Janet Echelman’s 230-foot-long aerial sculpture was installed over the Amstel River from atop the Amsterdam Stopera, which houses the City Hall and Muziektheater. The 1.26 sculpture is a made entirely of soft materials, including Spectra® fiber, a material 15 times stronger than steel by weight, which allows it to attach to existing architecture without extra reinforcement. A unique lighting program integrates an undulation of changing and contrasting colors, reflected on the water below. The sculpture becomes an ethereal form which transforms day to night, and in darkness appears to “float in thin air.”

The form and content of the artwork draws inspiration from the interconnectedness of Earth’s systems. The artist used laboratory data from NASA and NOAA on the effects of the 2010 Chile earthquake, and the resulting 1.26-microsecond shortening of the Earth’s day. The sculpture’s three-dimensional form is inspired by Echelman’s mapping of tsunami wave heights across an entire ocean.

As the signature project of the 2012-2013 Amsterdam Light Festival, the artwork underscores global interdependence.

“In Amsterdam, the river and canals have been central to city life for the last four centuries,” said Echelman. “The light reflections on the water's surface become a focus of the sculpture here, creating an opportunity for contemplation. The sculpture invites you to pause and consider how we’re knitted into a larger fabric.”

Rogier van der Heide, internationally acclaimed lighting designer and curator of the Amsterdam Light Festival, said Echelman’s sculpture “provided more meaning to public spaces, showed the beauty of simplicity, and – probably most importantly – brought people together.”

To date, the 1.26 sculpture has been installed in 11 cities on 4 continents: Denver, Colorado (2010), Sydney, Australia (2011), Amsterdam, Netherlands (2013), Singapore (2014), Montreal, Canada (2015, 2016, 2017), Prague, Czech Republic (2015), Durham, UK (2015), Santiago, Chile (2016), Shanghai, China (2017), Chiayi, Taiwan (2018), and Hong Kong, China (2018).


Spectra® Fiber, high-tenacity polyester fiber, and colored lighting.
Dimensions of net: 80 ft. length x 60 ft. width x 30 ft. depth
Installation Dimensions: 230 ft. length x 140 ft. width x 30 ft. height


Art: Janet Echelman, Janet Echelman Inc.
Studio Echelman Project Managers: Melissa Henry, Daniel Zeese
Site Engineer: David Jansen (Amsterdam)
Design Engineer: Peter Heppel Associates (Paris)
Lighting Design: Rogier van der Heide, Floriaan Ganzevoort, Phillips Lighting (Amsterdam)
Photos: Klaas Fopma, Janus van den Eijnden, Laura Taylor, (Amsterdam); David Feldman (Studio Echelman)


Suspended over the Amstel River in front of the Amsterdam Stopera (the City Hall and Opera House) Amsterdam, Netherlands