LUCI Asia Urban Lighting Workshop – Highlights

The 2023 LUCI Asia Urban Lighting Workshop, held jointly by Seoul Metropolitan Government and LUCI, was an opportunity for participants including LUCI members from Asia and beyond to discuss the power of urban lighting to connect people and culture. 

>      145 participants, 20 cities officially represented  

>      Attendees from 14 countries

>      13 speakers

You can watch or rewatch the recordings of the presentations here as well as watch the highlights video. LUCI members can access the presentations as well as the recordings in the LUCI Hub.

Opening by Seoul Metropolitan Government and LUCI

The event organizers took the stage to open the 7th edition of the workshop. Participants were first warmly welcomed by Mr Chang-Su Ryu, Vice mayor II of SMG, and Mr Yong-Kyun Lee, Member of Seoul Metropolitan Council. Mark Burton-Page, LUCI General Director, then presented the Association’s objectives and activities and the important balance between light and dark, between nature and culture, to create harmonious environments.

“LUCI Association serves as a beacon of knowledge and collaboration for cities, guiding them towards a more sustainable future and navigating the challenges of urban lighting.”

– Mark Burton-Page, LUCI General Director

This introduction was followed by three presentations by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Director Inkyu Choi (Seoul Design Policy Division) shared the Seoul Design Policy 2.0 of Seoul’s vision to be a fun and active City. A human centric design approach leads the pathway from a “hard city” to a “soft city”, including a beautiful, contemporary and futuristic nightscape.

Director Kwanho Lee (Seoul Urban Landscape Division) gave an overview of Seoul Nighttime landscape policy.

“Seoul Metropolitan Government manages approximately 280 000 special lighting points, 230 000 security lights and 42 000 lighting points for parks and green spaces. It also manages 64 city art media façades installations.”

– Kwanho Lee, Director of SMG Urban Landscape Division

Art Director Jinhee Choi (Hanggang Bitseom Festival) presented the first 2023 SEOUL Hangang Bitseom light festival, that effectively implements Design Seoul 2.0 by transforming spaces to enjoy rich culture at night. She invited participants to return for the 2024 edition.

The session focusing on Seoul finalized with a lecture on media façades in the city by Professor Heesook Kim (Namseoul University Visual Media Design Department) who enlightened participants in the creative process of choosing these permanent installations.

Celebrating Seoul’s winning project of the LUCI Cities & Lighting Awards

After an introduction of the LUCI Cities & Lighting Awards, Mee Jung (EONSLD) took the stage to speak about the 3rd prize winning project: New Gwanghwamun Square Lighting.

In her presentation, she covered the space and historical aspect of the Square and the lighting design of this place before and after the project. She detailed  the development of the location’s lighting from uniformly bright with an industrial roadway to one full of contrast, creating more stimulation for visitors.

As a result, the Square now is a multi-functional pedestrian space with flexible lighting that creates a vibrant nighttime area for citizens. This new lighting correlates well to Seoul’s transition from industry-oriented hard to soft city where people are at the forefront, as previously discussed by Inkyu Choi.

International perspectives during the lecture and Urban Lighting in Asia Talks

The afternoon presentations offered a wide range of presentations covering various perspectives on lighting. Case studies presented in the lecture by Yah Li Toh (Light Collab), talks by Cyril Lamy (ScenoLight Atelier) and Jang Ho Kim (Suncheonman International Garden Facility Expo) presented case studies where lighting was at the heart of their projects. Toh presented her international projects that create sustainable luminous environments focused on both nature and people by bringing the outdoors inside. Lamy accentuated the important role of lighting designers who bring people together through lighting in his projects in Hanoi, Vietnam. Finally, Kim showed how both natural and artificial light highlights the natural phenomena and culture of the Sunset Garden, turning it into an open space for the public to enjoy.

On the other hand, sustainability and infrastructure of lighting were the focus of presentations by Mohammed Saiful Islam (Laksam Municipality) and Andre Permana (Penjaminan Infrastruktur Indonesia) as they discussed the projects and development of more energetically conscious lighting in Laksam, Bangladesh as well as Indonesia.

Karolina Pawlik (Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University) examined the lighting of the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, China that merges ancient aesthetics of light (daylight, moonlight, shadows and reflections) with modern technology such as drone shows and sound installations. She left the audience to consider how technology can help inherit, but not transform tradition while keeping the space educational and inspiring on an artistic level.

LUCI Coffee Bre@k went to LAULW

Heritage was also at the heart of the Coffee Bre@k, which allowed the LUCI network to connect to the Workshop online. Dr. Chanyaporn Bstieler’s presentation on “Development of Nighttime Identity for Urban Heritage in the Old Bangkok, Thailand” covered the research of the city’s existing lighting that in effect does not serve the city’s heritage due to over-lighting and adds to the local light pollution.

Through field surveys, photometric measurements, and interviews with local inhabitants, governmental and private sectors as well as international visitors regarding the perceived identity of Old Bangkok, the team created a light design objective. The resulting lighting strategy proposed by the lighting workshop team aimed to honor all communities of the city, creating cohesion between riverside and inland landmarks through color temperatures related to the city’s name and associations.

Dr. Bstieler concluded her talk with the invitation to participants to consider her research’s approach, believing that it can be adapted by other developing Asian cities to help create their sustainable night-time identity. In the Q&A, she emphasized the importance of dialogues with local as well as governmental circles in establishing their desired needs and impressions to create the different lighting possibilities which can also help fight light pollution.

The  recordings of all the presentations are available on YouTube. LUCI members will also find them on the LUCI Hub with access to additional information (powerpoint presentations and further references). 

The “LUCI Declaration for the future of urban lighting” in the spotlight of the interactive World Café

The second day of the workshop invited participants to actively engage in group conversations about topics related to the “LUCI Declaration for the future of urban lighting”. The Declaration is available in 5 languages: FR, EN, SP, NL and KO – download the LUCI Declaration here

International moderators and rapporteurs were tasked with leading the in-depth discussions at each table around:

  • urban lighting and well-being,
  • energy,
  • culture,
  • light pollution, and
  • light festivals.

The final group presentations were not only related to these independent topics, but also to the presenters’ expertise and presentations of the previous day. The concluding summaries related each topic to the urban lighting in the participants’ countries, often accentuating the similarities and differences of perceptions, definitions, legislations, and challenges.

Interactive social moments during tours

Alongside the main programme of lectures, presentations and the World Café, participants had the opportunity to explore Seoul’s daytime as well as nighttime landscape together with Korean culture. The opening night took them to the Banpo Hangang Park with its artificial islands where a popular dinner of fried chicken and beer were enjoyed during a musical and light show of the Banpodaegyo Bridge Rainbow Fountain.

At the end of the event, the Workshop participants enjoyed a guided visit of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism and also visited two main nighttime monuments of the Korean capital: Deoksugung Palace as well as the previously presented Gwanghwamun Square.

These in-person experiences of the city’s nighttime lighting have contributed to the participants’ experience of the city as well as allowed further networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities. We already look forward to the 8th edition of the LUCI Asia Urban Lighting Workshop that will continue this tradition of discussing and meeting fellow professionals in urban lighting in the region!

Photo credits
© Seoul Metropolitan Government; © LUCI Association