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Dark Denmark


Now the summer’s over, Light Collective’s travels kick off again. Our first trip was to Copenhagen on a wild windy night. The Danish Lighting Society has invited us to help them pull off a guerrilla event for their biennial conference. The theme: Light and Atmosphere.

Conversely Copenhagen is actually a ‘dark’ and atmospheric city. Areas such as the city’s parks and natural reserves have deliberately been preserved from light, and even the main streets are lit to a much lower level than the UK. Houses have a light by the door rather than path lighting and even shop front lighting is subdued. It gives a relaxed and “human” feel to the streets.

We walked through main thoroughfares and by metro stations where the light levels were akin to dodgy UK alleyways and no-one seemed to mind. The designers involved in the guerrilla event talked scathingly about urban lighting design in the city. Normally specified by architects giving more care to luminaire appearance than lighting effects, the area chosen for the guerrilla event is very patchy in terms of lighting. Pitch black in some places, glarey and spotty in others and with no ambience at all. What makes it worse is that the area they have chosen isn’t a badly lit housing estate or a forgotten suburb but the canals around the new Jean Nouvel Concert Hall…

Watch out for the guerrilla results in November to see what the Danish designers do to transform these spaces.

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