Lighting Design & Specification

 

Gilles ArpinGilles Arpin

The International Year of Light “is a global initiative that will highlight the importance of lighting technologies like optics in our daily lives.” 

Indeed,we all have an intuitive knowledge of light. This knowledge is probably more felt than studied, but none of us can tolerate intense or inadequate light.

The International Year of Light celebration is an opportunity for us, as lighting professionals, to awaken the interest of the general public in quality lighting in public spaces. I have maintained for a long time that light (or lack thereof) is a planning tool whose purpose is to create ambience by revealing or concealing surroundings (features?).

Our desire to occupy urban nightscapes has existed for a long time, and light is a social marker of nightlife. Look back at photos from the 1950s of Montreal’s St. Catherine Street, crowded with illuminated signs, and you’ll notice that we invent nothing. We sharpen our abilities, and our thinking evolves alongside the nightlife. That’s all.

Through various lighting plans, investments have been made overthe past 25 years in Montreal’s heritage areas, promenades and entertainment district. I doubt that many remember the atmosphere of old Montreal before 1992 or, more recently, the entertainment district. Lighting public spaces encourages their use, and tends to increase our demand for variety in mood and atmosphere. 

The lighting plan approach allows us to establish a master plan that can be implemented over several years. It allows us to establish a hierarchy of composition  (the ultimate nocturnal look) and to match intervention with infrastructure projects or commercial, residential or institutional development strategies.

The development of lighting technologies, particularly in terms of the longevity of the light sources (15 to 20 years), their low maintenance costs and their energy efficiency today enable us to view light as an investment, not an expense.

The discipline of lighting design is finding his feet. More and more, professional tenders for small and large projects require,among other experts, a lighting designer.

Although technology allows us to integrate colour, program effects or project images, their use must contribute to the visual comfort of users and residents and enrich their night scape. The moods, even “trash”must be harmonious (i.e., meet the objectives of the mandate while integrating with the context).

In this sense, the experience and expertise of a lighting professional can, as an observer of night life, contribute to what I call “lighting just right”:

Provide an environment ensuring ease of access and visual comfort that promotes usage, and scatter public space with nocturnal experiences and scenes embellishing nightlife.

Other Articles by Gilles Arpin:
For a Qualitative Policy of Urban Lighting in the Master Plan


 

Gilles Arpin is a lighting designer. He has 30 years of experience as a technician, lighting designer, technical director, production manager and producer for various ballet, opera and musical productions. Since 1996 he has been interested in the lighting of public places and residential and commercial spaces, and founded the firm Éclairage Public. Several of his projects have won awards and recognition. View a project portfolio at http://www.eclairagepublic.ca/index.php/en/. Professional associations include the Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNA) section Montreal, IALD International Association of Lighting Designers, and IDA International Dark Sky Association.

 

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Latest News

Take Back the LightThe proper recycling of mercury containing lamps has become the focus of several programs and government legislation recently. Several provinces have developed programs designed to eliminate mercury containing lamps from ending up in landfills, while others are dominated by private recycling programs. Whether government initiated or private recycling mercury containing lamps is important for the future of our environment.

Read more: Mercury Recycling. . .

 

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