An interactive courtyard designed by the Montreal-based studio Daily Tous Les Jours does just that, using embedded light sensors and speakers, triggered by a user’s shadow, to create melodious sounds. Called Mesa Musical Shadows, the installation encourages passersby to playfully flail around, blocking the light above each sensor to play different musical notes.
The pavement’s tones change throughout the day depending on the angle of the sun—from chorus-like human sounds to more instrumental and animal-like voices. A set of floodlights ringing the area mean that the music doesn’t need to end at sundown.
The designers plan to continue refining the system’s musical responses, tuning their odd interactive instrument to create more sophisticated songs in response to a user’s movements. The installation is a remarkable instance of engaging architecture and placemaking with the ethereal and insubstantial—shadow and song.