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Recommended reading – books to look out for at PLDC in Rome

This year, the VIA team has once again come up with a selected list of books for recommended reading. They will be available at PLDC in Rome for you to take a look at. Some of these books will be available for purchase for the first time at PLDC.

See the light free“See the Light” by Svante Pettersson, the experienced Swedish lighting expert, has gained substantial popularity over the last few months. The generously illustrated book depicts, from a Scandinavian viewpoint, how light works and how to differentiate between lighting solutions. “See the Light” is especially valuable for all those who like to see the work that they and other like-minded individuals perform daily confirmed in book form. “See the Light” is a standard work, a highly inspirational book about light, the philosophy of light and the art of getting to know your visual sense, which in the end boils down to common sense. A detailed critique can be found here.


Buch von ChristopherThe complement to Svante Pettersson’s book is the latest work by Christopher Cuttle. From its title: “Lighting design: a perception-based approach”, it appears to be a book about a specific design approach. Correct, although all the perception-related information is scientifically proven in numbers before the design concept is realised. Christopher Cuttle always manages to unlock yet another part of the true world of lighting design. A detailed critique can be found here.





light-shadow_01Aleksandra Stratimirovic is active in the overlap between lighting design and light art. Together with Sandra Praun, she has published a book that makes this overlap the core of the work, even rendering it visible in the way the book itself is designed and presented. “You say Light – I think Shadow” is a collection of comments and statements from leading architects, designers, artists and other key figures who have recognised light as being a central part of their lives and wish to share this with others. At the same time, the work itself is a huge compliment to ‘the printed book’ as a medium, and is informative and inspiring throughout. A detailed critique can be found here.

Modeling Daylight englishA new book, which will be presented at PLDC for the first time, incorporates discussion and a collection of experimental studies on the topic of daylight. Giovanni Traverso has put together a practical manual based on his own perception of the topic plus a series of studies carried out by students which take a close look at a creative approach to designing with daylight. “Modelling Daylight” is designed to promote discussion on the purposeful use of daylight. It is an impressive documentation of the creative power daylight can have in architecture – an inspiration and practical manual in one. The principles of daylight design are presented clearly and in a well-structured way, and examples shown that enable a practical approach to follow on from the theoretical fundamentals. A detailed critique can be found here.



All books amoung others can also be purchaised through the VIA shop here.

Modeling Daylight

Inspired by daylight – A book on experimental creative use of daylight
A critique by Joachim Ritter

Modeling Daylight englishThe apparent reason for so little daylight being used as a design element in architecture is that a large number of designers lack the know-how and skills to handle it. Their creativity, you might say, does not go beyond the rectangular window opening. One way or the other, every room looks more or less the same: square. You feel you are trapped in a box, although there are enough windows to escape through… Thinking out of the box is (literally) becoming increasingly more difficult. And there is not much in the way of literature when it comes to how natural light can be used as a design element in an architectural space. New requirements related to energy savings and what planners tend to perceive as the ‘enforced use of daylight’ has put us in a situation where we can no longer make out what is light and what is architecture, because everything is simply overly bright.

Inspiration is called for. This is where the book “Modelling Daylight” by the Italian architect and lighting designer Giovanni Traverso comes in. As the initiator and head of the summer course entitled Daylight Thinking that took place in Vicenza/I in 2012, he and his students created a series of models to demonstrate that through daylight interior spaces can gain a quality that has nothing to do with rectangular openings set in the facade. Daylight can become the main feature in a space, if the designer is able to handle it creatively.

The manual aims to raise awareness and make readers sensitive to the idea that light can become a fundamental element in architectural design, capable of positively modifying the experience of the user.

The book motivates and encourages readers to return to the purposeful use of daylight. But it is also a manual containing helpful references and feasible approaches, and in that sense goes beyond the purely experimental. Time and again when reading the book, one is inclined to reconsider one’s own philosophy of natural light and place more importance on the use of daylight in architecture on an everyday basis. Which is as much as to say that this is not a book that will simply added to the bookshelf and disappear forever, but always be within reach as a source of reference. It is not a sequel to grand works such as William Lam’s “Sunlighting as Formgiver for Architecture”, but defines a new lighting design quality that is achievable through daylight.

Modeling Daylight_28_09_2015_ENG_p2-3 Modeling Daylight_28_09_2015_ENG_p2-4 Modeling Daylight_28_09_2015_ENG_p2-6 Modeling Daylight_28_09_2015_ENG_p2-7

With this book, Giovanni Traverso has succeeded in providing convincing material on the purposeful application of daylight. The information, data and reports on the studies are presented in a clear, well-structured manner. His ideas on daylight design and commitment to spreading the educational word come across confidently and are easy to follow. “Modelling Daylight” is sure to be more than just an inspiration to those who read it.

