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«Change a little the night life of the inhabitants of the world cities is my goal», – Isabelle Corten shared her vision of urban spaces lightening

Jul 9, 2019

Isabelle Corten is President of Light Designers Without Borderies (LDWB), Founding member of Social Light Movement (SLM), Director of Radiance 35, member of Lighting Urban Community International. She will present a lecture on Interlight Design Academy that will be open on the trade fair Interlight Russia | Intelligent building Russia from 10th to 13th September in Moscow.

Isabelle Corten

– You are planning to visit Moscow in September and give a lecture at Interlight Russia | Intelligent building Russia. Is it the first time you visit Russia? Have you been in Moscow before?

– I have never been in Moscow and I’m very curious to discover it: the architecture, the culture, the people… Also the culture of lighting design, which is unknown for me.

– You work as a lighting designer but also involved into social activities connected to lighting issues. Why is it important for you?

– The users (human being but also the fauna) are the most important things for me to focus at in my work. So I try to focus more on “forgotten people” .. to understand what they need and answer to it.

– Why is it important to be in close communication with other lighting designers being a president of Light Designers Without Borderies?

– Because I’m convinced that, with our tools (light) we must try to give better life to people. Being President of Lighting Designers without Borders helps me to federate more lighting designers to be part of this “transmission of knowledge task” in different countries in the world.

– You are a Founding member of Social Light Movement. Why is it important to collaborate on the issue of improving lighting for people? Could you share with us your achievements?

– The Social Light Movement was created to bring together cities to invest in “forgotten areas”, for the “real users”. We used for that the methodologies of “one week workshops” to show to cities which light actions can be possible in those areas. The Social Light Movement and Lighting Designers without borders are linked.. because we have the same goals. It’s only the methodology that changes…

– Why is it important to be a part of Lighting Urban Community International?

– It’s very important to be a part of the network to exchange our experience in the public lighting field. So, going to the meetings of LUCI, you can – in a very short time- share your knowledge and learn a lot!

– In addition, one more question. How do you handle with everything? What does inspire you and help in your working process?

– When you are working so much, you must believe in what you think! Change a little the (night) life of the inhabitants of the world cities is my goal… the first step is to understand them better and better, it’s why we do a lot of participation process…I Know that we cannot change everything but every little step is good!

– How do you think, what education should a lighting designer get to be in demand? Can architects become lighting designers?

– I’m architect (and urban planner), so I think, yes, architects can become lighting designers! And more than that, I think that’s easier for them to understand the space, the cities and to communicate with the architects (or landscape architects)

– How should a lighting designer cooperate with an architect during the working process?

– We must work in a collaboration process since the beginning… the lighting designers must understand the goal of the architects and to enhance them by night.

– What are the most important goals of city lighting?

– Understand the territory and the users and have the better “night answer” to them, and of course to enhance the architecture.

– Could you share with us your professional opinion, please? How a city lighting concept should make a favorable impact on people?

– I think that the cities must do more participation process with inhabitants… but also that every person who’s involved in the process of lighting scheme could be listen (for example, it’s very important also to listen to the “technical persons” to understand very well what we can do and what it’s very difficult).

– Could you tell us about your favorite Lighting projects in Europe and particularly in your own country?

– I have several lighting projects that I like, but maybe 2 of our last projects:

1.      In Borgehout (Antwerpen) is a good mix between patrimonial lighting scheme in “poor” neighborhood.

2.     In Namur the lighting scheme of the pedestrian walk inside of the Citadelle of Namur, with a lot of problematics of “respect of nature”.

– Could you, please, share your thoughts about cities that already have a good city lighting concepts?

– I’m not sure to know very well about the lighting concept of others cities but I remember in the last LUCI meeting in Rotterdam that I’ve heard a presentation about the lighting scheme of the Hague (from studio DL) and it was very interesting!

– What are current trends in the sphere of city lighting?

– I think that the “sustainable trend“ is now very important : how to answer to the needs of humans, meanwhile you “respect the planet”. It’s very interesting…You learn a lot finding solutions!

– What do you think about the lighting market? (trends, problematics, future of the market)

– I think the lighting market looks to answer to the needs of lighting designers (the fixtures are smaller and smaller, the consumption is lower) etc…but that there is yet a problem with the “confort” of the led public lighting. There is a lot of fixtures that blind the people… 

Free ticket to the trade fair (Interlight Design Academy is included)