Les Eclairagistes Associes/Lyon/FR
Part of the exhibition ” The Future of Urban Lighting – eight visions of the masters of Light”
headed by Laurant Fachard
Les Eclairagistes Associés Les Eclairagistes Associés (L.E.A.), founded by Laurent Fachard in 1989, is a leading European lighting design studio and has consistently generated excellent lighting concepts and built schemes. Projects include lighting for permanent and events installations with the emphasis on landscape and urban spaces.
LEA prides itself in having achieved the lighting-environment of the cover of the A1 Highway in Saint-Denis (Paris), the left bank of the Garonne river in Bordeaux, the architectural lighting for the Roman Arena in Nîmes and of the Palais de l’Elysée in Paris. Recent projects include the the lighting environment of Château de Versailles’s gardens or the architectural illumination of the National Fine Arts School in Paris (ENSBA).
Considering that lighting determines sensory perception of an environment through play on light colours, contrasts and directions, and through a hierarchy of fluxes, and that light amplifies, emphasises, organises, dramatises or understates how space is experienced, LEA ‘s team serve their projects through a unique combination of technicity and creativity .
Laurent Fachard, since 1973, has developed his lighting expertise in collaboration with numerous creators, stage and film directors, choreographers, musicians, visual artists, architects, urban planners and landscape architects. Starting from his apprenticeship in the “black box” of theatre and film he has developed the art of lighting design to the urban scale. In 1989, he founded his technical design office and independent design studio, Les Éclairagistes Associés, in Lyon.
The studio now project manages lighting design for buildings, infrastructure and, primarily, urban public spaces. Overcoming the constraints associated with urban intervention, Laurent has been able to execute totally unique and original construction modes and lighting concepts (Place des Terreaux and Parc Gerland, in Lyon; P4000B prison lighting programme for the French Justice Ministry). Laurent was artistic director for the Lyon Festival of Lights from 1998 to 2002.
He is a founding member of the Association des Concepteurs Lumières et Eclairagistes (ACE), a member of the Association Française de l’Eclairage (AFE) and a member of the International Lighting Designers’ Association (ILDA).
NIGHT-TIME ANIMATION OF URBAN SPACE
“Over the past 15 years, scenography has increasingly been referenced in discourse on urban space. Urban planners and project owners, through exploring modern scenographic tools, have come to consider architecture and public space as conveyors of meaning and as values of usage, memory and sensations as much as of aesthetics and representation. As a result, they are addressing cities in a sense-sensitive way by engaging landscapists, lighting designers and sometimes artists too.
While we may wish for a city that is beautiful and vibrant with attractive and occasionally spectacular public spaces, the term of scenography as applied to urban design is an ambiguous one. Many people possibly liken it to the installation of a decor which excessively favours the formal appearance of spaces and architecture, and which sometimes forgets that, in-between aesthetics and functionality, spaces are only meaningful when inhabited.
Even from behind windows, cities are experienced at night too.
Lighting artists and technicians with a background in shows know that the transformational power light exerts over people, objects, materials and space must be adapted to the specific requirements of the urban night. Following in the footsteps of Adolphe Appia, who revolutionised stage lighting early in the last century, lighting artists reflect on and propose ways to use the resources available to the urban scenographer. In Appia’s view, the three factors in a staging were the actor, then the stage arrangement, and above all light, which should serve and enliven the first two.
Distancing himself from “spectacular” stagings, the lighting artist leverages the expressive power of light to serve inhabitants and also their activities, comfort, pleasure and safety. He is asked to reveal presences and to magnify spaces, forms and selected materials. Struggling with standardised lighting equipment and facilities, the lighting designer seeks to make light “active” and thus render users “active” too. His proposition? To offer multiple ways in which to apprehend places and the events held there. Consequently, new public space designs featuring materials chosen for their reaction to light, tailored lighting equipment and constructed light environments to which a certain quality is imparted, offer city-dwellers an atmosphere, signs, meaning and a new kind of comfort that confer on the places a certain quality and night-time identity – thus promoting a feeling of wellbeing and safety.
In poor suburban estates, neglected spaces and dreary, insecure neighbourhoods, fresh thinking is needed. Light can render them more identifiable, more welcoming, more reassuring. The relationship between the various elements that contribute to the mise en forme of public space is where light can emphasise or understate; it can give rise to an aesthetic sensation or simply the feeling of being in tune with the place where one lives.”