Christopher Moulder’s large-scale lighting sculpture, Mammatus, shines in the Arrivals Hall at the new Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia.
Known for his spectacular lighting designs, the City of Atlanta commissioned Moulder to create an artwork for the new international terminal after seeing the Santa Trap, one of Moulder’s previous outdoor lighting sculptures.
“But the Santa Trap lights up at night, outside, when it’s dark,” says Christopher Moulder. “And the Arrivals Hall is a space filled 24/7 with both natural and ambient light. I realized immediately if this piece was going to be successful it needed to be able to exist as a sculpture, with or without lights.”
Inspired by the otherworldly formation of mammatocumulous clouds, and grounded in the physics of catenary curves, Moulder designed this piece in RHINO using Grasshopper parametric modeling software. It was structurally engineered by Atlanta-based, Stability Engineering.
Made with over 8 miles of nickel-plated bead chain, the 8′ H x 24′ W x 42′ L sculpture weighs almost 3000 pounds. “Mammatus is by far the largest project I’ve ever designed and engineered,” Moulder says. It took three months to build, and 10 days to install.
The sculpture is lit with 30 color-kinetic RGB LED light luminaires. Moulder programed these to change color according to the date and time of day.
Built first in his studio in Atlanta’s West End, when the sculpture was lit the hues were rich and saturated. Hanging now in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Arrivals Hall Mammatus sparkles, instead, with the changing light and the artist’s script.