A lighting project unlike any other, Tribute in Light has commemorated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and celebrated the power of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. Originally illuminated on March 11, 2002, six months after the terrorist attacks, these symbolic pillars of light, meant to recall the silhouettes of the Twin Towers, are a powerful statement. Lighting designer Paul Marantz of Fisher Marantz Stone (whose firm also designed the lighting for The National September 11 Memorial, Read “Illuminated Tribute”) was called upon to realize the design initiated by architects John Bennett and Gustavo Bonevardi, artists Paul Myoda and Julian Laverdiere, and architect Richard Nash Gould.

The lighting equipment and space requirements have been anything but simple. As rebuilding efforts at the World Trade Center site have developed over the past 14 years, the installation site has had to move. Initially located in a vacant lot in Battery Park City at West and Vesey Streets, today the display is illuminated from the roof of a parking garage to the south of the World Trade Center site. Each pillar of light is composed of 44 individual luminaires set in a 50-foot square. The 5000K, 7000W xenon spotlights beam four miles into the night sky and can be seen up to 20 miles away. The image of the twin beams of light has become a cultural symbol as iconic as the original buildings.

The Municipal Art Society, with funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) ensured the illumination of Tribute in Light, annually on the Sept. 11 anniversary, through 2011. In 2012, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum assumed responsibility for the display.