Friday, 5 December 2014


Photo by Morgan Flament

This great picture suddenly showed up on my Facebook news feed this morning, and I immediately decided I had to put it on the blog. It's taken from a new theatre play called "Apokalypse da" (Engl: "Apocalypse then") by the duo REBEKKA/HUY at Black Box Theatre in Oslo, which deals with the Vietnam war, seen from present day by a generation of actors born in the eighties. (Norwegian description on the theatre's website.) Unfortunately, I did not see it, so I don't know exactly what kind of scene is depicted here.

Lighting design was done by the brilliant (heh) (no, but seriously) Norunn Standal, and reveals two important points to me: The first, of course, is how light in itself can create a feeling of space. The entire "room" visible in this picture is defined by the reach of the lamps, with blurry, bulging edges, but still well-defined. I'm a lover of shadow in architecture, and she uses it masterly. The second thing to notice here, is how amazing artificial light can be. Using the "fog effect", dispersion of white light in smoke makes the whole scene and people glow, and lets us see things in new ways.

I love natural light as much as the next architect, but many people around the world, especially in Northern areas, spend large parts of their lives under dark skies. In this situation, it is the role of the architect and designer to recognize the fact that windows look more or less like large black squares for most of the time we see them.

Therefore, it must be one of the basic tasks of our professions to think new thoughts about how to create artificial lighting which helps bring about environments of high quality, a necessity in replacing the function of natural light when that is absent.
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