In addition to its plethora of historic monuments ranging from the classical antiquity to the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Mediterranean city of Pula, Croatia is known by its shipyard Uljanik, one of the oldest working in the world. Uljanik, built in 1856, is again the focal point of the city: its majestic cranes are bathed in lights designed and devised by the internationally renowned lighting designer Dean Skira.

Shipyard cranes Lighting Giants project was originally conceived in 2000 in Skira’s architectural lighting design practice and last year finally supported by the Tourist Board of Pula, shipyard Uljanik and sponsored by several private companies.

“The industrial revolution in the early 19 century has brought us some new ‘monuments’ which still stand and move every day in the gentle dance of steel, helping to create some of the greatest commercial ships ever built. This dance is going on for almost 200 years and I wanted to create a colorful stage in which they perform. Becoming key players in this theatre, among tons of raw steel, light and color, we created a different role for those cranes as they move in slow motion for decades without ever being tired,” described Skira of his latest project.

The eight cranes – with the capacity of 200, 150, and 45 tons, respectively – are functional as well as monumental. The shipyard is active and continues to build ships, which makes this project unique in the world. Uljanik and Skira technicians illuminated the cranes with 73 Philips RGB LED spotlights, weighing 40 kg each. Each light consists of 64 pieces of LED chips that can be programmed to 16 thousand different variations of color and intensity. Blinds were used to prevent unnecessary dispersion and light pollution and to create additional diffusion effects.

Pula's Lighting Giants were lit for the first time during Visualia, the festival of lights in collaboration with the Tourist Board of Pula. The cranes continue to shine for fifteen minutes on every hour from 9pm till midnight, giving the city of Pula the living sculpture to be proud of.

Watch the video of the inauguration ceremony below.

SHIPYARD CRANES - LIGHTING GIANTS from Skira on Vimeo.