Why is it so important to preserve dark skies and incorporate this into lighting design?
We are recognising the negative impact of light pollution and how it is accelerating at an alarming rate. Light comes at an economic, well-being and environmental cost. 6% of the global power consumption can be attributed to lighting. It’s literally the most visible form of energy consumption, and its impact on the environment is evident. At no point in our history had we produced and consumed more light. Now that we have a clear understanding of its adverse effects, if we don’t do anything about it, we would be actively choosing to be a part of the problem.
Dark Skies is also about dark landscapes. It is about being respectful of the natural night, which is in scarcity due to the excessive and wasteful use of light. This requires a shift in our perspective in order to prove that it’s possible for us to create a better nighttime environment for all earthlings, not only for us humans.
How would you articulate your overall philosophy about light?
I start by asking myself if light is necessary. Designed light should be utilised judiciously in order to add social and environmental value, broadening the spectrum of sustainability beyond the visual language.
Tell us more about the Plas Y Brenin project, which won a [d]arc award for its dark skies scheme.
Snowdonia National Park Authority, in collaboration with Prosiect Nos, commissioned Dark Source to develop a lighting design that could restore the dark skies and tackle the growing concerns for the region, known as a Dark Sky Reserve since 2015. Warm-coloured, glare-free, low-intensity lighting was utilised to meet dark sky-friendly requirements, along with high energy efficiency and lamp-life criteria to maximise the savings.
Initially envisaged as a re-lighting scheme, this project quickly turned into an enhancement scheme which showcased that dark sky-friendly lighting can also be visually intriguing and inviting. I have been blown away by the level of support received from the design community. This project demonstrates a yearning for change that is now more prominent than ever. I feel incredibly grateful that the message we were trying to give was well-received and appreciated to this extent.