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JAMES THOMAS ENGINEERING played a crucial role in bringing to life a one-of-a-kind interactive lighting display in South Bend, Indiana to celebrate its 150th birthday and add another layer of revitalization to the city. Designed by internationally renowned lighting designer Rob Shakespeare, it’s the world’s first interactive display of light over a body of water.

South Bend is a picturesque city with the St. Joseph River majestically flowing and cascading through its downtown area. Beautiful and vibrant during the day, the river turns dark and grim when the sun goes down. Rob’s goal was to activate this area in the evening and unite the different demographics of the east and west banks with a fun, interactive destination.

The unique, interactive lighting display is made up of five components: The Jefferson St. bridge, the “Keepers of the fire” sculpture, the downstream crescent that lights up the cascades, the trio sculpture on Century City Island, and the Forest Towers directly across the river at Seitz Park.

JAMES THOMAS ENGINEERING aluminum trusses are used in eight interactive sculptures (17’ – 33’ tall), one 45’ horizontal arc sculpture, 4 arches on the 500’ Jefferson Bridge, illumination of diSuvero’s “Keeper of the Fire” sculpture, and dynamic lighting of the river’s 250 foot white water cascades.

Rob Shakespeare and Aaron Perri, Executive Director of Downtown South Bend Corp., worked together for three years to realize this project. Members of the Project Team who contributed their time and expertise included Richard Chapman, Corey Noland, Tim Moran, Mike Brubaker, Sean Smallman and Landscape Architect Chris Chockley.

Think outside the box with JAMES THOMAS ENGINEERING truss and support structures. A world of possibilities is in your hands.