Last week I attended a small gathering at Philips Design to workshop ideas for a public lighting scheme in Eindhoven.
The most important aspect of the Web of Light workshop for me was the focus on the motivation for installing any of the multitude of technology wizardry available. The question “Why?” took us beyond the functional aspects of safety and security or the aesthetic art installations, and forced us to think about the different community perspectives that “public light” could play in creating stimulating urban environments.
The discussions through the day meandered between different ideas but the three themes we presented at the end encapsulate the major themes of: creating interventions to encourage the digital natives to interact in public spaces (a positive take on hanging around on street corners); encouraging community interaction through creating desirable shared public spaces (a midnight urban farm was proposed as a vehicle for productive light and a beacon(s) of activity); and the idea of displaying the inputs and outputs of the creative community at Strijp S (the new smoke stacks).
Looking forward to seeing how these ideas develop both in terms of creating useful applications and in the technology backbone to be delivered (66 acres of individually addressable LEDs). [Note: one route to next steps will be through a design challenge for the Hot100 at PICNIC 2010]