Good light is not visible
Moscow never sleeps. In the evening, when the sun goes down, the city transforms – the windows of houses come to life, street lamps, façade lighting of public buildings and residential buildings turn on. Using light as a method of architectural and artistic decoration of buildings is not a new idea. But it is experiencing a new round of popularity. And in recent years it has become one of the main trends in the residential buildings and commercial real estate market. What can this lighting hobby lead to and what will Moscow become?
Moscow is in the top 5 most illuminated world capitals. In less than 10 years, the number of lighting fixtures in the city has almost doubled – up to 600 thousand. Streets, squares, recreation areas, public buildings and city objects, courtyards of houses, and more recently residential buildings, complexes, new buildings are illuminated. If the installation of lanterns and lighting poles is primarily a matter of the safety of citizens, the lighting of buildings is an aesthetic nature and is initiated by developers, including those who are solving their marketing tasks.
Today, most developers use certain elements of architectural and artistic lighting to decorate residential complexes. This is mainly relevant for comfort projects, business classes and higher level. But the trend is obvious: developers strive to make their properties more attractive and marginal, and along with attracting eminent architects, organizing the adjacent territory of the facility and using high-quality materials, they emphasize buildings with the help of architectural and artistic lighting. Together, this can increase the cost of apartments of such projects for 20%. Architectural lighting is a completely workable scheme for increasing the capitalization of a project, creating a higher attractiveness.
Meanwhile, each company interprets the task of lighting of an object differently. Most of them still choose the decorative path: LED lighting on the eaves of balconies, multi-colored lighting of buildings under construction or construction equipment. Often development companies follow the principle “the brighter the better”. The easiest and wrong way to stand out is to make object appear brighter than the competition. This path can lead to light pollution in the city, turn Moscow into some kind of “Shanghai”, consisting of a dissonance of bright spots that are not consistent with each other. And the most important – this principle can play the opposite role: to push away a potential buyer – few people will want to live in a house-garland.
Meanwhile, competent architectural and artistic lighting solves a completely different problem – the life of an object, its representation while darkness. The task of the lighting designer is not to brighten the building, but to emphasize the architectural features of the building at night. This cannot be done without considering the style of the building, its purpose and environment. The lighting solution becomes harmonious only when it is inscribed in the urban environment and does not stand out against its background as a bright spot.
All these issues can be considered in a single document that determines the development of the city’s lighting. For example, in Scandinavian cities, such a document is a light master plan. He examines the light image of the city, based on its location, cultural, historical and natural characteristics. Lighting of the facades of specific buildings is selected not only based on their style, functional tasks, and environment, but also taking into account their color and material. At the same time, the designer and the architect have enough space to work on the architectural lighting in the way their tandem needs. In other words, such documents define boundaries but leave enough space for creativity.
Now we actively work at a study that will outline the existing trends in the lighting design of the city. In the future, it can form the basis of the light master plan for the capital. This will not only protect residents from light pollution, but also help customers formulate tasks for architects and designers.
Among lighting designers, they say that good light is not visible. The lighting is only needed where it is necessary! Today, when the pursuit of architectural lighting is an established trend in residential construction, we see that some developers are neglecting it. Projectors shining in the windows, bright signs that interfere with sleep, dazzling illumination of facades and color dissonance. We see how citizens react painfully to such unfortunate practices. Obviously, if you do not control the light environment of the city, this will lead to the fact that it will become uncomfortable for residents, no matter what place it occupies in the list of “most illuminated” ones.
Moscow is one of the most progressive cities in the world in terms of the development of the light environment. But not all existing lighting devices in the capital, due to their design features, are necessary or successful in terms of their characteristics. Some of them form only light and color noise. Moscow needs to work with this problem, but this does not make the capital better or worse than other cities, each of which faces approximately the same problems. The city, like any living organism, in its development goes through the search for successful examples. Does Moscow solve this issue? Yes and no. It works well there where the city focuses on the formation of public spaces. In places where such spaces are not created, and the territory is left at the mercy of residential developers – there are both successful examples and not good enough. Therefore, it is impossible to appreciate lighting appearance of the city. There is a trend now, and it is mostly positive. Should we stop at it? No!