Dan Corson’s new solar-powered sculptures were inspired by “monkey cups”—quirky tropical pitcher plants whose leaf vases provide a source of water for monkeys. Beautiful, quirky and exotically colorful, the 17-foot sculptures scattered along NW Davis Street in Portland, Oregon, are made from layers of translucent fiberglass with LEDs wrapping around a steel spine.
The name of the pieces, Nepenthes, is also a Greek word for a magical potion that makes one forget all the pain and sorrow. Like the legendary medicine, the colorful LED sculptures are meant to provide a brief escape from the hectic daily life.
Custom made solar panels on the top powers the batteries and allows circular shadows to backlight the tops of the sculptures during the day. The sculptures are identical in shape, but feature a wide variety of colors and patterns that emanate an intense glow.
The Portland Mall design team, lead by ZGF, commissioned Dan Corson to create several lighting pieces which would help increase pedestrian connectivity from Old Town to the Pearl District. Along with other artists and neighbors, the project was supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council who worked with Portland Transportation on placing the sculptures along Davis Street.