Washington, D.C.’s local NPR affiliate, WAMU, recently featured Mikyoung Kim Design’s Potomac River Kaleidoscope project. The piece, “What’s With the Kaleidoscope Tower on D.C.’s 14th Street Bridge?” explores the gateway landmark’s surprising evolution, as part of WAMU’s “What’s With Washington” series.
In the story, Mikyoung speaks about the site’s transformation from a boarded-up tower into the colorful beacon that captivates residents today. An excerpt is below:
“I used to love kaleidoscopes when I was a kid,” Kim said. “I was fascinated with how these mirrors create infinite patterns.”
She built six structures for the tower out of mirror and dichroic glass, a material that fractures light. A central light fixture sends light through the mirrors and glass and into the sight lines of people passing by in cars, trains, bikes, airplanes, or on foot. Each person sees something different.
“It’s perceptual,” Kim explained. “As you move around it – whether you’re in a boat, train or car – your movement is actually making the color change.”