Celebrations and fireworks mark holidays, cultural achievements, historical events and other landmark occasions. Notably, however, parties often come with copious amounts of waste that’s both unnecessary and harmful to the planet. 

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A firework light show during a dark night sky

With this idea in mind, Artist Daan Roosegaarde has taken an organic approach to the problem of traditional fireworks. While it’s become a standard part of many observances such as New Year, Independence Day and the Olympic games, blasting off fireworks contributes to air and water pollution. Plus, the manufacturing process is resource consuming. Annually, fireworks are also the cause of many wildfires.

Related: Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

A woman looking at multicolor lights set against the dark sky

In conjunction with Studio Roosegaarde, the artist developed a way to create the awe of fireworks in a more sustainable fashion. The result is a mystical show of floating lights called SPARK. It replicates the traditional experience of observing lights in the sky.

“For many people, the current situation feels restrictive and traditional fireworks are getting prohibited everywhere,” said Artist Roosegaarde. “SPARK Bilbao is a place of wonder, which triggers reflection and shows a new sustainable alternative of celebrating together.”

A man with a kid on his shoulders staring up at the night sky

While the show skips the loud booms and pops that drive the neighborhood dogs mad, SPARK is a captivating art display. It also honors the animals of nature by mirroring the glow of fireflies. 

Multicolor lights reminiscent of sparks across the sky

The enchanting display relies on a combination of technology and creative design. As a result, it creates the replacement for not only fireworks, but other traditional celebratory pollutants like balloons and confetti. 

A person looking at yellow sparks decorating the night sky

Creating a silent and enduring impression meant also taking the environment into consideration. In effect, SPARK is created from biodegradable materials that won’t leave a mark on the planet. The floating light sparks are moved by the wind, creating a 50 x 30 x 50 meters cloud to prompt wonder in visitors. This encourages them to consider their connection to each other, themselves and the planet. 

Spark decorating across a night sky

“Celebrations are an important moment for communities to gather together and cherish their cultures. SPARK Bilbao evokes a child-like wonder which reconnects communities,” said Corinna Otto, museum director Draiflessen Collection and curator of The Wellbeing Summit.

Roosegaarde presented the show at the Wellbeing Summit in Bilbao-Biscay, Spain and launched it just before the Chinese New Year. SPARK will be exhibited June 1 to 3, 2022 in Bilbao-Biscay.

+ Studio Roosegaarde

Images via Dan Roosegaarde