LIGHT IN THE PUBLIC REALM
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Carpenter, James
Institution: James Carpenter Design Associates
Section: Design Education Practice
In order to address daylight as a meaningful presence in the urban context, light needs to be understood as a
public resource and one that offers a collective engagement with, and biological connection to nature.
All those who contribute to the built context of our daily lives might well have a host of ideas about design
quality and purpose, but how often do they consider the essential place that our experience and perception
of light plays in our lives? Do they consider our dependence on a temporal sense of light, both diurnal and
seasonal, both to our physiological and psychological health?
Our interest is not so much a didactic approach to providing proven intensities or durations of light
necessary to human health. We collaborate with engineers and scientists to have our work embody this
knowledge, however our goal is more a poetic and aesthetic approach to place making. Consequently the
potential is for design that articulates a powerful sense and perception of light within the very building
fabric that makes up the public realm, whether it be in the design of curtain walls or street furniture. At
every scale of design there is an opportunity to articulate the presence of light and to unpack the dense
information contained within light.