A launch to the season of golden slanting sun and naturally tinting leaves, here is a seasonal selection of commentaries voted the best at Light Project studio — a visually warm celebration of the coming cool weather.

It’s autumn in New York, The gleaming rooftops at sundown, Oh Autumn in New York, It lifts you up when you run down.  Glittering crowds and shimmering crowds, In canyons of steel, They’re making me feel – I’m home.

Leni Schwendinger's NightSeeing™ / Livable Cities, LyonLivable Cities: Walk with me in Lyon through magenta-pink immersed streets

Fête des Lumières; a NightSeeing™ LightWalk in Lyon

Leni Schwendinger stands by the Triple Bridge Gateway (for Dwell Magazine)

An interview about urban lighting of our city as room, the body; home to the heart. 

As You Light It: Dwell Magazine Video and Leni Schwendinger


Sackler Center, Brooklyn Museum; Judy Chicago's Dinner Party. Light Projects worked closely with Ennead architects.

2009 AIANY Design Awards include Brooklyn Museum’s Sackler Center

This interactive light/art/science sculpture is an public outreach artwork created to explain gravity.

Astronomy’s New Messengers: Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves

Publicolor is our favorite non-profit. We illuminate their benefit in a high-school gym annually.

Publicolor, Color is Energy

HTO Park and Bryant Park, two great urban public spaces.

Accolades and Finales (and the Winter LightWalk)

Triple Bridge Gateway, Manhattan

Light Projects objective: transform neglected infrastructure in our urban nighttime environments

Triple Bridge Gateway: Award and Lecture

Which is your favorite Leni Schwendinger, Fusing Art + Design with Light post?

SHADINGS is a hybrid work by composer Laura Elise Schwendinger

and lighting artist Leni Schwendinger.

Playing It UNsafe Concert Friday, March 4 2011 at 7:30pm

View the video! Playing it UNsafe Composer Journeys: The Schwendingers

In 1993 Leni undertook a photographic research project in Japan, an exploration of ephemeral architecture and the “kare sansui”; Buddhist dry landscapes.  Her medium, the short-lived black-and-white Polaroid transparency film, enhances the fragile atmosphere of her subject – ritual gardens and ever-changing earthen construction sites. The photographic slides were processed on the spot in Japan by a hand-powered, mechanical-cranked processing machine.

Leni Schwendinger’s image montage, inspired her cousin, Laura Schwendinger, to create an orchestral world of shimmery sounds and intense dramatic orchestral shadings for the American Composers Orchestra. The orchestral colors reflect the duality present in Leni’s images. These include rich pearlescent tones, in shades of grey, found in the scenes of the serene Japanese rock gardens, as well as those found in darker more intense industrial images taken at nearby building sites. The duality presented in the projections, are reflected in the musical score’s two personas.

These seemingly different qualities are intrinsically connected by the visual relationship of the two visual worlds. The tones of light, dark, grey and shadow, as well as the shapes present in both worlds, those of the gardens and of the industrial scenes, seem to carry the same mystery of geometry and space. In SHADINGS, Laura Schwendinger explores these connections and duality in an orchestral soundscape that attempts to amplify the beauty and wonder of Leni’s delicate and sensitive eye.

The music will be completed only in the presence of the lighting and vice-versa. Unlike other recent multidisciplinary forays, this work seeks to be a true collaboration between these two artistic mediums, offering a door to a possible synesthetic connection between the two approaches, combining two different levels of perception – aural and visual.

We arrived on a cold, turbulently windy day.  Snug and dry in the Admiral Hotel a converted waterfront warehouse, we fell asleep to the hum of wind gusts whipping down The Sound (“Øresund”) –a strait between the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea.  The Admiral is a few minutes walk along the waterfront to new the Royal Playhouse – its interior filled with an atmosphere of starlight, and a view across the river to the dramatically illuminated Copenhagen Opera House.

By evening’s light a walk into the center city; I wondered at the darkness – the catenary lights suspended over every street – and rare punctuations of facade and sign lighting.

