Tidal Light

Translating tide data into a public light sculpture on Boston Harbor

If you look north from Boston out across the water to Charlestown, you’ll see ten glowing stripes of sparkling blue light rising up from the tip of Constitution Wharf. Part of a new public artwork by Sosolimited called Tidal Light, the lights show a real-time visualization of the tides in Boston Harbor.

Data is updated in real time from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The movement and color of the lights are driven by the tide height and wave conditions for Buoy Station 44013, located 16 miles east of Boston in Massachusetts Bay.

The lighting simulates a scene of water and sky, showing the current tide level with the height of the horizon and wave conditions through the movement of the water. The colors of the artwork shift throughout the day, moving from a warm orange glow at dawn to a vibrant purple at dusk.

National Development commissioned the artwork as part of the renovation of Constitution Wharf. An illuminated teak wall in the lobby greets visitors to the building with a dynamic surface of color. Ten glowing pylons on the marina activate the public running path and form a beacon visible from all over the city.

The installation celebrates the rich nautical history of the Charlestown Navy Yard and brings public attention to rising sea levels by transforming the ebb and flow of the tides into moving light.


National Development


Strategy & Planning

Concept Development

Data Visualization

Installations & Placemaking

Software Development

Fabrication & Install

Ten glowing stripes of sparkling blue light rise up from the tip of Constitution Wharf.
Tidal Light shows a real time visualization of the tides in Boston Harbor.
During golden hour, the lights emit a warm orange glow.
Press & Accolades

“We got really excited about this data-driven design piece. It brought a real connection to the environment.”

Tucker Kelton, National Development
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