Winning designs




PROJECT NAME : Crowd Darkening

NAME OF WINNERS : Sabine De Schutter, Florian Peter Strenge, Sebastian Krapp, Thuy Chinh Duong,     Birte Schaper, Mia-Alina Schauf, Hanna Martus

PLACE : Berlin, Allemagne


Last month we announced the winners of the 2013 CLU Foundation Contest whose main purpose is to encourage young designers to develop innovative lighting concepts for exterior public spaces. In the next few weeks we will be posting interviews with the three winners.

Today, I have the pleasure of posting an interview with the 1st prize laureate, Sabine De Schutter from Belgium, is co-founder of the Berlin-based lighting design sutdio jack de nimble and her team from Germany who won for the project Crowd Darkening. This project was chosen by the jury as the winner because of its interventions on a human scale. It takes into account the security of the users as well as bringing a poetic and intimate dimension to the lighting. 

We wish to congratulate Sabine De Schutter and her team on winning the first prize of the Socialight, CLU Foundation Contest.


Tell me about yourself, your career and your education.

We are a multi-disciplinary group that at times teams up under the name “What Would Harry Do?” to work on specific and passion-driven user-centered design projects. We aim to empower others with our methods and creative spirit.

Sabine De Schutter, Belgium, is co-founder of the Berlin-based lighting design studio jack be nimble, and she lectures at Hochschule Wismar.

Sabine has an M.A. Interior Architecture and a M.A. in Architectural Lighting Design. In 2012 Sabine received the award of Young Lighter of the Year for her research “Shadow designing Space”.

Thuy Chinh Duong, Germany, works as a freelance Design Thinking coach and consultant, and is part of the teaching team at HPI School of Design Thinking, Potsdam. She is interested in innovation in the fields of
transportation and infrastructure planning, sustainability and education. Chinh studied in Berlin, Montréal and London and holds a M.Sc. in Applicable Mathematics.

Hanna Martus, Germany, is involved in different cooperative, trans-disciplinary projects in the field of social and ecological sustainability. Her passion topics are education, mobility and healthcare. She lived and studied in Barcelona for seven years and works now from Berlin as a graphic designer and consultant for a responsible design approach with her own company BEWUSST-SIGN.

Sebastian Krapp, Germany, is working as a physician in Switzerland, and studied Design Thinking. He loves to occasionally exchange his hospital duties for working in multidisciplinary teams on topics such as
innovation in healthcare, mobility and education. Sebastian dreams to achieve a more patient-centered and work-friendly healthcare system in the future.

Birte Schaper: Germany, works as a research associate at the Berlin based Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht. Holding a M.Sc. in Economics from Humboldt University, her current research interests include business model generation, start-up ecosystems and dynamics of social networks.

Mia-Alina Schauf: Germany, conducts research in the areas of corporate management and business culture, regarding the question how to make an organization become innovative. She works as a freelance consultant with the Design Thinking approach. She holds a master degree in Business Sociology.

Florian Strenge: Germany, focuses mainly on urban design and transportation issues. He worked in the fields of electric mobility and renewable energies and is holding a degree in economic psychology. In 2012, he and a team of “What Would Harry Do?” won an international urban planning contest with a system that re-organizes informal public transport in Vientiane, Laos.


Where does your interest in lighting design come from?

Sabine: It might have been nurtured through my parents which where photographers. Through them I certainly learned to look at light. However I wanted to work with space of which I find its atmosphere the most important element. And as light is the key ingredient to influence an ambiance, I got intrigued and this is how I discovered the lighting design profession.

Each member of the team takes through his/her background an interest in lighting. The fact that we are surrounded by natural or artificial light all the time, makes it a self evident aspect. Nevertheless it is those moments where we lack light or where the lighting is not suitable, that we notice it the most. It was very interesting to share these experiences with each other.


Why did you choose to participate in the Socialight contest?

