05. Feb 2011

No. 75 – Designed urban parks

Dec/Jan 2011

Square des Frères-Charon in Montreal/CDN
Text: Alison Ritter
Since Laurant Fachard put an end to the taboo of using saturated colours to illuminate a park back in 1997 – long before LEDs had become a serious design tool – coloured light has become a popular option in the design of town parks, squares and gardens. Fachard thus made Parc de Gerlande in Lyon into a kind of Mecca for lighting designers and urban planners. But although this project proves that coloured light can work in a park situation, provided that the overall concept is coherent, there is a world of difference between the 1997 design and the kind of lighting installations applied in landscapes today. We have more technology at our disposal and this in turn offers more opportunities for design. Colour-changing systems and or technologies that support changing projections can leave designers spoilt for choice, thus paralysing their decision-making processes. Coloured penumbrae hardly rate as a concept, and are often regarded as something incomplete or a mistake even… But what happens if a city decides to accommodate a coloured lighting installation in a small park in the centre of town? Montreal dared to try it.

Plaza Lo Castillo in Comuna Vitacura in Santiago de Chile/RCH
Text: Alison Ritter
Is there any city under the sun that would not want flamingos in their municipal park? Not an easy wish to fulfil – but if the real thing is not possible, an attempt can be made to create artistic replicas and light them attractively to at least document one’s admiration of the graceful creatures. Paulina Sir illuminated the sculptures designed by star architect Gonzalo Mardones for a new park in Santiago de Chile.

Masdar Plaza in Abu Dhabi/UAE
Text: Alexander Rieck, LAVA Architekten
The car-friendly city as developed in the 1950s, which is still referred to as an example of good urban design to this day, is in fact passé. What are the urban developments that will be housing the people in the coming decades going to look like? How will they work? How will cities cope with the limited availability of raw materials? There are currently a number of realistic experiments underway to find a new approach to urban development and to introduce new city planning processes. One of the most spectacular examples of the last few years is without doubt the concept for Masdar in Abu Dhabi, the first urban development anywhere that has set itself the goal of being a zero carbon city.

Lighting urban parks – reviewing the basics
Text: Dr. Amardeep M. Dugar
A park is distinct from the town or city in which it exists. The key questions that arise from a lighting designer’s perspective are: How can lighting enrich the overall use and enjoyment of designed landscapes such as urban parks? What are the appropriate lighting design models that lead to such an enrichment?

The new generation
Text: Franziska Ritter, Alison Ritter
After a decade of exciting and impressive practical lighting design workshops, in the autumn of 2010 the town of Alingsås faced a new challenge in a new era. Alingsås’s reputation had to be maintained and developed, and this required openness for change on different levels.

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