02. Dec 2009

No. 69 – Public and semi-public spaces

Nov/Dec 2009

Visual symphony
Grand Canal in Hangzhou/ROC
Text: David Müller
In classical terms, a symphony is a musical composition in which various individual pieces are combined to form one harmonious work. It is not the soloists that play the leading role, but rather the entire orchestra. French lighting designer Roger Narboni together with the Zhongtai Lighting Group in China created a gigantic symphony of light in Hangzhou/ROC. In just eight months the two lighting designers developed a lighting concept for a ten-kilometre stretch of the riverbank along the Grand Canal that runs through Hangzhou. The project specifically avoids dramatic statements and monumental star roles. The goal was to create a balanced, harmonious overall impression that is a pleasure to the eye.

Inside outside – striking the balance
Devonshire Square in London/UK
Text: David Müller
They say that in London people exchange more information over a couple of beers after work than via e-mail. Be that as it may, going ‘down the pub’ for a chat and a laugh is the way many Brits choose to spend their free time. Since British weather is not always reliable, most of the social drinking goes on inside pubs and bars rather than outdoors. At Devonshire Square in London/UK people can eat and drink outside whenever they fancy. The location is based in and around some old 18th century warehouses; the inner courtyard has received a roof so weather is never an issue. To ensure the atmosphere was right the architects commissioned Speirs and Major Associates to design the lighting. The lighting design addresses the different design elements inherent to the courtyard and ties them into a solution that generates the kind of space people readily adopt as a comfortable, friendly meeting place.

The quiet welcome
Ruentex Tun-Rein condominium in Taipei/TWA
Text: David Müller
What is creativity? According to an online encyclopedia creativity is a “mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas, concepts or associations”. Pure creativity lies at the heart of the profession of lighting design. But a design is only good if its centre of focus is the human being. Together with architect and interior designer Wing Hun Wong, Taiwanese lighting designer Ta-Wei Lin has created a residential building with an atmosphere that is both complimentary and intimate. Instead of trying to impress with variegated, colorful lights and unwanted sparkle the resulting scheme refers quietly to natural forms and structures. With its very own kind of charm Ruentex Tunhua-Renai Residential Building welcomes its guests with a huge wooden egg, a white tongue and 155 glass cigars.

Glow in the dark
Motorway bridges in Nyborg/DK
Text: David Müller
There are not many drivers who can say they enjoy long motorway trips in the dark, especially not when the band of grey asphalt reeling out in front of them seems to be never-ending. From time to time road signs or motorway services loom up only to disappear into the night. Basically the journey consists of nothing more than driving in a more or less straight line through blackness. But wait a minute! What’s that? Something ahead seems to be glowing in the dark. It looks like regular rows of green tree trunks with a layer of white leaves connecting them at the top like a band. The people responsible for this mini section of luminous forest are the lighting designers from the Danish design practice ÅF – Hansen & Henneberg. The lighting they have designed for two motorway bridges in Denmark is not only interesting to look at. It is designed to accentuate the structures of the bridges and thus help to prevent accidents.

Lighting design in Asia – a challenge
A report on lighting designers with European roots working in Asia
Text: Martin Klaasen
For a lighting designer, doing projects in Asia may seem exciting and exotic. Walking the streets of Shanghai or Bangkok is quite special: different languages, food, cultural habits and the incredible building density make it feel like a privilege to work in Asia. But doing projects in such a different environment is not only fun and excitement. Often there are big challenges to overcome. Dutch lighting designer Martin Klaasen has worked and lived in Asia for over 20 years. This is his personal report on how he experienced this fascinating part of the world.

James Turrell – light as an absolute metaphor
A year of the superlatives for the American light artist
Text: Inge Friebe
“I explore light as one would a new continent”, proclaims the 66-year-old artist. For him light is “enlightenment, revelation, spirit”. When art historians see Turrell’s work in the context of American Color Field Painting, and like to compare works such as his “Tall Glass Pieces” with pictures painted by Mark Rothko, one should also remember that the artistic path he has followed is closely linked to the technological developments of the last few decades. The current state of this technological development is something he feels is incredibly exciting: “I so wish lighting technology had been that developed 30 years ago”. Light-emitting diodes, for instance, he considers a fantastic invention. “They provide clear, concentrated light, exactly where you want it. To date they are the most efficient, durable, environment friendly way of transforming energy into light”.

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