Eight kilometres of gentle pathways and wooden walking trails lead visitors through central Croatia’s Plitvička Jezera National Park. Natural dams of travertine form upper and lower levels with a total of sixteen lakes, each encircled by forest and dotted with waterfalls. Working their way down the mountain, hikers take in the waters’ shifting colours of green and azure, just one beautiful phenomenon of this lush landscape – a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site north of Zadar.
In the littoral city, families gather on a series of long marble steps along Zadar’s Nova Riva to swim and watch the sunset. While children launch themselves off the pier in convoluted dives and titanic cruise ships leave the nearby port, musical notes emanate from below the stone boardwalk in concert with the ebb and flow of the tide. Each lapping of the waves strikes lengths of pipe hidden underneath the stairs, their energy pushing an air column and emitting different chords through perforations in the ground. The resulting Sea Organ, as part of the overall design of the coastal promenade, is one of two art installations on the waterfront by Croatian architect Nikola Bašić. You can hear it here.
The other installation, immediately adjacent, is a solar art display in the form of a 22-metre diameter circle, entitled Greeting to the Sun (Istarska Obala). Embedded under glass that is flush with the stone promenade, photo-voltage solar modules absorb the sun’s energy and transform it into electrical energy, creating a dynamic play of lights. The synergy of both projects makes this urban public space even more successful when charged with its nightly performance.