Luminescence: Artist Lights Up Chestnut Hill With 40,000 LED Bulbs and Handmade Orbs

The display runs along the sidewalks at the Street in Chestnut Hill.


All Photos Courtesy of Lisa Richov

After months of work—much of which began last summer, long before the cold weather hit New England—Pandora LaCasse flipped the switch on her latest holiday lights installation at the Street in Chestnut Hill, lighting up more than 40,000 LED bulbs on her hand-crafted orbs strung from trees along the pathway.

“It’s just something a little unexpected and a little delightful. You feel good looking at them. It just sort of gives you a little smile,” said LaCasse, a resident of Maine, and full-time lighting designer.

LaCasse relies on family and friends to help her gear up for the holidays to put the installations together.

An employee from WS Development, the company that owns The Street’s development in Chestnut Hill, along Route 9, plucked LaCasse from her hometown and asked her to create the artwork for the project, called “Luminescence.”

“It’s real pretty, it’s right on Route 9, which is a very busy road, so whether on foot, or in a vehicle, it’s going to be very noticeable,” said Brian Sciera of WS Development. “This is for the holidays, but it may turn into something we do year-round. We are having a lot fun at the project with lighting.”

Known to LaCasse as “light forms,” the glowing orbs look as though they are floating in midair, creating a presence of a full moon, tucked between the branches of the trees that line The Street development on Boylston Street in Newton.

Each hand-made “form” is comprised of stainless steal tubing and spring wire, and is then wrapped in bright, LED lights.

“It’s a process. The time frame for each one varies depending on the shape and size and if there are bends invovled. It can take days, or it can take weeks to develop it,”she said. “These are spheres here. We start out with the raw material, shape them, then paint them during the fabrication process and put the lights on them.”

There are 77 forms hanging from the trees in all, using  roughly 41,000 bulbs to shine for the holiday display. The forms range from two-feet to about 45-inches.

“I do lots of different things—I hang forms on buildings, some standing forms, and for the street I chose all the different trees all along the property, so each area has a sphere and same color scheme,” she said. “In the wintertime, it brings awareness of  nature to the trees, and I always think of it in terms of creating a little beauty.”