Six concepts that reimagine fireworks to "provoke awe and wonder"

LFA fireworks competition

Design studio Bompas & Parr is running a competition to reinvent the firework as part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture. Here are six of the most interesting concepts.

Bompas & Parr launched the competition as the studio believes that although impressive, fireworks have not significantly evolved in hundreds of years.

“Fireworks is still moving through its abstract expressionist phase,” Bompas & Parr co-founder Sam Bompas told Dezeen.

“The hope is this project is a goad to creativity, new ideas and new sensations for audiences. There’s also much scope for future sustainable fireworks.”

The studio launched the competition to celebrate the 20th anniversary of London Festival of Architecture (LFA).

Glow-in-the-dark Cornettos by Bompas and Parr

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Cornetto ice creams by Bompas & Parr glow in the dark

“Fireworks are the most celebratory medium conceivable,” said Bompas. “The aim is to create an architectural and creative project that makes you fizz.”

“One of the crucial things we are looking for is pyro-factor,” he continued. “Does the concept deliver the emotional heft and impact you’d look for in a firework display. Ideas that will provoke awe, wonder and ego death as you turn your face to the sky.”

Read on for six concepts that reimagine fireworks:

Caerulus Nubes by Human Architecture Studio

Caerulus Nubes by Human Architecture Studio

Human Architecture Studio proposed creating a swam of drones that would fly around the world, bringing light performances to the cities where people are the most depressed.

The studio envisions the drones being connected to a global depression index and automatically traveling to the city that registers as the most depressed.

“A blue-cloud weather front has the ability to turn a dark dreary city into a future blue zone where people live longer, healtier, happier lives,” explained the studio.

Rebirth Spark by Ruxing Xiao

Rebirth Spark by Ruxing Xiao

Exhibition designer Ruxing Xiao envisions creating fireworks packed with fire-germinated seeds that would explode in the air and then create new plant life on the earth below.

“In an abandoned industrial site in the city, we’re reimagining fireworks as a spark to bring life and energy back,” said Xiao.

Wisteria Bloom by Aike Akhigbe

Wisteria Bloom by Aike Akhigbe

Designed to encourage participation and combat loneliness in cities, Aike Akhigbe’s concept would be based on an app that would allow users to create imagery based on photos of wisteria to express their feelings.

These images would be combined using AI to create the basis for real-time firework displays.

“Fireworks are more than mere spectacle and entertainment,” said the team.

“They serve as markers of rituals and significant moments, bringing people together for a shared experience. This form of community placemaking can be used to address social issues in cities, such as loneliness, and contribute to overall wellbeing.”

PlankTNT by PlankLIFE

PlankTNT by PlankLIFE

PlankLIFE envisions creating naturally illuminating projectiles filled with dinoflagellates – marine plankton – and encased in sugar glass spheres. Described by the organisation as a “seed bomb for the sea”, it believes the projectiles can help repopulate areas with low levels of plankton.

“PlankTNT is part sparkler, part fun snap, part peony but entirely natural,” said the organisation. “Providing a sustainable firework that is unlike any other.”

Arachnodronenia by Sunny Wong

Arachnodronenia by Sunny Wong

With his proposal, designer Sunny Wong aims to push the emerging art of drone light shows by combining illuminated drones with laser displays.

The laser-equipped drones will be capable of connecting the spaces between drone swarms to form meshes, and they have the potential to add new visual textures to a drone light show like never before, he explained.

“This technology will allow us to create scenes like a giant spider resting on its web for a Halloween drone show,” Wong said.

Snowy Fireworks by Angelia Knyazeva

Snowy Fireworks by Angelia Knyazeva

Designer Angelia Knyazeva aims to combine fireworks and snow by encapsulating a shell with a combination of artificial snow and glowing particles.

“Once the firework reaches a certain height, the timed fuse ignites and activates the burst,” said Knyazeva. “This sets off the artificial snow mix within the firework which explodes into a dazzling display of glowing snow and sound, to present snowflakes like no other.”

London Festival of Architecture takes place from 1 to 30 June 2024 at various locations across London, UK. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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