Water-Activated LED Wall: Sounds Dangerous, Looks Beautiful

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

Water and electricity: historically, not a great combo! But Antonin Fourneau, a French artist and engineer, combines both to remarkable ends in his installation, Water Light Graffiti, which landed in New York this week.
The surface of Water Light Graffiti is dotted by thousands of LEDs, each ringed by a sensor that triggers the light when it's wet. Visitors are welcome to grab a paintbrush or super soaker (or straight-up bucket) and go to town on the board, which fades back to black after a few minutes. The idea, Fourneau says, is to get people creating and interacting without the self-consciousness of actually painting. He describes the installation as a way to "share magically:"

The “Water Light Graffiti” is a surface made of thousands of LED illuminated by the contact of water. You can use a paintbrush, a water atomiser, your fingers or anything damp to sketch a brightness message or just to draw. Water Light Graffiti is a wall for ephemeral messages in the urban space without deterioration. A wall to communicate and share magically in the city.

The piece debuted in Paris a few months ago, but Fourneau and his patron, the French arts foundation DigitalArti, have been on the road with the installation ever since. It'll be on view at the Grohe showroom as part of New York Design Week until Friday, when it heads back to France. [Grohe]