Lighting Spaces, Creating Communities

Toon Reynders - Schréder Group Product Manager
Toon Reynders
Schréder Group Product Manager

Dynamic lighting has multiple benefits for cities. It saves energy, is better for the environment and looks great.

But today I want to discuss how dynamic lighting improves community.
Lighting can create engaging public spaces, boost social interaction and create a sense of spirit and pride.
That in turn means stronger social cohesion, as people discover (or rediscover) their city. 

As ever, the first step in doing this is listening to what cities need and want.
We work closely with planners and architects to do three things:

  • enhance heritage and cultural experiences,
  • create diverse social spaces where different communities can come together, and
  • encourage tourists to come and discover cities by night as well as day.

It’s one of my favourite aspects of my role as Product Manager here at Schréder. Another is (obviously) the products, so I’ll be mentioning a few of them…


Taking Pride in National Monuments

Algiers’ Maqam Echahid is an iconic landmark commemorating the Algerian war for independence, made up of three massive concrete palm fronds that come together and soar 92m into the sky. Inaugurated in 1982, the memorial is the most visited tourist attraction in the city.

In 2017, the local authorities decided to install a new system so they could illuminate the monument to mark special events. We worked with the local authorities using computer models and on-site mock-ups to showcase proposed designs.

Maqam Echahid is illuminated at night to highlight the heritage of Algiers and unite the community

Together, we developed a solution featuring three types of floodlight - OMNIblast, SCULPflood and Poss - to ensure a uniform colour on the concrete façade and minimal glare for users of the space.

The colours are are managed via a Pharos controller and easily adaptable for specific occasions.


Bridging The Gap: Dynamic Lighting Turns Legacy Structures into Talking Points

In North-East England, the Tees Newport Bridge is a vertical-lift bridge, where the whole structure can be lifted to allow ships to pass underneath. Dating back to 1934, the bridge performed its final lift in 1990, as ships no longer take this route, but it’s still a busy road bridge linking several major towns in this industrial region.

In 2014, for its 80th anniversary, Stockton Council wanted to implement a modern, energy-efficient LED lighting network that would make the bridge a landmark.
Local company Stainton Lighting Design Services invited Schréder bring our products to a night-time demonstration, along with representatives from several other lighting manufacturers, to see which were best suited to this exacting project. 

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We were delighted to present the SCULPflood 60 - it provided optimal control over the light distribution and was easier to install.
Following the demo, the project was put out to tender, with the SCULP luminaires selected to light Newport Bridge.
The bridge is now lit up in a vast array of colours, which can be changed at the flick of a switch, making it a focal point for the region.


New Aspects for Well-Loved Monuments

Lighting can be used to enhance heritage areas and bring new people to them.

In Prague, the National Museum which opened in 1891, is a symbol of the Czech national revival which put the city on the global map.
A national heritage site, it has recently undergone a three-year renovation which makes the renaissance revival façade an exhibit in itself.
We proposed various designs, renderings and simulations throughout the process to make sure this building, which is loved by Czech nationals, admired by foreign visitors, and deeply linked to the country’s history, got the lighting it deserved. 

The relighting of the National Museum in Prague as revitalised the building and area, improving social cohesion

White LEDs accentuate the wide array of details on the façade and highlight the individual windows and enhance the beautiful stone walls.

As for the social cohesion aspect, the customer wanted to make the space around the museum more inviting too, so people could enjoy the architecture after dark, too.
So we put OMNIstar floodlights on high masts create a warmly-lit, welcoming public space for visitors and local residents. In the city of Kafka, it’s a design solution that makes perfect sense.

Dynamic lighting can highlight landmarks like the Czech National Museum, create a regional icon like Tees Newport Bridge, or give a monument like Maqam Echahid a new dynamism, but that’s just the start.

Many cities boost footfall at night by installing these lighting systems with DMX, meaning building facades can be lit in an infinite range of colours and patterns for holidays, festivals and special days. 

As you walk through your city, think about the potential of urban spaces - because with the right light, they can become talking points and social spaces where people forge connections.


About the writer
Toon is an industrial engineer in electronics who always had a passion for lighting and technology. He seized the opportunity to join the industry after graduating and now brings his 10 years of experience in sales and marketing to develop lighting solutions for Schréder customers worldwide. 

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