Lighting is usually an afterthought in landscape architecture. The task is mostly left for the lighting sales representatives who, in turn, assign a lighting design that has nothing to do with the landscape. Given this generic rule, one would not expect lighting to form the MAIN conceptual approach for landscape architecture straightaway. But let me tell you, there ARE exceptions to this rule. That is to say, there are rare landscapes where lighting plays a central role in livening up the place. These areas develop various languages during day and night, thus offering a variety of experiences in the same place at different times.” Below are 5 examples of such cases.

1. Ishoj Station, Copenhagen, Denmark

Courtesy of AF Lighting

AF Lighting designed the station’s lighting to give it a strong identity in the Danish capital city. To this end, they used the lighting patterns to depict an artistic interpretation of water that would reflect Ishoj’s maritime environment. These patterns are purely aesthetic but one may argue that they essentially function to revive the space during the night. Nonetheless, the overall design is a combination of visually pleasing and functional light elements which include various color shades, projected images and bollard lighting for the bus stop waiting area.

Courtesy of AF Lighting

As for patterns, the architects decided to cast blue and white ripples on the pavement to make the users feel as if they are walking on the water surface. The ramps and stairs of the station exhibit other illuminated waveforms. This design scheme brings forth an overall watery landscape during the night.

2. Finsbury Avenue Square, London, England

Courtesy of SOM

Finsbury Avenue Square was a dark uninviting space that was revitalized by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) through creative lighting. They installed 100,000 LED lights in the grooves between the tiles and covered them with frosted glass. The resulting LED-frosted-glass grid generates subtle color changes that are reflected by the glass façades of the surrounding buildings. Consequently, these ever-changing light scenes create a lively plaza at the heart of London.

Courtesy of SOM

3. Pier 4 Plaza, Boston, USA

Courtesy of Mikyoung Kim

Designed by Mikyoung Kim, the plaza’s lighting effect creates a fun-filled nighttime experience. The designer enhanced the landscape by using special blue colored LED lights which flow in fiber optic linkages to indicate the historical course of rails in this area. This cold neon color not only evokes playful activity in the space but also connects it to the nearby waterfront. The blue shade further extends to the site furniture to blend it with the landscape.

Courtesy of Mikyoung Kim

Mikyoung Kim did not divide this multi-layered landscape using steps but slopes colored in different shades of gray to differentiate between levels. The slopes turn the plaza into a safe environment for the children and people living with disability. All lighting patterns on these levels reflect circuitry and motion, thus creating a colorful exciting public space at night.

4. Bike Path, Eindhoven, Holland

Courtesy of Studio Roosegarde

Studio Roosegarde designed this bicycling path as a tribute to Van Gogh on his 125th death anniversary in his hometown, Eindhoven. The solar-powered LED lighting produces amazing blue and green twinkling stars on the bike track.

Observe the glitters here:

This design greatly popularized the path and gave more meaning to its purpose in the town. Now, Eindhovenians use it for biking, walking, chatting, romance, and many other social purposes that never occurred here before.

Courtesy of Studio Roosegarde

5. Stockton Town Center, Stockton, England

Courtesy of In-House Design

Stockton Town center was very neglected for a town center. The abandonment was a result of its outdated retail areas and its bad reputation among local businesses which hesitated to invest in it fearing business loss.

Finally, In-House Design decided to undertake its renovation worth 20 million pounds. Their design agenda was to incorporate water and light to create a user-magnet town center that never sleeps. To accomplish this, they installed central water features with controllable jets accompanied by a colorful LED lighting system. As a result, this new landscape architecture literally transformed the isolated area into a busy town center where public events are frequently held.

Courtesy of In House Design

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