Art Installation Uses 55,000 LEDs To Create Psychedelic Cathedral of Light (Video)

Festival of Light Ghent 2012© Festival of Light Ghent

In recent years, energy-efficient LEDs have been incorporated into many things, but this stunning cathedral of psychedelically-colored lights might be one of the most mind-bending applications we've seen yet. Part of Ghent, Belgium's Festival of Lights -- a yearly event that draws hundreds of thousands of people from abroad during the end of January -- this intensely-lit colonnade uses 55,000 LEDs and stands 28 meters (98 feet) high, producing a mesmerizing space as seen in this video.

Festival of Light Ghent 2012© Festival of Light Ghent

Stylistically modelled after Romanesque church architecture, this eye-boggling structure is called "Luminarie De Cagna" after the Italian family that installed it:

Luminarie De Cagna is an Italian family business founded in 1930. Back then on festive occasions the company illuminated buildings and squares with oil and carbide lamps. This was quickly switched to electric lights, and since 2006 only LEDs are used for new projects. The lights are joined to make large curtains of light, which are placed onto buildings or spread out on other objects in the area. In this way, whole streets and even squares are full of light.

Luminarie De Cagna© Festival of Light Ghent

Granted, it's an insane scale to employ LEDs (according to the creators, it consumes "20 kWh of electricity" -- but they neglect to say over what period of time so we're not sure of the relative level of energy consumption), but at the same time, the city of Ghent has a energy-reducing "Light Plan" which progressively aims for the "rational consumption of energy" by these light installations -- ie. less and less energy each year -- at least for public works of this scale.

Festival of Light Ghent 2012© Festival of Light Ghent

For the time being, this decade-long festival isn't going away anytime soon: it's a big draw for tourism dollars from visitors who come to wander and wonder at the lights -- better that they be energy-efficient lights rather than not.

See more of the festival's intriguing light installations on their website.

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