River Lights – South Bend, Indiana


Consultant and designer for River Lights, a river lighting feature in South Bend, Indiana, including custom light sculptures. Includes St. Joseph River area, banks, trails, falls, adjacent public buildings, bridges, and interactive light towers.

Lighting Ceremony on May 22, 2015, as part of South Bend’s 150th Birthday weekend.

Downtown South Bend’s River Lights Site

River Lights Location-specific considerations

Nighttime implications on bridge traffic. Designed placement of water lights to avoid vehicle sight lines. Illuminated under-side of bridge as an accent to glowing water rapids without impacting drivers’ visibility.

Public Art with Interactive Elements

Focal point for downtown community, events, and activities. River light and tower colors change to match seasonal and awareness events, celebrate local team wins, and coordinate with nearby private events. Interactive light towers allow people on both sides of the river to “throw” and “catch” colored light across the river.

Green, Sustainable Design

Energy efficient, long life LEDs reduce carbon footprint of project and maintenance costs.

Press for River Lights

Lit in amber to honor those who died of Covid-19 (in ‘Celebrating America’ Inauguration Special January 2021)

Mentioned in New York Times editorial about South Bend mayor, Pete Buttigieg: “New construction and the dazzling River Lights public art installation, which bathes a cascading stretch of South Bend’s principal waterway in a rainbow of hues, are reinvigorating the city center.”

Featured in CODAmagazine’s January 2016 Issue: Light as Art III. River Lights project in CODAmagazine.

South Bend River Lights – Projection, Lights and Staging News January 2017

River of Light – Lighting and Sound America, December 2015 PDF (with permission)

All about River Lights – South Bend Tribune

‘South Bend River Lights’ Lit with Martin Architectural Fixtures – Production Light and Stage News, Nov 17, 2015


/ / /

Project details
  • Client: City of South Bend Incorporated, Indiana
  • Date: May 2015

Related Projects