unfolding, welcoming, transformative, a sympathetic
means of interpreting a site.
Colour and light can be used together in so many ways:
perhaps graphically, to express the boundary, shape
and purpose of a physical space or to ‘reveal’ the hidden
inner, for example, waterways or tunnel systems below.
And they can also be used to interpret a space.
‘People respond to different colours in different ways,
and these responses take place on a subconscious,
emotional level,’ according to Jill Morton, colour
professor of the School of Architecture at the
University of Hawaii. City and landscape architects, as
well as lighting designers, must learn the symbolism in
colour. Even within the same city or country different
communities may have a quite different reaction to or
association with a given colour or indeed the priority
that is given to it.
Colours carry different cultural meanings. In the West,
death is signified by black whereas in many parts of
Asia white has that meaning. Red can symbolise love
or war; green can signify money or nature or even
infidelity; blue can be associated with sky and water,
sadness or trust. Some cultures feel more comfortable
with primary colours, others value pastels. I am
passionate about working in Latin America where so
many people are serious about enjoyment and hue is a
source and medium of celebration.
Public colour-lighting design may take any of a number
of forms: as art; as a complement to architecture
and means of enhancing volumes or materiality;
as a combination of the two, to provide a beacon or
focal point, or it may be an element in a masterplan.
Its objective may be one of visual communication or
wayfinding; as an aid to interpreting the history, use
‘Because colour and light together have such an impact,
the key to its successful application lies in researching the
users, the participants in a space and the meanings they
both infer from the lighting and project on to it’
Opposite top: Arup lit these Desert Blooms in the first recreational park
on the Las Vegas strip, using subtle, colour-changing as an antidote to
the city’s brash displays
Below: Michael Grubb Studios used gobo projections on Bournemouth’s
Pier Approach to help tell the English seaside town’s story