LAiPS partners discover Lyon’s light art strategy

The LAiPS Light & Art Lab took place in Lyon from 5-7 October 2022.

As part of the EU-funded Light & Art in Public Spaces (LAiPS) project, the Light & Art Lab is a platform combining site visits and peer-to-peer discussions to experience and exchange on light art projects. It aims to strengthen the operational capacities of local creative operators, including city officials, technical staff, and artists.

The second Light & Art Lab visit brought representatives from the cities of Oulu and Turin, partners of the project, to Lyon to explore light art strategies and discuss current challenges and future opportunities of light art.


Learning about Lyon’s lighting masterplan

Lyon is recognised as a pioneer for its urban lighting masterplan. In 1989, thanks to an avant-garde public lighting policy, Lyon adopted its first lighting masterplan with the intuition that light was a powerful tool to enhance the city and its rich heritage. The current lighting plan, implemented since 2005, has extended the illumination of monuments to streets and neighborhoods, creating multiple atmospheres that reflect the heterogeneity of the city. Since then, the changes in the uses as well as a strong call from citizens for more participative approaches, require the city to update and re-design the Lyon lighting masterplan. Cécile Lyoen, Project Manager at the Urban Lighting Department of the City of Lyon, presented to the LAiPS partners the challenges and opportunities of redesigning the Lighting Plan of the city in this next version of the plan that will be deployed in 2023. (LUCI members can rewatch the LUCI Coffee Bre@k presentation about Lyon’s new lighting masterplan on the LUCI Hub).

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Peer-to-peer exchanges

Peer-to-peer exchanges

In a time of multiple crisis, the necessity to experiment and constantly adapt the lighting installations is also present in Oulu and Turin. The Light & Art Lab offered the three cities the occasion to discuss the impact of the energy crisis on light art creation and the need to reaffirm the social role of light as the pressure to switch off illuminations is high. All partners asserted the importance of citizen participation to ensure the acceptance of dimming light, while responding to the local uses and practices.

transversal approach with the involvement of all the lighting stakeholders is also crucial to ensure the success of any lighting project. Accompanied by Les Grands Ateliers de l’Isle d’Abeau, the Department of Cultural Affairs presented how the city of Lyon is nurturing the collaboration with young students’ artists during the Fête des Lumières. Les Grands Ateliers is a place of cultural creation and experimentation. In partnership with the City of Lyon, they have launched an annual call for projects for “student experiments” to participate in the Lyon Light Festival. This partnership has enhanced collaboration with young artists and given them the opportunity to present their work at the heart of the festival. This inspiring partnership generated a discussion between the LAiPS partners on how to ensure cross-departmental collaboration in light art strategies. They also exchanged on how to experiment intermediate situations between permanent and temporary light art installations and how to ensure their maintenance.

Learning about Lyon’s lighting masterplan

In addition to the peer-to-peer discussions, the Light & Art Lab included two-night visits to experience major light art installations in Lyon while testing the Light & Art M(app), a new digital tool that will promote and raise awareness about light art in public spaces. Through two guided walks, the LAiPS partners discovered the Delandine Underpass, the West Perrache Underpass, Part Dieu Book Silo, Jean Macé, Duchère Cinema, Annonciade Vegetal Mural, and Cité Platière Library Mural.

These different light art installations illustrate the possibility for lighting stakeholders to explore the essential harmony between light and darkness in underused public areas. Thanks to a creative lighting strategy, these sites are now welcoming and safe public spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. They also demonstrate the possibility to respond to the energy crisis in a resourceful way, showcasing that lower lighting can not only respond to the light pollution issue, but also improve the user’s perception and reinforce a sense of place and identity.

Night visits and testing the Light & Art M

Up next

The City of Oulu will be hosting its own Light & Art Lab in February, stay tuned!

  • Learn more about the Light & Art in Public Spaces project
  • More about Art & Culture in LUCI