energy-creating nephenthes plant sculptures by dan corson energy-creating nephenthes plant sculptures by dan corson
jun 29, 2013

energy-creating nephenthes plant sculptures by dan corson

‘nepenthes sculptures’ by dan corson, portland, oregon
all images courtesy of dan corson
Patterns on top of patterns: custom solar panels cast shadows through the painted fiberglass surface.




seattle-based artist dan corson has just finished installing a permanent series of four 17-foot tall photo-voltaic sculptures along NW davis street in portland oregon, titled ‘nepenthes’. these glowing sculptural elements are inspired by the carnivorous plants called nepenthes, which are named after the magical greek potion that eliminates sorrow and suffering. by referencing the patterns of oregon native vegetation and other carnivorous plants and inserting a quirky expression of nature into an urban environment, these sculptures celebrate historic china town’s unique and diverse community. the structures are created out of robust layers of translucent fiberglass with embedded with LED lights wrapping around a steel spine. a custom created solar panel on top energizes the batteries, and also allows circular shadows to back-light the tops of the sculptures in the daytime. each sculpture is physically identical, yet they all have a unique translucent color and patterning that gives each piece its own distinctive personality. from an urban planning perspective, the project was designed to increase pedestrian connectivity between two important neighborhoods. the project was funded by trimet and managed by the regional arts & culture council and is now a part of the city of portland’s public art collection.



A series of colorful glowing sculptures draw your eyes along a street in Portland Oregon



each fiberglass sculpture glows from within at night creating an intriguing and dramatic street presence



solar cells generate electricity and cast shadows inside the sculptures during the daytime



GFRC bases contain batteries, solar charging system and timers, allowing ease of access for maintenance



the sculptures were designed to create different profiles from a variety of viewing angles



curvaceous shadows animate the sidewalk on sunny days



transparent color layers and high gloss surfaces simulate glass



touchable: many people are drawn to the form or surfaces and feel compelled to stroke them as they walk by



construction photo showing inside of sculptures and rorschach patterning



glass-like surfaces reflect and distort the surrounding environment



project info:


administration / project management: regional arts and culture council
funding source: trimet
fabrication: heavy industries
pv/led engineering and design: pmcs
structural engineering: swenson say faget
installation: art and design works
concrete work: john russel

  • Is it just me or do they look like bongs?

    Alexander Kandisaputro says:
  • i like this idea of invaded city

    Allan says:
  • Beautiful pieces of work, there should bo one on every street corner

    John Hopper says:
  • Saw these one day…very cool, random stuff. That’s what it’s like, living in Portland.

    gork platter says:

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