Helena Gentili is an independent lighting designer who works as a lighting consultant in Italy and abroad. Her independent experience in the field of lighting design involves the private and the public sector, as well as contemporary lighting art contexts. She has an architectural and urbanism background studies with a Master degree in Lighting Design and a doctorate in Architectural and Urban Design with the aim to further study the role of artificial lighting in the contemporary nocturnal landscape. In the past few years, she has been invited as lecturer at international and national seminars and at the moment, she is a fellow researcher at the Laboratorio Luce from Politecnico di Milano, adjunct professor and lecturer at the Master in Lighting Design & Led Technology from the same University. Since 2014, she is a professional member of APIL (Associazione Professionisti dell’Illuminazione).
The Role of the Lighting Project in a Multidisciplinary Design Process
Artificial lights are that intangible material which can interfere with the space and objects radically changing the perception and meaning of it. The rapid and continuous development of lighting technology has outgrown the purpose of mere illumination and has put the sun itself in the shade by redefining new properties for lighting design. Since the 1980’s, lighting technology have begun a new era with computer-based technologies that allowed a constant change between color and lighting effects changing radically the luminous conditions of the nocturnal environment. However, are these characteristics of digital lighting technologies, building material appearance and temporary lighting ambiences really, what we mean to provoke when we conjoin architecture and lighting in the city today?
During the development and evolution of the architecture, one can see the changes in the role of technology in an oscillation between purpose and means in the relationship between man and the methods of production of the architectural artifact. Currently, there is a renewed confidence in the technology, redefining its role in terms of sustainability issues, which offers the promise of a new relationship, not antagonistic, with the delicate environmental balance. Although the technology has been greatly developed and has positive influences on the lighting design process nowadays, it seems that the informatics process has definitely disconnected the gestural and effect ability of the designer.
Architecture today has become limitless and very ambiguous because we are living in a delirious world where the fundamentals criteria linked to the aesthetics and the experience of the place had been banned from the concept of the project, remaining only the material and technical substance, like a body without its skeleton. The goal is to rethink and revive the aesthetic and functional value of the lighting design project, not only its technological means, for proposing a common language that can be man referenced and contextualized to the territory.
We a heading to a more multidisciplinary approach in the design of the built environment, the awareness that light is a crucial material that has its own capable professionals such as the lighting designers should be spread its application, because there is an urge for new paradigms in the conceptualization of the nocturnal city. This paper wished to turn its attention to rethink the city urban dimension from the human practices point of view and from the potentiality of transformations using artificial lighting in the urban environment.
The presentation would like to question the process of lighting design and related technology to suggest a more integrated approach, which crosses the boundaries between science, humanities disciplines, design and technology, which confirms the need to improve our understanding of light in the urban environment to be used as recovery non-permanent material. We must recognize that the design of the human environment this is not only an art of construction, but also an art of technology, of which the artificial lights is an example.
This paper aims to emphasize that a strategic use of artificial lighting in urban design when developed in a mutual design process contributes substantially to the development of contemporary nocturnal character. The idea is to link the city’s architecture – public spaces – and lighting systems to achieve a language that is the expression of our time, without the dominancy of technology over environmental and aesthetics quality.