Center for LYS (Center for Light) invited me to speak that their annual Lighting Day.  This year it was held at the ultimately modern Black Diamond – a conference and cultural center annexed to the “old Copenhagen Main Library” built in 1906.

In the center of the vast, open lobby there are two conveyors that stretch between the old and the new buildings.

Watch my Conveyor movie on the Light Projects YouTUBE channel (click here).

The Danish Lighting Center was founded in 1948 with a mission to “advance knowledge and to disseminate information for the improvement of the lighted environment to the benefit of society”. They hold seminars and conferences, and produce a magazine, LYS. Director, Kenneth Munck and  Dorte Gram, an architect who coordinated my invitation to the event and writes for the LYS Magazine, were both wonderful hosts.

I joined a dynamic international group of lighting designers and engineers, including Roger Narboni from France.  My topic was “Reclaiming the Dark Side of Town, an Underpass becomes a Gateway”; a comprehensive discourse on the making of Triple Bridge Gateway at NYC’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.  This project took eight years to complete, with Light Projects role encompassing illumination, color palette and collaboration on the materials for four bus ramps in midtown Manhattan.

Thankfully during the stay it warmed up and I wandered through the city — night and day — observing a massive population of bicyclists and pedestrians co-existing with vehicular traffic, visiting philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s grave and exploring light and the streetscape.

Mark and I visited the Rundetaarn “Round Tower” – a 17th-century tower located in the central district.  It was built as an astronomical observatory and now houses a multi-use cultural space – which showcased an interesting art show of urban signs.

A steep winding corridor of smooth polished cobble stones, with sunken windows and daylight effects upon stucco, leads to a ladder to the exterior observatory level and an expansive panorama of rooftops and industrial structures beyond Copenhagen proper.  The 360-degree city view was exhilarating.

Copenhagen is a city of Scandinavian modern and Scandinavian medieval.

From the observatory to the airport, I am enthralled by this northern sensibility.

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Interested in other international visits and my public space and lighting observations?

Here are posts from 2009:

China

Mexico

A discussion in two parts, with Kay Kallos, Dallas Public Art Program Manager, covers the inception and objectives of the integrated artwork at the newly opened Main Street Garden in Dallas.

Audio links

Interview Part 1

Artist Leni Schwendinger discusses her new work, SpectraScape, at the new Main Street Garden Park located at 1902 Main Street in downtown Dallas. SpectraScape is a site-specific artwork comprised of bands of light that scroll across the green glass study shelters at Main Street Garden Park.

Intreview Part 2

SpectraScape refers to the garden through the use of four seasonal color palettes derived from the seasonal park plantings—rust and gold for fall, pink, yellow and green for summer, green, blue, and white for winter and green and yellow for spring. Each season is proclaimed through rhythmic sequences of colors and tones that race across the tops of the study shelters.


iGuzzini factory near Ancona, Italy

iGuzzini factory near Ancona, Italy

The iGuzzini lighting factory is set near the Adriatic sea, tucked into a composition of small villages, towns and pastures. 

In March, a group of North American lighting designers and representatives were hosted by iGuzzini and Sistemalux – for a week in Ancona and Roma, Italy.  Our hosts were generous, and the visit was high-spirited, informative and luscious. When we arrived at the factory our host declared,

Italians think sideways. We deviate from rationale thinking…

and went on to tell us about the newly designed LED street light: Archiled.

ENELEnel SpA, Italy’s largest utility has contracted with iGuzzini to develop optics for LED streetlights to replace metal halide, mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium -based street lighting. The engineers and designers developed a patented solution – which began with a curve calculation that would use least energy for innovative public lighting.

Archiled on display

Archiled on display

The cobrahead-style streetlight head contains an 84-watt array of LEDs (106-watts total) comparable to the light output of a 150 watt HID source.  Characteristics include Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 80, a patented thermal management system, an integrated fin design to optimize the thermal management, and replaceable ballast.

Archiled has four  default operating modes which reduce the power and the light output of the fittings according to the selected profiles. Besides the default operating modes, customized scenes and profiles can be programmed using a dedicated software.

The products will be on the worldwide market for 2010 and iGuzzini expects orders of 40,000 pieces per year.