We found the topic of lighting together with the social component very interesting. We like to question the given, in this case street lighting and the urban nightscape, and create solutions that emerge from the users needs.


Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of Crowd Darkening and what is the social aspect of this project?

Through intense discussion on social structures and thoughts on how our society could evolve, we came up with some aspects that we were keen on incorporating in our concept, for example, we wish that street lighting could become a tool that improves well-being. It became clear to us that we didn’t want to invent any new light source nor luminaire, however create a social process to define the light!


Do you think that your proposal could become a reality?

Our proposal could be realized today. We designed Crowd Darkening solely with technology that is already on the market, as our focus was on creating a new social lighting system. Our proposal minimises light pollution and energy usage. And we hope that this could persuade governments to look beyond the initial cost, and appreciate a social lighting scheme.

When we are designing, we specify our question as much as possible. In this case we had a few people (users) in mind and a park in Berlin. It would be great to see our proposal being realized over there.


What were your motivations for Crowd Darkening?

There where different values that we wanted to incorporate in our concept.
Firstly we aimed to design a lighting system that adapts to the social use of the public realm, thus creating a pleasant atmosphere at the place where it is needed. This generates public spaces to which the user can identify him or herself, and consequently find their sense of belonging. We found identification to a public space essential, as people get more and more de-rooted and life is increasingly more virtual.

Secondly, we had environmental motivations. Illuminating where and when it is needed is an effective way to reduce energy consumption, decrease electricity expenses and light pollution.

All these facets added up to designing a locally responsive atmosphere for parks and public spaces that enhances the well being of its users and the neighborhood as a whole.


Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?

The illumination intensity and the height of light source correspond to the time of day, the amount of people in the park and their location.

When someone enters the park it activates a change in the light level. On the one hand, there is more illumination when there are fewer people, giving a higher feeling of security through optimum visibility of the surrounding. On the other hand, you need less light when you are with a group of friends. A low-level cozy lighting creates a pleasant setting to socialize.

We thought give illumination where it is needed, and as well as also generating energy where there is activity. Every contact from the visitors with the parks soil generates electric current, through kinetic energy. Like this the visitors of the park fuel their own illumination, making public lighting more sustainable.


How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis?

Light is becoming increasingly more complex as technology is evolving. There is not just the incandescent bulb anymore, but a whole range lamp and luminaire types adding to the choice. The importance of lighting design in architecture and public spaces is becoming more recognized, as people and planners become more aware. I believe that in the long-term, lighting design will be as known and recognized as architecture is today.

How do you see your professional career evolving?

We will keep on questioning the status quo, and we hope that we, as a team, will be developing plenty of innovative concepts that can challenge and improve the present.
We will keep on creating concepts that are people orientated. We hope to find plenty of clients that are open to our new and fresh ideas and that we can help them with our multi disciplinary expertise.




NAME OF WINNERS : David Sasaki, Son Van Huynh, Christopher Mudiappahpillai

PLACE : Toronto, Canada


David Sasaki from Canada is the 2nd prize winner of the 2013 CLU Foundation Contest for his project Light Fall. It was deemed by our jury as being very creative as well as functional. It addressed a key part of the city: the vertical spaces.

Congratulations on winning the 2nd prize of the Socialight,  CLU Foundation Contest.

Thank you!


Tell me about yourself, your career and your education.

My name is David Sasaki and I’m a Project Architect currently practicing at the architectural firm ARK located in the city of Toronto. I have received My Master of Architecture from the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto in 2008 and I have an undergraduate degree in Engineering.  My personal interests include the study and understanding of light and the exploration of the intersection of Film and Architecture.

