Dezeen Magazine

UFO over Gdansk by Peter Coffin and Cinimod Studio

UFO over Gdansk by Peter Coffin and Cinimod Studio

Artist Peter Coffin and lighting designers Cinimod Studio collaborated on a lighting display that involved flying a UFO over Gdansk in Poland earlier this month.

UFO over Gdansk by Peter Coffin and Cinimod Studio

The performance was part of the Gdansk Festival of Stars.

UFO over Gdansk by Peter Coffin and Cinimod Studio

The aluminium UFO structure used measured 7 metres across and was covered in 3000 individually controlled LEDs.

UFO over Gdansk by Peter Coffin and Cinimod Studio

Controlled by a solid state computer and powered by an onboard generator, the LEDs displayed a series of changing patterns.

The UFO circled the city centre suspended from a helicopter on 4 July. Watch a video of the performance here.

Images are courtesy of Open Art Projects and Peter Coffin.

The following information is from Cinimod Studio:


"A UFO has been spotted over the historic town of Gdansk, Poland, on July 4 2008. The UFO flew in along the coast from the nearby town of Sopot, and then circled the centre of Gdansk. The UFO made its startling and surprising appearance soon after sunset. It appeared to be covered in lights displaying a series of geometric colour patterns. "

Cinimod Studio already has a reputation for creating innovative lighting and structural designs, but with the UFO project design director Dominic Harris has quite literally pushed the envelope and taken lighting design to new heights. The photos and video links published here are record photograph of the preparation and the flights, and have not been modified beyond basic colour and exposure corrections.

"Untitled (UFO)" is an art project conceived by established New York artist Peter Coffin and created in collaboration with London-based Cinimod Studio. Coffin had been wanting to create a public UFO flight performance for several years, but it was not until he met Harris that he had the confidence to proceed with making his vision a reality. After an intense period of structural and electrical design, and fabrication, the UFO made its inaugural public appearance on 4th July 2008 as a part of the Gdansk Festival of Stars.

To realise the UFO, Cinimod Studio worked closely with a multitude of specialist suppliers, and monitored the progress via regular workshop visits. A "transfer of technologies" saw electronic and mechanical designs developed for a standard application re-appropriated and modified for integration within the UFO project.

The overall UFO structure is 7 metres in diameter and manufactured of aluminium for lightness. 3000 bright and individually controllable Color Kinetics LED nodes have been arrayed across the structure and are controlled via a solid state computer. An onboard 6 kw generator provides the system power, and the overall UFO can be remotely controllable via SMS messaging. It is suspended from 8 points to a single 50m strap line attached to the Mi2 helicopter above.


Artist Peter Coffin has created a truly phenomenal artwork which due to the scale, complexity and sheer audacity of the project, would not have been possible without the support of a number of key sponsors and suppliers. Primary sponsorship came from Warsaw's Open Art Project and New York's Art Production Fund. The LED lighting was sponsored by Color Kinetics / Philips.

The overall physical and lighting design and coordination was by Cinimod Studio, with Mike Harrison of White Wing Logic providing the electrical systems design and on-site electrical engineering. A special thank you is also extended to LiteStructures, Architainment, Pharos Controls, Harrington Generators, the Gdansk Shipyard, the festival organisers, and the incredible mountain-rescue pilots responsible for the safe take-off and landing of the UFO!

Image credits: Untitled (UFO), 2008 ongoing. Appearances: Baltic Sea Region, Gdansk, Sopot; Southeast Region of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. Courtesy of Open Art Projects and the artist, © Peter Coffin, 2011.