An unfamiliar icy glow shrouded Vancouver city hall’s familiar art-deco silhouette yesterday as the city switched on its new external lighting.

Ice Lights, a permanent light installation by German artist Gunda Förster, features large LED strips throwing an icy glow onto each of the building’s four terraces. The lights cascade for one minute, every time the clock strikes the hour.

It is Förster’s first North American piece.

The LEDs will reduce the city’s energy consumption for external lighting by 70 per cent.

Ice Lights is one of 25 permanent and temporary artworks under the city’s $6-million Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program.

“These are the works that reflect the spirit and the value and the visions — the poetry of the place,” said Bryan Newson, the city’s public-art program manager.

The $6-million investment is the largest in the history of the city’s public-art program.

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