Making Rainbows Without Rain

What could be more magical than a rainbow? Looking up into the sky after a grey, rainy day and seeing a bright and colourful rainbow instantly gives a sense of childlike wonder that can change your whole mood. Science has tried to capture the beauty of rainbows through light prisms that reflect a spectrum of colours and imitate the natural phenomenon. Aside from being a science experiment, many people hang prisms from their windows so that when light shines through, a rainbow effect can be seen on the walls and floor of a room. 

So what does this have to do with placemaking in cities? Well, we took some time to reminisce about being a kid and remembered the joy that we felt when catching a glimpse of a rainbow and wondering where it might lead. This sparked the question, how could we replicate this feeling and make rainbows in the city, without rain? 

After doing some research we found that we were not the first to consider how rainbows could be used to create meaningful and exciting spaces in a city. In 2014, RAW Design created a display called Prismatica for the Luminotherapie Competition in Montreal:

This public art installation became so popular that it has been exhibited in a number of other locations across North America. Another light prism art piece appeared in Woodruff Park in Atlanta, Georgia, as part of the Prism winter lights festival:

Art sculptures that radiate rainbow light are becoming popular in North American cities as they captivate public audiences of all ages to engage in play and connect us to our childhoods. Maybe it is time for Halifax to take inspiration from the magic of rainbows and create a similar experience for residents and visitors that makes rainbows without rain.