LUCE 348

June 2024

Magazine founded by AIDI in 1962
Editor-in-chief  Mariella Di Rao

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COVER PHOTO: Graphics specially created for LUCE by Alfonso Femia/AF*Design


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In this issue:


Light, architecture, design and art as forms of social responsibility
by Mariella Di Rao

“How great the world is in the light of the lamps and in the eyes of memory, how small and slight…” wrote the great poet Charles Baudelaire when electricity did not yet exist, because light has always played a significant role on visual and performing arts, literature and the human thought. The connection between light, culture and society is as profound as its interaction with science, art and the social environment. That is why studying and better understanding this wonderful element is essential, as it involves the whole of society and not only those working in the industry. But, at the same time, it increasingly requires the light to tell the story of society and its changes. It is a connection that can be seen in the narration of projects carried out by those who have a cultured vision of lighting. I use the adjective “cultured” rather than cultural because, in my opinion, it better expresses the added value of knowledge in the sense of intellectual curiosity that paves the way for innovative, creative design that knows how to look beyond light and, above all, into the future … The cover of this issue is designed and signed by architect Alfonso Femia who well interprets the need for proper lighting as a fundamental element for our survival.  He explains it with saying: “We need light … to slow down and turn our gaze towards the light, to imagine and look out over horizons drawn by light and to share and recount moments in the light, and in the shadow of ideas light is time and we are time.”

Photo courtesy CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati


Carlo Ratti: “The future belongs to the curious by profession”
by Mariella Di Rao

Curious, open to novelties and interdisciplinary exchange, attentive to the interpretation of society and its changes: these are some of the salient aspects that define the personality of the architect and engineer from Turin who has been chosen to curate the next Architecture Biennale in Venice. Carlo Ratto is also the director of the Senseable City Lab at the MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, which is a laboratory where research is carried out and new technologies are experimented to transform cities into increasingly green and sustainable places. Back in 2008, Ratti was included in the list of the sixty best international innovators of the last sixty years. His relationship with the technology he applies in both building construction and town planning, is scientific and holistic at the same time. It is a relationship that he tells us about in this interview, where a free, innovative way of thinking, always open to new challenges stands out, distinguishing his entire educational and professional career…

Photo courtesy Ferragamo


New languages: when fashion meets design
by Silvana Annicchiarico

What is design today? What new creative horizons and trends emerged during the latest edition of the Milan Design Week? With her contribution, the architect, lecturer and design expert Silvana Annicchiarico helps us to better understand what is new in this discipline and gives us a critical reading of the Milan Design Week. 
“… The most interesting contamination, which has been strongly confirmed also in the context of the Milan Design Week 2024, is undoubtedly that between design and fashion: they are two disciplines – considered not so long ago as completely unrelated between them, if not mutually exclusive, and with distinct goals and approaches – that are increasingly perceived and practised as synergetic and complementary. This evolution represents not only a change in creative practices, but also an opportunity to explore new forms of artistic expression and innovation.  One of the most noticeable trends has been the incorporation of typical fashion elements and techniques in industrial and furniture design. Iconic fashion brands have collaborated with designers and artists to create installations and unique pieces that combine materials, styles and aesthetics from both sectors. The fluidity of the boundaries between these disciplines has opened up new creative horizons, encouraging experimentation and innovation. At the same time, it has enabled consumers to have richer and more meaningful experiences where art, design and fashion come together to create a stimulating and engaging dialogue …”

Photo © Andrea Rossetti; courtesy LAS Art Foundation


Giulia Foscari’s cultural and sustainable project
by Monica Moro

The author has collected the testimony of Giulia Foscari Widmann Rezzonico, a Venetian architect and artist who pursues works that are a combination of project, research and activism in favour of the planet thanks to the foundation of a non-profit agency for interdisciplinary research on the common goods of humanity and, especially, on climate change. She has been awarded by the European Commission for her work and is a board member of the MoMA, the MuVE Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and the ASOC Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition. From this commitment comes Criosfera, the lamp she designed for Artemide. The lamp takes its inspiration from the ice cores from which paleo-climatologists extract climate data captured in air particles embedded in millennia-old layers. “… It is magical to think that the ice contains what is the most evanescent thing in our planet, the air, and how, in turn, it contains the knowledge that we must mobilise in order to mitigate our footprint on the planet and protect its precarious balance …”

Photo © Rasmus Hjortshoj


Novartis Pavillon in Basel
A flexible architecture showcasing the encounter between science and art

by Paolo Calafiore

Michele De Lucchi’s Milan-based studio AMDL Circle is synonymous with innovation, but also with advanced research aimed at balance, sustainability and synesthesia of design elements. Recently, together with iArt – Studio for media architectures, it was awarded the prestigious Grand Prix – Red Dot Award 2023 for the Novartis Pavilion Zero Energy Media Façade project, created for Novartis Pharma AG in Basel, Switzerland.
The author met with AMDL Circle Art Director Nicholas Bewick, Project Architect of this extraordinary building where science and art merge into light. This is a project where sophisticated architectural balances and the use of new technological and green solutions allow the beauty of emotional impact to seamlessly coexist with sustainability. “… We hope that the Novartis Pavilion will communicate the sense of an evolutionary and research process focusing on the human being and that it will be recognised as a place dedicated to discovery and knowledge through a 360° degree communication, a place where the new generations interested in studying the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry will be able to understand what the opportunities and challenges of this sector in the coming decades.” 

