Fireworks Ladder

2015-10-31 11:05


Watch: This mind-blowing firework ladder stretches all the way to the sky

This fiery art installation was created by renowned Chinese-born artist Cai Guo-Qiang in June this year and, as you can see, it's pretty damn breathtaking. It begins like a pretty standard fireworks show but quickly lights up a gasp-inducing ladder that just keeps on climbing higher and higher into the sky. Guo-Qiang has been working on the display for more than 20 years and this was his third attempt to create what he calls the 'Sky Ladder', but we think it was definitely worth the wait.


Guo-Qiang created the display for his grandmother, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, and it's since been seen more than 40 million times on Facebook. His vision with the artwork was to create a "stairway to heaven".

So how exactly do you create a giant ladder that lights up the dawn sky? Although it looks pretty magical, the artist actually used a large weather balloon to suspend a 500-metre long wire ladder, which was studded with gold fireworks, quick-burning fuses and gunpowder, Matt Payton reports for Yahoo News.

First, Guo-Qiang sent the weather balloon rocketing up into the sky, dragging the ladder with it, before setting off a chain reaction of explosions along its length to produce the light show you see above

The New-York based artist is famous for his large-scale installations and is no stranger to using explosions in his work. "Gradually, I began to create works with gunpowder, and my works became more conceptual. Creating art has always been enjoyable and amusing; it has been my time-space tunnel," Guo-Qiang told Laura Thomson from art magazine Ocula last year.

This particularly spectacular 80-second spectacle occurred in Quanzhou City in China's southeast Fujian Province on June 15, just before dawn, but Guo-Qiang has been attempting the 'Sky Ladder' since 1994.

His first attempts more than two decades ago in Bath, UK, were thwarted by strong winds. In 2001 he was ready to try again to celebrate Shanghai hosting the APEC summit. But then the September 11 attacks happened and air space access was heavily restricted, so he put the light show on hold again. 

Despite the delay, we think it's kind of perfect timing that he finally achieved the installation in time for his grandmother's 100th birthday – we can't imagine a more impressive way to celebrate.

You can see some more of Guo-Qiang's incredible explosive works below: