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Heart Beacon is an interactive enclosure of light, color, and sound located at the Emergency Coordination Center in Portland, Oregon. The sculpture acts as a symbol of hope and resilience for the community, similar to a lighthouse in that it both comforts and warns. The simple geometry and gentle curve of the two halves resemble wings and exude strength and calm in a time of crisis. This highly interactive sculpture takes the literal and metaphoric ‘pulse’ of the Portland community. The sculpture takes inspiration from the life-saving mission of the Emergency Coordination Center.

During the day, sunlight streams through the acrylic walls creating a diffused glow of light and shadow patterns. There are two touch-activated pulse sensors that visitors are able to touch and trigger a heartbeat noise within the walls of the sculpture. In the evening, energy-efficient color-changing LED lighting projects rhythmic lighting displays along the walls of the sculpture in sync with visitors’ heartbeats. People are encouraged to work together to coordinate pulse-activated lighting effects. Heart Beacon celebrates life and the inspiration to protect it by bringing preparedness into each person’s daily life.




Emergency Coordination Center, Portland, OR


9' x 9' x 18'


stainless steel, acrylic, LED lighting, electronics, sound transducers, heartbeat sensors

Commissioning Agency: 

City of Portland


Joe O'Connell

Blessing Hancock

Heart Beacon

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