There's a new kind of firework and it's blowing our minds
If you’ve always dreamed of seeing Led Zepplin’s song “Stairway to Heaven” come to life, look no further. Chinese artist, Cai Guo-qiang, gave us just that when he set off his awesome pyrotechnic display, Sky Ladder, back in June. For Sky Ladder is no ordinary firework —it’s a firework that’s in the shape of a giant ladder that keeps going and going and going. Rad.
So what IS this firework exactly, and how does it work? Well, according to Yahoo, “The installation is a 500 meter-high structure made from wires laced with fireworks, which was hoisted into the sky by a large weather balloon.” Guo-qianq set off the ladder in his hometown of Quanzhou City, China in dedication and celebration of his grandmother’s 100th birthday.
According to Guo-qiang’s website, this was his fourth attempt at showing off his brilliant design. He first attempted it back in 1994, but strong winds kept the balloon from taking flight. Then in 2001, he had to postpone his plan for a second time when Shanghai hosted the APEC summit after the September 11, 2001 attacks restricted aerial access at the summit and kept him from releasing his balloon. In 2012 while in Los Angeles on a research trip, he tried for the third time to set off the ladder. But he had to snuff out his plan after receiving word he would first need the approval of all residents living in the area.
Despite these numerous setbacks, Guo-qianq continued pursuing the Sky Ladder, determined to see his firework display shoot to the skies. Now after 21 years of dreaming, he has succeeded in igniting his incredible design, in an even more personal way than first expected.
“Behind Sky Ladder lies a clear childhood dream of mine. Despite all life’s twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it,” He says on his website. “My earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.”
We wonder what else lies in store for Guo-qianq’s journey. Perhaps a real life Harry Potter firework dragon?! (Oh please, please, please!) While the video of Sky Ladder only lasts about a minute, we will be basking in the awesomeness of his firework display for much longer.