Giovanni TraversoAbout the author
Giovanni Traverso is an architect and lighting designer, based in Vicenza/I. In 1996, together with Paola Vighy, he co-founded Traverso-Vighy Architetti studio, specialising in sustainable architecture and experimental projects related to the application of light. He is Senior Lecturer at ‘VIA”, UFL and has also taught in the MSc programme in Lighting Design at IUAV University in Venice. In July 2012, he headed the international summer course ‘Daylight Thinking’, UFL.



Date of release: 28.10.2015 at PLDC in Rome
Italian  version: ISBN 978-3-9811940-4-3
English  version: ISBN 978-3-9811940-5-0
German version:  ISBN 978-3-9811940-6-7
Price: € 24.90

Sicilian feeling

… or experience wine all senses…

The Osteria Il Grano di Pepe project was developed with the aim of shaping a space which balances the elements necessary for a gastronomic experience par excellence, serving cuisine firmly rooted in Sicilian tradition, with a strong sensory and natural character, in keeping with the most advanced Emilian culinary culture.

25_Grano di Pepe_AltaThe resulting journey addresses the key moments in the definition of the relationship between space and food where the complexity is resolved simply and naturally. The layout is therefore simple, obvious, a classical dualism between serving space / space served: the entrance composition is defined by just a small number of features: a large closet that houses the cloakroom, cutlery, coffee machine and water dispenser, a subtle vertical structure in ash for the till and a wine rack, also in ash; an articulation which responds to the clear, fluid design: the welcome is formal, but at the same time “domestic”. This is also reflected in the materials: the exposed steel, the natural wood, the Sicilian decorative tiles.

As for the lounge, a subjective, convivial space, the multi-sensory experience of tasting is enhanced by the naturalness of the brushed ash table tops and the burnt wood panelling on the walls, which also serve to amplify the intimate and relational nature and reduce sound reverberations. Everything is unified through the horizontal elements: a subtle floor design which evokes the urban piazzas and a ceiling in slate and corten steel.

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The Yori LED projectors selected for the lighting of this space blend seamlessly into the setting; their unique embossed matt black finish brings a tactile harmony to the various textures in the lounge – wood, raw concrete and metal.

The high colour rendering index (CRI>90) offered by the LEDs in these luminaires effectively showcases the contrasting elements in the spaces, enhancing the sophisticated yet welcoming nature of the place. The flexibility of the luminaires means the beams can be precisely angled to create accent lighting on the tables or showcase particular features of the structures present, such as bottles of wine, books and paintings.

The careful placement of the projectors within the setting allows the desired lighting effect to be achieved, whilst also significantly reducing energy consumption.

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Project: Osteria il Grano di Pepe
Client: Osteria il Grano di Pepe
Year: 2015
Location: Ravarino (Modena, Italy)
Architect: Marco Bernardi

Other contributions:
Collaborators: Architect Alfredo Borghi, Engineer Andrea PAVANI
Carpentry: Rosario Licciardello

Photos: Lourdes Cabrera

About light, bulbs and eggs

by Joachim Ritter


Pan-luminaire with LED.

It is time to stop and think about changing consumer habits. Times change and there is a growing consensus that things are indeed changing for the better. This would appear to be a new approach! When I was a child the grown-ups were constantly telling how “everything was better in the olden days”, which I must admit I didn’t really understand. At the age of 20 I was reasonably content and could not imagine how life could have been better without colour TVs – an achievement that stems from my generation. Society has changed. It is just the perspective and the saying that remain. And when I catch myself thinking that everything really used to be better, or secretly wonder at least if that was not the case, I realise that the under 40s will not have a clue what I am talking about…

For me the incandescent lamp was the best light source ever. It took a while to convince me that the LED might be an adequate alternative. The young generation cannot understand this at all. LEDs offers so many advantages – from energy saving to the fact that you can control them. There is absolutely no question that state-of-the-art lighting has more advantages than disadvantages, and is thus an improvement on the “olden days” of the lamp world.

Foto 2

Fried egg under the ceiling…

We have to change. The good old light bulb is going to have to give way to advancement and will no longer be the topic of conversation. At last! Gone are the days of endless debate about whether to call the “beloved” lamp a bulb or an incandescent, when everyone meant the same but were simply using their own vernacular. We will have to find a new pet name for the most popular light source. Perhaps the LED fried egg. The yellow dot with the white bit around it. Or the egg lamp.

