3-D Projections Will Illuminate Boston Public Library for the Holidays

The light show presents odes to the BPL's architecture, local traditions, and more.

boston public library celebration of lights

Courtesy of AGB Events

Across the world from Boston, AGB Events principal and creative director Anthony Bastic has been transforming the facades of the Sydney Opera House, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and other landmarks into canvas for colorful light projections during annual public celebrations.

But he’s always been drawn to Boston, passing through the city many times over the years while visiting family in the area. This month, Bastic has returned with a team of designers in tow, after an invitation from the City of Boston and the nonprofit LuminArtz to show off their signature style on the exterior of the Boston Public Library’s central branch. It will be the group’s first installation in the U.S.

“The impression that I have of Boston is that it’s a city of imagination, it’s one of those great cities of the world, which encourages and rewards people to think big,” says Bastic. “We hope that Bostonians and people from Massachusetts like what we’ve created, and we have been mindful of the various traditions and history and tried to present your city in the best possible ways that we can.”

Titled “Mayor’s Celebration of Lights, Lights of Boston,” the installation will take place on the Dartmouth Street side of the historic building, with various animated scenes—featuring hand-drawn images—unfolding over the course of about ten minutes, rendered with 3-D projection mapping technology.

“I thought that the library was just such a fabulous location, with a square in front of it, which offered great viewing platforms for audiences to come together and watch the show,” says Bastic. “It’s centrally located, very easy to get to, and it’s a really hospitable part of Boston.”

One of the light show’s displays will celebrate the BPL’s architecture.

“We’ve looked at some of the beautiful patterns that appear on the inlay of the marble inside the library, and we’ve animated them so that they appear to grow on the facade of this majestic building,” says Bastic.

Another display, filled with hundreds of purple, magenta, pink, and blue firework-like elements, will serve as a nod to the United Nations’ declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Light.

“We wanted to celebrate and acknowledge this fact and demonstrate how Boston plays a big part in light technology,” says Bastic.

Other parts of the show were inspired by local traditions and history. One sequence presents an ode to The Nutcracker (“I think I counted about four or five versions being performed all over Boston,” says Bastic) and another was inspired by the Colonial tradition of placing candles in windows to serve as beacons of safety and hope to guide ships home.

The installation will be projected onto the BPL every night from 5 to 10 p.m., from Thursday, December 17, through Sunday, December 20. The show will play on a loop every evening, and Bastic encourages people to stay for multiple rounds—or even all five hours if they want to. He and his team will be in the audience as well.

“It’s always rewarding that we’re fortunate enough to get in amongst the crowd and hear what all their comments are firsthand,” he says. “I’m very nervous, but I hope that we’ve captured Boston appropriately and in a celebratory way.”

Take a sneak peek at the opening sequence below: