The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was a momentous occasion observed by millions around Germany.

Tasked with this high-profile commemoration, brothers Christopher and Marc Bauder created a poignant reminder both of the wall itself and its fall in the shape of a 15 kilometer-long line of 7000 LED lamps — which illuminated the white balloons that sat atop them — recreating its path in dividing a city. On November 9, 2014, hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets while the balloons were affixed with notes and wishes and released (by those who wrote the notes) into the night sky, extinguishing that barrier of light. The large-scale installation, called Lichtgrenze or Light Limit, worked both as a sharp reminder and celebration, a simple attraction with immediate implications, taking place all over the city — an artistic and logistic success reported on by many major news organizations across the world. Requiring the direct participation of 8000 people, it was also something of a social sculpture, observing the past in a distinctly modern way as a powerful example of public art.

While “light artist” Christopher Bauder has had a number of major commissions before, especially in the commercial realm, Lichtgrenze was also a major step forward for the artist himself, seeing him touch a vast public with a simple idea. Proof of a national imagination captured? “Lichtgrenze” was declared Germany’s 2014 word of the year.