Colorful LEDs Enliven China’s Ice City

Monique Cousineau, Social Media Specialist for Philips Lighting North America, introduces the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in this latest blog entry.

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. (Photo courtesy of Philips)

When we talk about Livable Cities, Harbin China probably isn’t even on your radar. However you will be surprised at how this city, near the Russian border in northeast China, uses illumination to lighten the spirits during the bitter cold and long winter nights with the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival.

This is an amazing showcase that illustrates how light can make winter more fun. It makes you want to forget about hibernation and encourages you to socialize at night because you feel secure and intrigued. The multicolored lights stimulate the senses even if your toes might be freezing.

Harbin is called the “Ice City” because of the cold winter winds from Siberia. In 1963 they started celebrating the local tradition of turning ice into lanterns. It was interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution and resumed in 1985.

This event has evolved into an international festival and competition. The festival includes the world’s biggest snow and ice sculptures and features work by some of the world’s best ice sculptors. Artists from Russia, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma make up 14 teams to participate in the ice sculpture contest.

(Photos Credits: Sheng Li/Reuters)

Workers spend weeks cutting large ice blocks from the frozen Songhua River before dragging the 551lb blocks towards the site of the festival. Over 8,000 artists and workers are employed to complete these frozen wonders.

Ice and Snow World is a park that comes to life when the sun goes down. Giant illuminated buildings, spectacular palaces and majestic sculptures are made from hollow blocks of ice, and illuminated using LED lights.

(Photos Credits: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Impressive during the day and mesmerizing at night, light makes these works of frozen art even more bewitching and it undeniably vivifies the surroundings.

(Photos Credits: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Whether you are strolling through the frozen houses, hiking up the icy stairs or gliding down the slides, visitors will be drawn to roam and play in this fabulous glacial wonderland.

The colorful illuminations not only highlight the sculptures but also make the entire site even more captivating, giving it an almost surreal dimension. Although there is no interactive lighting or video mapping, the abundance of vibrant multicolored lights does make these works of frozen art come to life.

A maze built with ice bricks is illuminated with colored LED lights, and massive slides lit with primary colors make it much more fun and appealing for the kids.

(Photos Credits: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

The whole site is well over 600,000 sq meters (2,000 feet). More than 180,000 square meters (600 feet) of ice and 150,000 square meters (492 feet) of snow have been used in creating this winter wonderland. Apparently some of the pieces measure more than 26 meters (85 feet) tall and 117 meters (383 feet) wide.

(Photos Credits: Alamy)

In the last 2 years the multicolored, glow in the dark, skyline on the shores of the nearby Songhua River has attracted over 28 million visitors. The 2015 Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is now taking place until February 25th.

TAGS: harbin china, ice and snow festival, ice sculpture competition, illuminated buildings, international festival, led lights, livable cities, multicolored light, outdoor lighting, songhua river

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