Have you heard about the Colour By Numbers? No? Allow us to explain what it is all about. In southern Stockholm, there exists a Phone Tower – Telefonplan – that is 72 meters tall and was the former headquarter of Ericsson. The building is a known landmark and is the tallest building in the neighborhood.
Each night, the windows of the top ten floors of the non-operational Phone Tower turn on with lights that are unique. The colors continue to change as per the wishes of the public, and that is Colour By Numbers in a nutshell. The lights have been wired to a computer that can change them according to how people interact with the app on their mobile phones.
Colour By Numbers was an art installation that came to be because of a collaborative effort between interaction designer Loove Broms , architect Milo Laven, and artist Erik Krikortz. The light installation was inaugurated as a temporary art installation at Telefonplan back in 2006. It appeared two years later in Seville, Spain. The art installation was so well-received by the public that by 2011, Colour By Numbers was made into a permanent feature of Stockholm.
When it first appeared, people had to call a number and then use their phone’s keypad for choosing the floor they wanted to light up and which color they wanted to choose. However, when Colour By Numbers was relaunched in 2011, it came with a smartphone app that enabled users to interact with the lights in an easier way. You can simply change the amount of three primary colors – red, blue, and green – to create a plethora of colors.
Colour By Numbers enables people to enjoy a sense of connection by allowing them to have a direct impact on their environment and imparting control of it to them. According to Linda Ryan Bengtsson, ‘Through Colour by Numbers the user is given the opportunity to make an input in the public space. An arena usually defined by industrial and political institutions becomes reachable by the citizen. Colour by Numbers wants to discuss who has the control of and access to the public space by exploring means to open these spaces to the citizens.’