Office of Institutional Advancement

Lights, Drones, Action!

What do you get when you combine innovative design, sophisticated technology and great Jefferson medical minds?


This first-of-its-kind high-tech wonder launched in Lubert Plaza on Jefferson’s campus as part of Philadelphia’s citywide DesignPhiladelphia festival. The revolutionary art installation showcased the collaboration of Sidney Kimmel Medical College’s MEDstudio@JEFF, directed by Peter Lloyd Jones, PhD, with the award-winning Jenny Sabin Studio, which demonstrates the power of integrating medicine with architectural design to improve health and wellness. 

THE BEACON was a 20-foot-tall monument made of laser-cut steel and light-emitting yarn, with an outer skin woven by a pair of drones performing a nightly 30-minute ballet choreographed based on how visitors respond online to questions about urban regeneration.

The installation utilized data transmitted from the city’s now-in-development Rail Park, which influenced THE BEACON’s behaviors. Visitors would interact with via a web app to affect the color and pulsation of light.

Each night, drones flew in a mid-air spectacle, surrounding the surface of THE BEACON with “smart fibers” -- the US debut of a pioneering technology that will be used in wearables that offer healing qualities.

"There's a poetic balance in bringing architecture and design back into medicine," said Jones. "It used to be that it was one subject, and that eroded in the early 20th century and gave us this pharmaceutical and insurance-driven system we have today."