My colleague Son Van Huynh received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Toronto, and is currently completing his PhD in Art History and Visual Culture at York University in Canada. The intersection of memory, place, and architecture lies at the heart of his research and work. Huynh is a project designer for architectural office ARK in Toronto and holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Christopher Mudiappahpillai believes that Design can make the world a better place, and that every problem should be critically considered – “good enough” is not an option, and settling for less usually ends up costing more than the solution is worth in the long run.  He works at The Working Group, where he focuses on facilitation, with both designers and developers, as they solve customer problems.  Christopher graduated from The University of Toronto, where he studied Philosophy.


Where does your interest in lighting design come from?

My interest in lighting design is inspired by my preoccupation with both natural and artificial light and the exploration of their relationship and individual properties. I believe that an intimate understanding of light is paramount to meaningful architectural design.


Why did you choose to participate in the Socialight contest?

The Socialight contest was of particular interest as it dealt with both light and future urban projections. It was an opportunity to speculate on the consequences that future urban conditions will have on the urban population and light access within this context.


Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of Light Fall and what is the social aspect of this project? 

The initial idea for Light Fall, came from studying the relationship between the ever rising skyline and the depth that it allows direct sunlight to penetrate into the urban fabric.  As vertical forms of future urban centres continue to grow both in height and concentration they prevent direct sunlight from reaching the ground plane and cast the dwellers below into perpetual shadow.  Disconnecting the urban population from the sun triggers health issues such as seasonal affective disorder, and lack of vitamin D production in the skin which may lead to depression and other health risks.  Light Fall seeks to find resolution between the skyline and the penetration of sunlight in order to increase sun access.


 Do you think that you proposal could become a reality? 

This idea is already a reality in a sense as it is based on the idea of channelling or bending light. The bending of light can be accomplished by numerous materials and methods such as light pipes (fibre optics, flowing water), or as light travels from one medium to another.  The major hurdle is the transmission loss that occurs as the light travels through the light pipe to its destination.  This of course leads to other interesting questions and ideas such as light amplification and light storage.

Numerous products already exist today which employ fibre optic cables to transfer natural daylight to basement levels in buildings. In nature, the silica structure of the Venus Flower Basket acts to harvest ambient light from above and transport it to the ocean floor below, creating a dwelling place for seahorses – an example of light contributing to symbiotic relationships.


What were your motivations for Light Fall?

The primary motivation for Light Fall is to return the shadow covered ground plane to a more humane condition by providing urban inhabitants with greater access to natural light – despite the seemingly unstoppable trend of vertical densification within urban centres.  Greater access to light and (re)connecting the urban population to the rhythms of the sun will ultimately provide a healthier living environment.


 Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work? 

Light Fall works to harvest, transport, and distribute the light of the sun to urban inhabitants living within vertical concentrations. Light is harvested from the roofs of buildings and partially from their faces receiving direct sunlight (i.e., the tallest of the high-rises) and transferred to the inhabitants below. Distribution points exist at various levels, not only distributing light to the public at grade, but increasing access to sunlight for those who live / work in the constantly shaded faces of surrounding high-rises. By channeling sunlight, this intervention reduces the need for artificial illumination and energy consumption and returns the temporal qualities of the sun.

This intervention essentially uses the idea of bending or channelling light around buildings to allow them to defeat their own shadows.  If buildings were able to defeat there own shadows – that is, did not produce shadow – what would this notion do to our everyday urban experience?


How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis? 

The future of lighting design will have to consider the integration of natural and artificial lighting techniques.  Sustainability and excess energy consumption will demand a return to more natural or sustainable forms of lighting.  Hybrid lighting solutions will become important – those which harness the usefulness of the sunlight by day and switch to artificial supplements by night (or during cloudy conditions).


How do you see your professional career evolving? 

I would like to continue to develop ideas and solutions and eventually be in a position to one day unify my architectural career with my thoughts.



