools to serve as public baths. by the 1940s all of the pools were shut down because increasing pollution made them unusable.



last month (september 2019), the economic development corporation released a request for expressions of interest for ideas for a self-filtering floating pool inside the river near the lower east side. the team behind +POOL said they are looking forwarding to submitting their proposal.


project info


commissioned by: friends of + pool, inc.
design: playlab, inc. & family new york
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

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