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Parsons School of Design MFA Lighting Design program theses2008 (PC020404.07) ➔ Image of the City At Night: Patterns of Perception


Related people/organizations

Phan Dung (designer)
Margaret Maile (thesis advisor)
Enrique Peiniger (thesis advisor)
Derek Porter (thesis advisor)
Nathalie Rozot (thesis advisor)
Peter M. Wheelwright (thesis advisor)




As more and cities begin to redefine themselves as cities of light, the concern in the lighting design field will be how to manage the increased illumination without compromising of the city’s nocturnal identity. Some cities have simply chosen to over saturate areas of their cities with lighting, colors, and media projections in an effort to achieve a notable image.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music Cultural District project explores the creation of an identifiable image for the neighborhood through use of basic patterns of points, lines and planes, and volumes as composed by the observer moving through the city. These are the minimal forms of lighting that cannot be reduced further without compromising the image of a district, region, or city. The goal is to reduce illumination by proposing specific elements by which the lights in the nightscape can be suppressed to obscurity and raised to recognition. As a result, the project also explores the various domains of lighting, from the natural, the public, the intermediary, and the private, which could theoretically or practically be accessed by the lighting designer to compose the nighttime identity. My approach is paired with the understanding of the visual neurobiology; visual recognition of an image through edges, high contrast values, and potential interest points which leads to effective lighting design. The emerging approach of lighting design in cities is masterplanning for a composed image of light and darkness for maximum imageability.



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