Lighting the Way in Brunswick

Completed for the Design the Other Way Round research unit with Malte Wagenfeld at RMIT Industrial Design, this is a phenomenological design exploration into bike path lighting in Brunswick, Victoria.

The research

My own phenomenological research led me to see that the brightness, colour, frequency and repetition of street lighting has an effect on the emotions and moods of the people around it.

The problem

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The dark and foreboding underpass underneath Royal Parade near the intersection of Brunswick road is uninviting and scary to ride through. As a result, not many people take this path at night*

Improvements to the lighting design could entice more people to use the path, making their journey safer – as they wouldn’t need to cross a major road intersection to avoid this dark path.

The concept

A motion-detecting light tunnel that creates joy, wonder, excitement and safety for the path users, primarily cyclists.

An interactive experience for regular commuters through a mobile phone app that allows them to specify their favourite colour (or one to match their mood). With the app enabled, bluetooth receivers can identify the users chosen colour, and light up accordingly. This would need physical experimentation to see how feasible it is technically.

Scenario Design

The scenario depicted in my video covers the primary target for this concept – cyclists at night. Other users (such as pedestrians) would also enjoy the phenomena the concept creates, but it’s been primarily designed to be viewed whilst travelling at cycling speed. The area is also dark enough during the day that the lights would still have a nice effect for day users, but I haven’t had the time to visualise how this would look. The aesthetics of the lights themselves, and things such as vandalism protection and installation requirements will also need to be considered.

As part of this unit I also researched and submitted a visual essay on discovering the phenomenology and philosophy of light. You can read it by clicking on the PDF link below.

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I welcome any feedback on this project, as well as any offers to help me write a grant application and get it installed!

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