Chasing rainbows: Inside Silo Park's rainbow machine for little ones

Through Auckland’s summer months just passed, Silo Park was home to a bright yellow machine that faced the sun and made rainbows, all without needing a single raindrop.

A feat of engineering, art and design, the structure uses eight custom-made lenses to refract light and is encased in an aesthetic shell that houses complex moving parts.

Each spring and summer, the Rainbow Machine will re-locate to a different part of the city, enabling rainbow-making to happen whenever the sun is shining. Last month, the machine was packed away until it will return once again at the start of spring.  

The idea initially came into being in response to the Waitematā Local Board’s desire to bring an interactive art experience to the city to engage young children when they’re playing outdoors.

Rainbow Machine was the brainchild of Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Patrick Loo and Sarosha Mulla. The three artists are long-term friends and have worked on other collaborative design and art experience projects for public spaces in Auckland in the past.

Fred Houet from Holmes Consulting was also part of the team behind the creation of Rainbow Machine. Brought in to help with the project two years ago, Fred and a team from Holmes Consulting were tasked with designing a structure that was durable, aesthetically striking and had the ability to channel light through a prism to create rainbows.

In addition to Holmes Engineering, this group project also involved the skills of scientists from Callaghan Innovation, Kiwistar Optics, and Otahuhu Engineering.

The Rainbow Machine project was funded and delivered by Auckland Council and it is now part of the city’s public art collection for locals to enjoy in the coming years.

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