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Theatrical lighting approach for urban benches and audience-actor interaction

Master thesis in Ligting Design

Aalborg University Copenhagen

June 2020



This report explores the potential of applying theatrical lighting approach for lighting of urban spaces with a focus on benches unused during the night-time. The thesis investigates the differences in lighting design practice applied in urban spaces and theatres and how the two can be merged to enhance the existing atmosphere of urban spaces, so they are used for longer periods of time. The literature study introduces the growing issue of non-places that affects new neighbourhoods, the criteria for choices of the sitting place and possible social interaction between the bench user and the pedestrians. Afterwards, in the pre-analysis section, examples of existing benches are gathered into a set of typologies that assess different forms that lighting can take in an urban space. In the case studies, the report scrutinizes three benches placed in new neighbourhoods of Copenhagen to find out that lighting issues that exist on similar benches are caused by the illuminance level that is higher on the audience than on the actors, the lighting fixtures that are placed too high and overall bad light distribution. The solution for the space is presented in the design proposal which applies a theatrical approach to reposition the lighting fixtures and adjust the distribution of light in the space. The report finishes with a test that underlines how the light intensity level affects the perception of the space and therefore influences its usage. The thesis aims to underline how the theatrical approach towards lighting design can enhance the existing lighting of urban spaces to encourage city inhabitants to use the benches more during the night-time.

by Igor Halicki

Supervisors: Ellen Kathrine Hansen, Mette Hvass, Arthur van der Zaag

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