Public lighting is increasingly recognized by new theory, science, practice and as a distinctive market.  The outdoor lighting fixture industry is in an overheated race to blend new street lighting fixtures with energy-saving and sustainable characteristics.

LED is the source of choice and the number of cities testing LED street lighting is multiplying.  ( See “More cities tap stimulus package for LED streetlights” USA Today March 3, 2009, “At least 30 cities have asked for more than $104 million in federal stimulus funds to help them make the change.”)

My company, Light Projects, is currently reviewing a new LED  streetlight for the municipality known as New York City.

Ciao Italy — Ancona, Urbino and Rome; compliments iGuzzini, Sistemalux and Dulanski Group.

Part 1: Fratelli Guzzini factory visit in Ancona

Leni peers through display of Guzzini 1960 wares

Leni peers through a transparent display of Guzzini tableware

Guzzini’s “Multimateriality and the culture of detail” household articles have been created since 1912 –when oxbow horn was molded  into objects.

Fratelli Guzzini introduced plexiglas to the domestic landscape in 1938.  In 1940 Guzzini designers formed clear plastic tableware, in 1950 elegant and colorful plastics for the table were designed and these lines have  been recently reissued.  In 1960 they created moldable acrylic forms.

In1970 melamine was invented (growing up in LA our family table was set with white melamine and Russel Wright‘s grey and brown ceramic dinnerware). In 1980 mixed materials such as porcelain and steel articles were manufactured and in the 1990s gas-assisted injection moulding techniques were used.

Guzzini 2008 - "happy hour" line

Guzzini 2008 - Horeca happy hour line by designer Viglino Carlo

Currently Guzzini is focusing on innovating and continuing to develop the company’s unique style, “suggestive furniture objects” and making acrylic tableware that is “difficult to copy”.

leni-guzzini1_crp

I noticed that designers are proudly referenced at the Guzzini lines whether for tableware, bath/spa design or lighting.

More to come…

Greater New York Construction User Council Panelists: Jason Bram (economist, Federal Reserve Bank of New York), Seth Pinsky (President, New York City Economic Development Corporation – NYCEDC), Elliot Sander (Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority – MTA), Christopher O. Ward (Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – PANYNJ)

The event was very well attended. Each panelist opened by explaining construction and budget issues during the next period. The real-estate blog GreenPearl covers these facts and figures.

Mr. Sander brought along a rail marker signal; “my friend Mike”, and explained that the signal systems have to be upgraded and that they are doing so for the Number 7 line and Queen’s Plaza. In regards to technology and innovation, he said that when the engineers first removed this, the standard signal, they assumed that it was manufactured in the 1930’s, and it may have been, but it was revelatory when they looked at the engraved patent label, it said 1912!

My contribution was to ask about the importance of aesthetics and innovation in infrastructure developments during the Q&A. Chris Ward cited the concept of “creative cities” and how aesthetics add value to the urban environment. He opined that “engineering and aesthetics can create new models”. And reminded the audience that Christo’s Central Park “The Gates” brought record revenues into NYC. Mr. Ward noted that it was a “balancing act” – “expense versus look and feel” of a in terms of infrastructural projects.

On the question of sustainability and how the agencies were applying these principles to infrastructure, Mr. Ward’s quote is my favorite, “the sustainability prism is a screening process…”

One of my new interests, Public Private Partnerships (PPP), was addressed. Mr. Ward suggested that PANYNJ is not interested in monetization in the model of tollways, but that they might be interested in money to fill a gap, with sovereign funds, for example. He indicated that the Port’s Staten Island Bridge assets were reaching the end of life and that funding that project would be challenging.

MTA said that they were also open to PPP involvement and so was the City – supportive of PPP and leveraging funds.

This interchange was intriguing, as PPP has not made the kind of headway that you see in UK, India, and South America.

The Council announced that they will be holding an event on Public Private Partnerships in April 2009.

Online Resources
Can P3s boost the stimulus? (Huffington Post)
PPP Bulletin
Public Private News Aggregator
PPP India
Federal Highway/PPP

National Council of Public-Private Partnerships

Public Tenders

Public Private Partnerships