Photo © Raffaele Vincelli


Luminous transitions
Variations in white tones for the lighting design of the archaeological site of Peltuinum, Prata d’Ansidonia (AQ)

by Alessandra Reggiani

Here, the light is seen as the fruit of a creative moment where technical expertise merges with analytical skills and expressive poetry, generating images and messages of high cultural depth. This is what stands out in the lighting project designed and implemented by the architect and lighting designer Francesca Storaro for the fascinating archaeological site of the ancient Roman city of Peltuinum, in Prata d’Ansidonia (AQ). The designer, after thoroughly investigating the history and identity of the site, came up with a design concept closely connected to the site’s specific identity and configuration. Referring back to the basic concept of the practice of transhumance – i.e. the seasonal migration of flocks and herds from the pastures located in hilly and mountainous areas (in summer) or, vice versa, towards the plains (in winter) – Francesca Storaro has skilfully translated the theme of the ” crossing” in terms of light, identifying it as a key element of the design process. The installation is configured as a path of light that through the changing nature of its colour – very carefully studied and managed by a precise and sophisticated management system – proposes an idea of “visual journey”, or a journey through the Colour Temperature range of the White Light, passing from warm, daytime and solar tones to cold, nocturnal and lunar ones, in the rhythmicity between day and night, and in the seasonal alternation between summer and winter.

Photo courtesy Pininfarina


Light and the cities
by Paola Testoni, Pietro Mezzi

We are hearing more and more about the regeneration of cities, and we are finally realising that many urban spaces are not liveable because they are soulless, anonymous, and unwelcoming or unsafe. We often find ourselves inside non-places, as the anthropologist Marc Augé calls them, spaces in which people pass by, but which no one actually dwells in. The concept of urban regeneration thus arises from a need to meet different requirements but all of which are starting from a new way of conceiving and understanding the city, one that is more welcoming, more habitable and more on a human scale. In this context, the light also takes on a very significant role, because if the way of thinking about the city changes, the way of lighting it must not fail to change too. The lighting will have to be increasingly seen not as a mere functional tool, but as a dimension of living in the city without possibly experience any difference between historic centres and suburbs. We tackle this theme in an interview with the urban architect Nicoletta Cenci, who talks about this need to understand lighting no longer as a purely practical tool, but as a dimension of living in the city, and with the story of the new lighting project for the city of Perugia, a good example of collaboration among the local administration, Edison Next and the University.

Photo © Silvia Lelli


Vincent Longuemare: “Light is an active, tangible and concrete matter”
by Cristina Tirinzoni

“‘In Dieppe, light shines like a jewel’, said Matisse. I was born and grew up in Dieppe, the most north-eastern point of Normandy, an en plein air stage of extraordinary light effects: an almost unreal light suddenly appears and disappears within dark clouds moving across the sky. The wind amplifies the light on things. That light is still with me,” says Vincent Longuemare, born in 1961, an internationally renowned lighting and stage designer and a citizen of Bari by adoption. In the interview, he tells us about the essence of lighting design and the poetic architecture of light in theatre. “I will borrow the image of the eye inserted into a triangle enveloped in rays of light, with the vertex at the top. So, for me the light designer is that eye that sees everything, capable of relating the three sides of the triangle – the actor’s body, the stage space and the audience’s gaze – and of giving final form to direction, scenes, costumes, actors and sound. He is able to step in with the lighting where the show is weakest and retreat where it works the best. It is a good light that comes out of the harmony of all the elements on stage but it is also suggesting the direction of the audience’s gaze. So, it is a silent language that is able to describe and complete the narration of atmospheres, feelings and moods…”

Image © Lorenzo Mazzali


Photovoltaics: current state of the art, how it works and opportunities
by Filippo Spertino

Among the sources used to produce electricity, what stands out in recent years is solar energy converted into electricity through photovoltaic technology based on thin sheets of a semiconductor, which is well known in electronics, namely monocrystalline silicon. In the last years, photovoltaics (PV for short) has gained the world’s number one spot for new electricity production installations, surpassing fossil technologies, nuclear fission technologies and renewable technologies, so both long-exploited (hydroelectric power plants) and newly exploited ones such as wind turbines. We discuss the topic with Filippo Spertino, full professor of electrical systems at the Energy Department of the Politecnico di Torino, who talks about the application and possible developments of this technology.

