September 25, 2013
Last night, I tagged along with a group of Pioneer Square residents (and apparently a nerdy mix of theater design geeks, urban enthusiasts, and flâneurs), as New York City “NightSeeing” expert Leni Schwendinger gave a walking tour of Pioneer Square.
We paused at shadows, traffic lights, windows, doorways, street lamps, walk signals, sky scraper lights, corners, parking lots, and brick walls, as Schwendinger, dressed in a phosphorescent scarf, pointed out effects, moods, illusions, meanings, and perfect iPhone photo moments all around us that relied on nighttime optics that she often compared to a movie or theater set—or an “alley opera.”
July 30, 2013
Schwendinger, who reads the world in patterns of light and shadow, is an expert in things most people never stop to see. She points out the dramatic shadowy shapes created by the girders that hold up the subway tracks. She calls attention to the changing colors of the grime-encrusted traffic signals that hang from the underside of the hulking structure — glowing points of red, amber, and green that she calls “the jewelry of the night.” She admires the way light peeks through the stairs that lead up to the station platform above, showing the feet and ankles of travelers going up and down. She asks us to imagine how all these glorious steel beams and rivets would look if lit with deliberation rather than by default.
June 19, 2013
“I am the queen of underpasses,” Schwendinger declared to neighbors as she outlined her vision for I-95. Dubbed “Tendrilescence,” Schwendinger’s vision, which is still very much preliminary, includes an illuminated series of green tendrils reaching from concrete support columns to the roadway above. “I seek to cover the bridge underside with sprouts,” she exclaimed. Sky slots would be carved out to allow for natural light to enter the space, creating what Schwendinger described as a “beautiful industrial cathedral.”
July 23, 2012
… Ms. Ruddick and her team—including Marpillero Pollak Architects, Judith Heintz of the landscape architecture firm WRT, artist Michael Singer and lighting artist Leni Schwendinger—faced in attempting to transform Queens Plaza from a wasteland of potholed roads, a parking lot and elevated subway tracks into a greenway that would attract businesses and greet pedestrians and motorists arriving in Queens.
Leni Schwendinger’s NightSeeing event took to the streets of Frankfurt to interpret the light and shadows of the city’s nightscape.
One on One with Leni Schwendinger;
I want to make the unknown known. The unseen, seen. I try to bring out the hidden aspects of a place and make it available and understood through light.
Metropolis Magazine 20th Anniversary prediction by Leni, Publication date 2001
Countdown to a New Times Square: “The new construction will eliminate that feeling of making do. Curbs will vanish. Pedestrian areas will be leveled and clad in tweedy concrete tiles that run lengthwise down Broadway and the Seventh Avenue sidewalks, meeting in an angled confluence of patterns. Nickel-size steel discs set into the pavement will catch the light and toss it back into the brilliant air. “
Commentary by Leni: Light Projects design for Times Square… my radical idea of removing lighting was not to be, but the premise; capturing the light of the billboards and reflecting it back, will. My thunderbolt of inspiration was a vision of highly detailed patterns, in a series of “throw rugs” across the paving. Counter-intuitive to the current large-scale painted road-edge pattern. Snohetta intertwined the two ideas by implementing a small pattern of scattered stainless points and the concomitant reflections – viola!
NightSeeing Frankfurt will take place on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Navy Pier post of the public presentation and the Q&A videos, January 31, 2012. The room was packed – and an overflow room opened. Apparently there were more than 500 people attending. Jerry holds forth in the presentation and I throw in my comment in the Q&A session at 21:40:
“Hello everybody I am Leni and I am a lighting designer, but really I am an aficionado of the night. Everyone here is talking about space – but I am talking about time. I am talking about extending the use of the pier into the night in new ways. Our project suggests both a sublime and a carnivalesque experience. A new experience of the pier that is more sublime, mysterious and atmospheric can be an attractive kind of moment-by-moment experience into the night that isn’t just clubs or a carnival late at night. Here is an opportunity to be with your friends at night in an beautifully illuminated atmosphere which will increase the use of the pier over time – the future of the pier is also time.”
Port of San Diego Media
Wednesday, 04 January 2012
Contact: Marguerite Elicone (619) 686-6281
The North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Phase I Project, which incorporates an area on North Harbor Drive – from the Navy Pier to the B Street Pier and a portion of West Broadway – will break ground Thursday, January 5, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. The event is open to the public.
The Port of San Diego, City of San Diego and Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) will celebrate its start with a groundbreaking ceremony on the western edge of Lane Field, located at the corner of West Broadway and North Harbor Drive.
The North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Phase I is part of a comprehensive project to beautify the waterfront and create new public open space that welcomes residents and tourists. The project also includes significant improvements to roadways, utilities and storm water systems.