Never heard of it? Never seen it? Then you should take a closer look into the spotlights on the market. If I were to found a company that sells LEDs – a practically everyday occurrence on the market – I would consider calling it LEDEg, or in German LEDei (Ei = egg). And if the light source doesn’t work or the colour temperature is wrong, then we can always offer alternative products, because we don’t put all our eggs in one basket.


A day in the life of an editor

by Joachim Ritter

In our editorial department, it is our maxim that every article and every issue of the PLD must have a message. Our maxim also implies that the message needs to be unique. For that reason some so-called headings are NOT ALLOWED. These include the most hackneyed of all phrases bandied around over the course of lighting design history, spreading like a virus and affecting any headings and captions that cross their path. A problem indeed, since the heading, or the headline, is the most important indicator of the content of an article.

Top of the list of recurrent headings which are NOT ALLOWED in our editorial department is: “putting something in the right light”.

This heading is probably the most widely used title for articles describing the new lighting scheme for a monument, an old building of significance, a work of art, or a product. The idea is not to point out that the existing lighting was not correctly focussed, but rather that the new scheme using modern technology is always better than the old one. Whether that is true or not is questionable. It is not only the technology that is of importance, but the way that technology is applied. By design, so to speak!

Now, here is a fine example of a well chosen heading for an article: “Mummies – life beyond death”. This heading indicates that the lighting in Drents Museum in Assen (the Netherlands) is so good that the mummies look a lot livelier than they actually are, or were when they were alive. It attracted my attention at any rate. I wanted to find out more about how the lighting had revived the mummies after their passing away.

Conclusion: I would rather have my mummy lit to look alive again than have it wrongly put in the right light…

The source, for anyone who wishes to follow this up, is CLS LED, a manufacturer from the Netherlands who supplied the 130 Focus Compact Spot fixtures (3000 K, 95 CRI) for the exhibition.

Photo: CLS

Top 10 reasons out of a 100 that will convince you to attend PLDC 2015

PLDC – learn and enjoy!

by Joachim Ritter

Of course there are countless reasons why you should be attending PLDC! Should you have not yet made up your mind to attend the largest convention on lighting design worldwide, take a look at the following top ten reasons for being there:

  1. Attend the most important architectural lighting design event this autumn
  2. Meet the anticipated 1,500 professionals and colleagues from the international world of lighting
  3. Dance at the legendary PLD community parties and evening events
  4. Learn about the latest research findings
  5. Participate in discussions and sessions in which lighting design trends are created
  6. Witness the next steps towards establishing the architectural lighting design profession, which is planned to be realised by 2017
  7. Shape your professional career by attending this CPD-acknowledged event (CIBSE and CNAPPC)
  8. Visit and experience Rome! One of the most historically and culturally interesting cities worldwide
  9. Listen to more than 70 papers and six inspiring Keynote Speakers
  10. Enjoy meeting colleagues, making new friends and finding business partners!

You want to share your arguments for attending? Feel free to comment and let the Professional Lighting Design community know why you will be present at PLDC 2015 in Rome!

A perception-based approach by Christopher Cuttle

by Joachim Ritter

Christopher Cuttle is a source of inspiration worldwide whenever he gives a lecture. I can only confirm what many lighting designers claim: it is always worth listening to Christopher Cuttle – time and again. What he relates to his audience is always the equivalent of a further step deeper into the true world of lighting design.

Buch von ChristopherBut Christopher Cuttle is also a researcher and a Senior Lecturer, which makes his work and teachings all the more valuable. Because he has managed to make the human being the focus of the lighting design process and to translate and define human requirements for the right light at the right time into photometric terms and structures. In fact, the title of this book deserves to be complemented by the second component describing the contents, which is: “… and how to realise planning based on facts and figures in practice”. That does not immediately appear to comply with current market opinion, and would probably make it more difficult to communicate the true contents of the book. Or the publisher was of the opinion that this aspect was self-evident and part and parcel of lighting design anyway.

But this is not the case. If there is a book that can achieve this kind of balancing act, it has to be this work by this author. I have every confidence that what Kit Cuttle says is true. The 136 pages contain his philosophy of how to design light, the state of his research, and how perception-oriented planning can be realised in practice in everyday working processes. The work reflects decades of learning and understanding, compiled in a clearly structured handy book.

If you prefer to, or are expected to, develop your designs based on photometric units and can follow the guidelines laid down for modern lighting design more easily if they are expressed in numbers, then this book can provide you with state-of-the-art know-how for quick and easy reading.