PROJECT NAME : 10577 Rays in Helsinki

NAME OF WINNER(S) : Roque Peña Pidal

PLACE : Madrid, Espagne


Spanish Architect and Designer Roque Pena Pidal is the 3rd prize winner of the 2013 CLU Foundation Contest for his project 10577 Rays in Helsinki. The jury selected his project because it uses light as an event and it would bring people together. His proposal to have an assembly of reflectors to make the winter solstice as bright as the summer solstice would help the population by increasing their serotonin levels. It is created for a specific location and resembles a big public event.

First, congratulations on winning the 3rd prize of the Socialight, CLU Foundation  Contest. 

I wish to thank the CLU Foundation, the Jury and Philips Lumec for the prize and the interesting subject of the Contest. I also thank Roger Wilson and Alicia Andrés who helped me.


Tell me about yourself, your career and your education.

I studied architecture at the Universidad Europea de Madrid and at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris, where I had the opportunity of having Sir Peter Cook as a professor. I graduated in Madrid in July 2013 with distinction. About one year and a half ago, I began a personal project called Waspmod focused in the digital fabrication in architecture. Now I’m starting up ExArchitects, an Architecture Studio specialized in parametrical design and digital fabrication with my colleague Jose Salinas. I worked with several Architecture Studios and Artists.


Where does your interest in lighting design come from?

I agree with Philippe Rham when he says “Architecture should no longer build spaces but rather create temperatures and atmospheres.” Also, I’m fascinated with Alvar Aalto’s use and consideration of light. In my Master Project the goal was to generate public space, so I decided to work with the light knowing by my own experience the positive influence of light in space design.


Why did you choose to participate in the Socialight contest?

A friend of mine told me about this contest because it suited the subject I was interested in and in which I had been working for the last year.


Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of 10577 Rays in Helsinki and what is the social aspect of this project? 

In Finland, people experience negative mood changes (low levels of serotonin) related to the few hours of sunlight in the winter time. This is medically recognized as a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). My proposal concentrates light so that at the winter solstice, there is the same illuminance as the summer solstice. The scheme lifts the spirits of the Finnish people, and increases their serotonin levels. It creates an uplifting, bright public space in the winter, bringing people together through the manipulation of light.


Do you think that you proposal could become a reality?

It’s an ambitious project that wouldn’t be cheap but whose benefits for the inhabitants of Helsinki would be worth building it. In my opinion it is very important to invest in public spaces in the cities.


What were your motivations for 10577 Rays in Helsinki?

The motivation was very simple, to develop a social architecture that helps people in everyday life.  I would like to recommend you a very inspiring clip of the Vitorio de Sica’s film “Miracolo a Milano”, where you can see something very similar to my proposal’s goal.


Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?

The scheme reflects and densifies light to a focal space. 6838 parabolic shaped forms are strategically located over the adjacent surroundings with an area twenty times as big as the focal space. The 10577 reflectors of the infrastructure, built in fiberglass with a mirror finish, rotate in one axis to direct the light under its 11600 m2 canopy.

Thanks to the parametric design and the computer control the movement of the reflectors can be automated and follow the sunlight.


How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis?

I would like it to evolve in an ecological –in the sense of Félix Guattari’s  “Three Ecologies”- and responsible way. Good examples are the ideas proposed in this contest and the ones that are generated from it.


How do you see your professional career evolving? 

I wish to continue developing my ideas in order to work on projects that help people to improve their lives through the study and design of the space and the environment. I enjoy working in many different areas, from architecture to art, so there is a lot to do!




NAME OF WINNER(S) : Alberto Vasquez

PLACE : Mezotur, Hongrie



PROJECT NAME : Tracing Moment

NAME OF WINNERS : Sungyeon Hwang, Sungyub Kim, Minkyoung Youn, Hyein Zhang

PLACE : Gunpo, Corée du Sud



PROJECT NAME : Wastelight

NAME OF WINNER(S) : Chironne Moller

PLACE : Pretoria, Afrique du Sud



PROJECT NAME : Night Poetry

NAME OF WINNER(S) : W. Victoria Lee

PLACE : Cambridge, Royaume-Uni



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