The first publication integrating sociological research and lighting design is now available
The London School of Economics hosts the launch of a new publication, Social Lightscapes Workshops, the first guide to integrating social science methods into lighting design. The event celebrates a collaboration between iGuzzini Illuminazione (a leader in architectural lighting), Configuring Light/Staging the Social (an interdisciplinary research group at the LSE), and the Social Light Movement.
This publication is the culmination of a 3-year research project (2014-2017), Social Lightscapes Workshops: Social research in design for lighting professionals to develop a social research approach to better understanding social space and to deliver lighting designs centred on the lives of people and their communities.
Configuring Light/Staging The Social comprises Don Slater, Associate Professor (Reader) in Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE), Joanne Entwistle, Reader at King’s College London and Elettra Bordonaro (lighting designer and Social Light Movement member).
“Lighting is increasingly taking centre stage urban design and urban issues, including concerns about economic and environmental costs, safety and well-being. Addressing these issues, while understanding what light means in people’s everyday lives, requires a deeper social understanding and social knowledge base for designers,” says Don Slater, Co-Director of Configuring Light and Associate Professor (Reader) in Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE).“The Configuring Light workshops provided a unique opportunity to see how social and spatial understandings could be combined to support professional lighting design.”
The workshop series launched when Elettra Bordonaro – an architect and urban lighting designer – joined Configuring Light in 2015 as an iGuzzini-funded Visiting Research Fellow in the LSE Sociology Department. The workshops were held in six locations around the world – each exploring different urban environments and different themes in city design. Each workshop brought design professionals or design students together with local stakeholders, institutions and citizens to explore specific social sites and develop design interventions.
The workshops started with Peabody’s Whitecross social housing estate, followed by: a renovating comprehensive school in London (Acland Burghley); a public market near Muscat, Oman; an historic square in Timisoara, Romania; a gentrifying district of Brisbane, Australia; a peripheral housing estate of Rome, Italy (Tor Sapienza); and a fragmented public square in Paris (Place des Fetes).
The publication tells the story of the workshops, and presents a detailed social research approach and toolkit, including guidance for carrying out workshops and for integrating social research in lighting design.
“The potential of light is often underestimated and the Social Lightscapes Workshops provided a structure for designers and architects to ask questions not only about architectural space but also about social space and social life – says Elettra Bordonaro, Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) – “The intensive workshops enabled us to explore and develop social research skills, in close contact with students, professionals and local communities.”
“We are proud to be making a contribution towards such an innovative project; with it we carry forward the process of raising cultural awareness embarked on by iGuzzini in the 1970s with a view to promoting the principle that there must be a project behind every lighting application and that the first responsibility of those designing lighting is a social one.” – says iGuzzini Illuminazione President Adolfo Guzzini - “This publication is the perfect expression of our mission, which has always been to improve people’s lives with lighting by investing in research, technology and knowledge.”
For this initiative, iGuzzini won the “Best Partner in the Industry”
award at the Professional Lighting Design Conference in 2017.
© photos by Catarina Heeckt
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