Photo courtesy Manens SpA


Designed natural light: metrics and calculation tools
by Giorgio Butturini and Andrea Fornasiero

The authors, who are experts in the subject, address the topic of how to design a good natural lighting, which is a fundamental aspect of our environment, of our daily lives and the relationship between nature and man. As well as facilitating vision natural light not only shapes architectural spaces, but also influences energy consumption (for artificial lighting) and, no less important, the ability to concentrate, our mood and the circadian cycle due to the variation in the production of melatonin, which is regulated by the eye’s non-visual receptors as a function of the variation in light intensity and colour temperature. The optimisation of the strategies of access to natural light in inhabited places is a critical design element for the success of buildings, which must however be confronted with a multiplicity of factors and variables that are difficult to simplify and with different contextual requirements such as the aesthetics and functionality of spaces, the perception of exteriors, the variability of solar radiation during the day and the seasons, the sensorial limits of the human eye, the need to perform visual tasks in the absence of specific disturbances, and maximum availability during daylight hours to reduce the use of artificial light…

Photo © Matthias Gasser; courtesy Brixen Tourismus


Light and prejudice: Light Art between spectacularisation, quality and the risk of trivialization 
by Jacqueline Ceresoli

Light Art is a universal language of light that uses digital media, projections, interactive installations and other tools to spectacularise and enhance symbolic places and buildings in cities. But with the widespread diffusion of festivals and events, there is a risk of sacrificing the quality and purpose of the works for purely commercial and consumerist purposes. We discuss this topic in an article by art critic Jacqueline Ceresoli. “With the abuse of light art, where does the landscape of nature and community end and man’s art begin? For the time being, there is no answer, but, in order to remove Light Art from the prejudice of programmed obsolescence, we should act in dialogue with the context and the people who inhabit it, have the courage to put an end to the Light Art supermarket and focus on initiatives aimed at shedding light on the research and the need to avoid destroying our planet, and to live it as guests – ‘roommates’ of animals and plants – and not as masters,  and to respect an ethical code to shape collective well-being…”

Photo © Alberto Pasetti Bombardella


Venice International Art Exhibition chronicles the creativity of distant
by Alberto Pasetti Bombardella

The current 60th Venice Biennale is entirely dedicated to the relationship with the emerging continents, with South America, Africa and some Middle Eastern and Eastern countries. The event, curated by the Brazilian Adriano Pedrosa, celebrates the ties between the southern hemisphere and the West, and investigates the delicate relationship between peoples and the epochal transformations taking place. Alberto Pasetti Bombardella, a lighting designer who has illuminated prestigious museums, historical palaces and many works of art, tells us about it. “What emerges on the surface is a colourful Biennale, at times poetic and effervescent in its general creative and artistic expression. In reality, it is also significantly dense with messages and reflections that challenge our Western culture through forms of thought inspired by a critical scrutiny of historical and epoch-making consequences such as colonialism, or the drastic environmental transformations faced by many peoples. The general sensation is precisely that of being in front of a historical turning point of artistic reflection in which the roots, the foundations of ancient and past civilisations, and the impulses of an aesthetic, almost therapeutic feeling, all contribute to the expression of dissent with respect to the triviality, violence and social apathy that characterise many areas of what can be defined as a migratory era…”

In LUCE 348 / 2024 you will find many other articles, interviews and in-depth features.
We are always on the lookout for new suggestions and ideas for understanding, explaining and publicising the world of Italian and international lighting.

Keep reading and writing to us.


Antonio Monda: “David Lynch’s directing style is both a revolution and a revelation”
by Nancy Tollins


Giovanni de Niederhäusern: “Pininfarina, a collective, almost magical force”
by Monica Moro

On friendship and creativity: the secret of the eternal youth of one of the lighting design most enduring couples
In conversation with Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby

by Sielo Longo


Paris 2024 Olympic Games: the light of the Athletes’ Village looking to the future 
by Nancy Tollins

What more do you want from life?
A new lighting for Amaro Lucano

by Federica Capoduri


Simonetta Cenci: “Street lighting is the face of the city, its nocturnal soul” 
by Paola Testoni

Urban lighting in Perugia: a good example of collaboration among the public and private sector and the university 
by Pietro Mezzi


Between meetings and clashes, light as a tool for inclusivity
Interview with Elettra Bordonaro 

by Federica Capoduri

The design of light as a balance between poetry and technique 
by Marco Nozza


Light and cars: a simulation platform for the study of car interior lighting  
by Venanzio Arquilla, Giorgia Ballabio, Andrea Siniscalco

The LiFi revolution: unleashing the potential of light and connecting objects and people 
by Giulia Ottavia Silla


Paolo Di Lecce: “Italy? It’s in the world’s top ten” 
by Pietro Mezzi


Kinetic: a flexible and colourful light for the maximum creative freedom in urban spaces  
by Cristina Ferrari

Solar-powered and connected light: SunStay Pro and Philips Outdoor Multisensor
by Cristina Ferrari


In Turin, light switches on the Regio Parco community 
by the Editorial Team


by Deborah Madolini, Alberto Philippson