The book can be ordered at Routledge,
Alternatively you can buy at PLDC in Rome at the VIA-Verlag desk.

Also see the book review of Svante Pettersson’s “See the light”

Learning from Neil Harbisson

indexLearning from someone who experiences vision differently

by Joachim Ritter

We all know what it means to be colour-blind. At least, we think we do.

A person who is “colour-blind” is not able to see colours. Well, that’s a simple way of putting it. If we take a closer look at this colour vision deficiency, we learn that there are two kinds of “colour blindness”, or to be more exact partial colour blindness (the difficulty in distinguishing between red and green, or blue and yellow) and total colour blindness. In general, we tend to describe people who cannot distinguish between red and green as being “colour-blind”. That is not correct, however. On the one hand, as a rule red-green colour blindness is only partial colour blindness and not total colour blindness, and on the other hand it means only two of the three colour receptors in the eye are defective.

images Given that only five to nine per cent of the male population is known to suffer from red-green colour blindness, we can safely say that we tend to use the term “colour blindness” wrongly. Medically speaking, real “colour blindness” (or to use the Latin term, “achromatopsia”) actually occurs very seldom. In these cases the person concerned is really not able to see any colours at all. Which means that the person’s vision has to rely on the light-dark receptors. True colour blindness frequently leads to a noticeable deterioration in the person’s vision overall.

Neil Harbisson is colour-blind – 100 per cent. He has not been able to see colours since the day he was born. He does not know what a red heart means or a blue ocean or green bread. He does not know these things and never has. But he can hear colours. At the age of 21 he had a probe implanted in his brain. A head-mounted antenna senses the colours directly in front of him and converts them in real-time into sound waves through bone conduction. The first impression we get of Neil Harbisson is that he looks like some kind of alien, with an antenna perched on the top of his head.

IDNeil Harbisson perceives his surroundings quite differently from the majority of people on this planet. He has never experienced differentiating between white people and black people. Judging by the sounds his brain receives skin colour is only evident in different shades of orange. Even if you initially regard the physical defect Neil lives with as a disadvantage, this is the point where you can say that he has a clear advantage over all other people: he knows that there is no basic difference in skin colour itself; it is only a matter of colour intensity. Which is naturally also evident within the groups of so-called “white” or “black” people.

You can discover more about Neil Harbisson and what other advantages he has gained through his special situation and how he decided to cope with it at PLDC, where he will be giving a presentation. It is not every day that you can enjoy such an inspirational experience.

And by the way: if you try to talk to Neil Harbisson about technical lighting standards, it just brings a smile to his lips.

Neil Harbisson is presenting at PLDC on Saturday at 10.15

Walking the fine line…

… between enhancing or manipulating with light?

by Joachim Ritter

Modern lighting design is becoming more complex. That is good news. It acknowledges the importance of light and its effect on architecture, human beings, flora and fauna. It actually makes no difference to how light impacts human beings. That applies, the same as ever. In a few years’ time people will be questioning how it was ever possible to design lighting for over a century not knowing or believing that light has an effect on human beings. However, digital technology now gives us the opportunity to design better and healthier lighting.

Having that opportunity does not mean that we have the skills to implement it. In that respect, good lighting designers who were leaders in the field 30 years ago and may well be still practising today need to be open to acquiring this new know-how. Thirty years ago it may have sufficed to do great design work based on passion and commitment – and the designs were generally regarded as being good. But those same designs today would probably often be assessed differently. The ability to be a lighting designer is no longer a gift bestowed on you at birth. It is now a discipline which involves design issues being subject to rules and regulations. What designers out there currently dispose over all the required know-how?

The good news is: if this is recognised by society as a whole, it must mean that there are indeed specialists who have acquired the knowledge and skills required to design lighting. Specialists who deserve to be recognised as such. In other words: we have never been closer to gaining recognition for the profession than we are today. And every day means one step further towards this goal!

Biophilic Lighting Design-1

Nature as the “rhythm giver” in architecture.

Biophilic Lighting Design-2

A patient’s room can be lit according to the rhythm of daylight.

