Built between 1899 and 1900, the 75-foot lighthouse once stood more than 650 feet inland from the North Sea, atop a coastal slope in Northern Jutland. As years passed, the shoreline eroded, and wind-blown sands slowly buried the towering beacon. The lighthouse was eventually decommissioned in 1968 and turned into a museum and coffee shop. It was finally abandoned in 2002, and left to the ravages of nature and time.
The Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse will likely topple into the water by 2020 if the coastline’s cliffs continue to wear away at a normal pace. But thanks to a handful of cultural organizations and local agencies, the lighthouse now has a short-lived second life as a stunning piece of public art.
Danish design firms Bessards’ Studio and JAJA Architects recently installed a wind-powered rotating mirror inside the lighthouse’s tower, where a lantern once sat. As the mirror moves with the breeze, it reflects the surrounding landscape and produces prisms of color and light. Visitors can climb up a new staircase built inside the lighthouse’s shaft to see the giant kaleidoscope up close.
The Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse officially re-opened last spring, but it won't be a public space for long. Once the shore has eroded enough to make the lighthouse unsafe, the kaleidoscope will be uninstalled, and the structure will be swallowed by the North Sea.
Watch a video of the art installation in motion above.
[h/t Fast Co Design]
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