FURNISHINGS FOR THE URBAN LANDSCAPE: LIGHTING FIXTURES
When designing an exterior lighting ﬁtment, one always begins by thinking
about the unit’s future environment and context. The unit is not a simple
object but indeed itself a piece of ‘public space’. How should we
imagine our urban centers of tomorrow? What role will urban furnishings such
as streetlamps play and how will man relate to these units?
Our method relies on analysis of the impact these urban furnishings will have
on public space. When taking on this subject, we ﬁrst carried out preliminary
analyses of current trends in the design of urban centers and lighting ﬁxtures.
This led us to concentrate on studies of various urban environments in order
to highlight the relationship that is created between the object and its surroundings.
Our objective has been to analyze representative urban environments and underscore
a certain number of elements that make up these urban landscapes, including
various signs, codes, advertisements, graphics, textures, and the like. The
purpose was to bring attention to the over-abundance of information we take
in when passing through such cityscapes and to the overall vision it creates.
One quickly realizes that it is an ‘urban view’ made up of graphics
and visual patterns, and that any object that will be placed in this type of
urban context should be an integral part of its overall composition.
A study of the nature of the units’ proﬁle and contour turned out
to be the topic on which we initially concentrated our efforts. Our research
revealed simple, perceptible and ‘readable’ forms corresponding
to their particular environment and to speciﬁc ways of interpreting a
given urban space. The way urban ﬁxtures were perceived by a moving subject
was also taken into account.
The environment led us to think about the surface effects created by such ﬁxtures,
and we then proposed units of overall similar form that seemed to alter their
own appearance by, for example, destruction of the very shape of the objects
(blurring contours, etc.), by mimicry or imitation via a mirror effect, by direct
integration into the overall pattern or by the application of recognizable images
and signs. This approach has allowed us to go beyond discussion of the colour
of the unit (texturized, gray, tinted glass, etc.) by proposing new surface
effects that deal both with the chosen material and its environment.
Finally, the relationship between the urban object and the individual has remained
essential to our research and has led us to recognize a ﬁner scale of
textures and outer surfaces.