We know that we can enhance people’s feeling of well-being through purposefully designed lighting, lighting that can positively affect human beings physically and mentally. And yet every opportunity also incorporates a hidden risk. At what point does the impact light can have cease to support human behaviour and begin to manipulate? Doping is quite rightly frowned upon in the sporting world, but no one has yet given any thought to using light as a means of doping. Why not? After all, light is able to influence and change our natural bio-rhythms. In the meantime we know that this can be detrimental to our health. We know we can increase schoolchildren’s ability to concentrate using light, although we also all know that many children are not able to concentrate to the full between 8 am and 9 am – because of their natural bio-rhythm. We manipulate shift workers by subjecting them to light levels during the night in order to maintain their productivity, even though we are aware of the fact that night shifts – or simulated day shift conditions at night – can influence the development of cancer. And we talk quite openly about the power of light to positively influence people’s buying behaviour in order to increase sales, although we do not really need many of the items that are so attractively displayed, and purchasing more only contributes towards aggravating environmental issues. We create fascinating lighting installations in shopping malls although we have grown up in natural forests which have shaped our evolution.

I am not saying that we should not apply light to an optimum. I am also not saying that we should not pursue the Human Centric Lighting path when designing lighting. But I do believe that we should be very clear about the current situation and continue to reflect on the power the lighting designer can have if he/she is able to take advantage of all the opportunities that science is putting on our plate when it comes to light.

Because if we are aware of the responsibility we bear, then every well designed shop lighting solution has the right to be realised – to enhance the leisure aspect and experience factor of shopping – the same as any lighting scheme designed to support our circadian rhythm in compliance with our natural environment.

With the knowledge we are gaining about the impact of light, and the technical possibilities that are now readily available, we are walking a very fine line between supporting and manipulating human existence.

This, at any rate, is the insight we gathered as an editorial team while working on the latest issue of the PLD no 98. Or at least these are the thoughts which will hopefully lead us to developing more insight in future. But definitely it is a topic which will be raised more and more, and for sure at PLDC 2015 in Rome.

Light Garden for Blog

Fun lighting in a shopping centre in Lima. Lighting idea and concept: Nicholas Cheung and Claudia Paz

Zumtobel - Gerry Weber (1) nachher_after

Limbic lighting in a Gerry Weber store after redesign. Photo: Zumtobel

Shop, Beleuchtung, Lichtsyteme Lichtsteuerung

Limbic lighting in a Gerry Weber store before redesign. Photo: Zumtobel

Kaoru Mende Travelling…

“Nightscape 2050 – a dialogue between Cities・Light・People in Future”
 Berlin >>> Singapore >>> Hong Kong >>> Tokyo
by Lighting Planners Associates (LPA)

Kaoru Mende is regarded as one of the world’s leading lighting designers. Together with his team from LPA – Lighting Planners Associates – he has realised more than 500 projects since the design practice was founded in 1990. This year marks his company’s 25th anniversary. Already a great work indeed. And yet reducing Kaoru Mende’s achievements exclusively to his design experience is really only half the story. He also deserves acclaim for his work as an educator, a pragmatist and a visionary, all qualities that demonstrate his true grandeur – and a practically perfect combination when it comes to staging a travelling exhibition about the future of lighting design in Berlin, Singapore, Hong Kong and his native city Tokyo. The exhibition is intended to be one of its kind on Light and Lighting sharing visions of the future of lighting, and the way designers can imagine using light with interested visitors.

How will we interact with light in the year 2050? In the exhibition Kaoru Mende and his team wanted to create a unique experience in which they share their ideas and thoughts with others. Rather than trying to predict the future, the goal was to seek discussion on how light may impact, or influence, our ‘way of being’ in future.

Nightscape 2050 – Theme and Concept
While creating an exhibition to share “hope and dreams of the future for light and human beings” with the visitors, Mende also wants to draw attention to the realities we are facing.
The exhibition is experiential, educational, imaginative:
•    experiential – visitors are able to feel the different lighting scenarios proposed
•    educational – learning from nightscapes around the world and holding thought-provoking interviews with visionaries such as architect Toyo Ito, physicist and researcher Shuji Nakamura, and industrial designer Ingo Maurer
•    imaginative – sparking the imagination of children through workshops to provide hope for the future.
The exhibition also represents clearly the philosophy of the design practice, which designs unusual living environments using light and underline the architecture as well as the lighting culture of the site or location.

LPA work on a wide range of projects from residential, hotel, commercial, public spaces, landscape to full-scale urban lighting projects, and have received numerous international lighting design awards.
LPA is also very active in promoting the appreciation of lighting culture and an awareness of good lighting through its non-profit wing, The Lighting Detectives. This forum gives the general public the opportunity to take part in discussions and workshops, helping them to understand how to better evaluate light and lighting. The annual Transnational Lighting Detectives event has been organised in over ten cities including Tokyo, New York City, Stockholm, Singapore, Beijing and Madrid.
The exhibition is due to open in August 2015 in Berlin and ends in June 2016 in Tokyo.



05_City nightscape