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The ‘social’ lighting design of Emergency Living Solution villages in Arquata

The training project, promoted by the Architectural School and iGuzzini is part of the Social Lightscapes Workshops cycle created by Configuring Light, an interdisciplinary research team from the London School of Economics

 

The ‘E. Vittoria’ School of Architecture and Design at the University of Camerino, based in Ascoli Piceno, and iGuzzini, in collaboration with Configuring Light, the interdisciplinary research team from the London School of Economics, presented the SAE community - established after the disastrous earthquake of 2016 - with the results of the workshop that has just been completed. The theme of the project aided by the Municipality of Arquata del Tronto and aimed at architecture and design students was: the competence and know-how of social research in the sphere of lighting design as a means of enhancing public space.

The design team was headed by Don Slater, the Co-Director of Configuring Light and Associate Professor (Reader) in Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE), and Elettra Bordonaro, the Lighting Designer and Co-founder of the Social Light Movement. In four days, the future designers conducted a meticulous research project that included observing physical spaces and how they are used by citizens and a meeting with the local community. On the basis of what emerged during the analysis phase, the team then developed solutions for improving the various areas under examination through the installation of temporary luminaires and much-needed street furniture. The results were then presented to the residents, local authorities and relevant associations in the hope that this design methodology can, in the near future, to be adopted in order to formulate design hypotheses for SAE villages. The workshop showed how carefully designed lighting can improve social cohesion and the integration of the people who live in a specific social space, while also regenerating the location itself.

The Pescara del Tronto project is the latest step in the Social Lightscapes Workshops. Social Research in design for lighting professionals. Before arriving at Pescara del Tronto, this cycle of workshops, which began in 2015, had already visited six different locations around the world, including London, Muscat, Timiŝoara, Brisbane, Rome and Paris, and examined a highly varied range of urban contexts and issues.

The ‘social’ lighting design of Emergency Living Solution villages in Arquata
The main themes of the Social Lightscapes Design workshop included understanding how to achieve better sociality and liveability conditions in temporary emergency settlements, and how light can help make the hidden, anonymous and poor quality public spaces between blocks of temporary housing more lively and practical. This helps recall and recreate the atmospheres in the typical meeting places in the ruined town and therefore creates a bond between the two locations. The students from the School of Architecture and Design and the inhabitants of the temporary settlements, masterfully guided by by their team leaders, succeeded in understanding the part that social participation can play in urban planning processes and the role of design in guiding the processes involved in transforming spaces and public services. In the name of the whole school, I would like to thank iGuzzini and the London School of Economics for having provided our students with this important experience of life and training.” Prof. Giuseppe Losco, Director of the “E. Vittoria” School of Architecture and Design at the University of Camerino

"This workshop has allowed us to work in close contact with the inhabitants of the areas hit by the earthquake and understand how to help rebuild these people’s lives that have been so profoundly changed by the tragedy. Starting from the lighting design and exploiting installations that show how light can have a concrete influence on urban spaces, we have acted by applying an overall view that unites technical design issues and social understanding. Creating a connection between light and design elements in general and people’s concrete needs is not a simple process. The workshop, however, allowed us to create a brief, but intense relationship between the students involved and the residents, which resulted in a number of real insights into how they viewed social space and what kind of solutions to adopt to best suit their needs.”
Don Slater, Co-Director of Configuring Light and Associate Professor (Reader) in Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE)

The workshop was extremely interesting. It was the first time we had worked in a temporary emergency living context. Despite the trauma of the earthquake that is still very much alive, the community welcomed us and the students as if we were family, which helped the results of the workshop immensely. Working on light in this context may seem superfluous and unnecessary, but light reveals how a population lives, what its activities are, and whether they can still be carried out. In a very short time, our social research helped us gain a better understanding of the problems at Pescara del Tronto and we hope it has been useful in helping residents choose the best way forward for the reconstruction process.”
Elettra Bordonaro, Lighting Designer and Co-founder of the Social Light Movement
The ‘social’ lighting design of Emergency Living Solution villages in Arquata
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