The Storm Breaks

November, 2012

Christopher Moulder’s large-scale lighting sculpture, Mammatus, shines in the Arrivals Hall at the new Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, GA USA.  

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Moulder, known for his spectacular lighting design, was commissioned by The City of Atlanta to create an artwork for the new international terminal after the art committee saw Santa Trap, one of Moulder’s previous outdoor lighting sculptures.

“Santa Trap lights up at night, outside, when it’s dark,” said Christopher Moulder.  “The Arrivals Hall is a space filled 24/7 with both natural and ambient light.  I realized immediately if this piece was going to be successful it needed to be able to exist as a sculpture, with or without lights."

Inspired by the otherworldly formation of mammatocumulous clouds, and grounded in the physics of catenary curves, Moulder designed this piece in RHINO using Grasshopper parametric modeling software.

Made with over 8 miles of nickel-plated bead chain, the 8′ H x 24′ W x 42′ L sculpture weighs almost 3000 pounds. “Mammatus is by far the largest project I’ve ever designed and engineered,” Moulder said.

The sculpture is lit with 30 color-kinetic RGB LED light luminaries.  Moulder programed these to change color according to the date and time of day.

Built first in his studio in Atlanta’s West End, when the sculpture was lit its hues were rich and saturated.  Hanging now in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Arrivals Hall Mammatus sparkles with the changing light and the artist’s script.