The Lighting Of The Sails


As a born-and-bred Sydneysider, I sometimes tend to take the city for granted. Ho-hum as the hordes of tourists snap away at Circular Quay, gazing at the Bridge, or jumping enthusiastically onto the Manly ferry.  But here’s a festival that shows our city in a whole new light. Even those who have seen the Opera House a thousand times will find the Lighting of the Sails a real showstopper.

This spectacular light show illuminates the Opera House sails and kicks off an 18 day long festival known as Vivid Sydney. Stephen Pavlovic, this year’s Vivid curator selected French collective SUPERBIEN to design the light show. Known for creating immense environments using animation, photography, light and space, SUPERBIEN are a multi-disciplinary art and design collective from Paris. Prepare yourself for a real eye-opener because this team takes lighting design to another level, using mapping and projection techniques never before seen in Australia.

The French group performed the first screening of this kind in the French port city of Marseille in March where they projected a screening on the Pharo Palace for sports brand Adidas. In a wonderful stretch of the imagination, the projection gave the illusion the palace was collapsing, then in rapid succession it turned into a soccer field, a break-dance floor and a dojo all complete with 3D athletes. Watching a recording of this projection, it seems that mere light can do the unbelievable. We don’t know yet how SUPERBIEN will transform the Opera House but you can be certain it will be absolutely awe-inspiring.

Apart from the sails there will also be more than 40 light art installations around the city during Vivid Sydney. These will include an enormous sketchpad where you can draw your own light art, a giant crystal spiderweb shimmering in the dark, a social network of friendly fireflies reacting to torch light and a group of rainbow life-size men.


The Lighting of the Sails takes place on May 27. For more information go to


To watch SUPERBIEN’s light show for ADIDAS go to




  1. Rosalie says:


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