When completed, a 105-foot wide esplanade will adorn the waterfront. The esplanade will have formal gardens, plazas, shade pavilions and a waterfront promenade that will allow downtown residents, workers and visitors to stroll, jog, cycle, enjoy public events or just relax.
West Broadway will serve as a gateway connecting downtown San Diego to the bay. It will be defined by special paving and medians, rows of elegant Medjool Date palms and decorative lighting. In the future, adjacent developments will further enhance the area with additional public spaces along the gateway to the bay.
The North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Phase I Project is a green project. Drip irrigation will be used to water drought-tolerant plants, and the project has the ability to use reclaimed water in the future. Storm water drainage improvements will provide a water treatment system along the bay front esplanade on North Harbor Drive, preventing pollution from entering the bay.
Featured public art includes internationally-acclaimed artist Pae White’s designs, which will be integrated into the project’s architecture. White will embed words from the popular 1970 novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach into the roofs of pavilion buildings. The words will cast sunlight on the ground during the day and be illuminated on the roofs at night.
USS Cal Builders was awarded the construction contract for the project in November 2011. It is anticipated that the $28.6 million project will be completed in the summer of 2013.
The design team for the project is led by Project Design Consultants and includes Civitas, Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects, Joseph Wong Design Associates and Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LTD, among others.
As We Light It: “Ever since we learned how to make fire, humans have lit up the night. Manufactured light allowed us to defy nature, to escape the fears and limitations of the dark, to do more inside, to venture out into the night
“It’s quite a complex art form,” says urban illuminator Leni Schwendinger, who designed the lighting for Toronto’s H2O Park.
“Plain Jane street-lighting is not so Plain Jane really — and if you put it all together, the shop lights, the neon, the signals, the headlights, you have an interesting urban composition,” she says on the phone from her Manhattan studio.
Urban illuminator Leni Schwendinger maintains that manufactured Western urban lightscapes are made up of many elements. She calls them “The Eight Shades of Night.”
Architectural Digest – Designers Take Flight
Leni Schwendinger, whose pioneering use of civic illumination to transform infrastructures and public spaces, is recognized by Architectural Digest in both print and online video.
World Landscape Architect
Second Street Transportation & Streetscape Project | Louisville | Light Projects & CARMAN The road under the Second Street Bridge has been transformed into a plaza — filled with plantings, seats and pedestrian spaces to host festivals and celebrations — shaded by the dynamically illuminated overpass.
ASLA: The Dirt
Programming the Moon’s Cycle (Tidal Radiance) uses light to explore change, both natural and programmed: ”Whether animated patterns or a calendar of seasonal light sequences, one of my continuing challenges is to utilize the property of light to brighten, fade, and disappear – and to respond to controlled voltages through highly sophisticated computer programming. This element of controlled changeability – combined with color symbolism – allows me to create public art that not only pleases the eye but communicates and displays nuanced messages about the environment we live in.”
The New York Observer
Another Pretty Parking Lot For New York, This Time in the Bronx “The Observer discovered this project on lighting designer Leni Schwendinger’s Tumblr, of all places. She is creating a lighting scheme to bring the building to life at night, when its illuminating feature—vines climbing up and down the structure—will be less visible.”
Attracted By Light “Outstanding contemporary lighting design in public space is produced by Leni Schwendinger in her often dramatic Light Projects. Through her work she intends to “energize architecture, landscape and infrastructure with the ultimate objective of connecting people to each other and to their surroundings.” Her Seattle Center’s Marion O. McCaw Hall is a masterpiece of blues and reds flooding the space; extraordinary also is Brooklyn’s Coney Island Parachute Jump or her illumination in Unna, Germany, where the reenacted blue lightwaves of the buried local river bounced off both the built environment and visitors in her 2003 temporary projection, Glowing Waterway.”
Bourbon, Basketball and Bridges: the Story of 2nd Street, Louisville, Kentucky “The lighting scheme developed for the project is used to provide subtle accent and direct energy to the project. The lighting patterns for the historic bridge are reflective of the massive, muscular structure of the underside of the bridge.“
New York Times
American Composers Orchestra Review of Carnegie Hall performance: “In Laura Schwendinger’s “Shadings,” richly scored shimmering music ebbed and swirled in tandem with a series of enigmatic photographs projected above the orchestra. The photographs were taken in Japan by the composer’s cousin Leni Schwendinger, who also designed evocative lighting to complement the images.”
Colore Magazine (Milan)
Questions and Answers: Leni Schwendinger with discussion and images of Triple Bridge Gateway and Dreaming in Color.
Living: What makes a great city “…on a crisp winter afternoon in the French city of Lyon, Philips gathered a group of six speakers to tackle some of the issues connected to making cities a safer and more enjoyable place to live and function in. The Livable Cities forum is a global initiative aimed at addressing one of the most pressing trends today — the unstoppable growth of cities.”
‘“Light is playful. It has a sense of magic and people are attracted to light,” says Schwendinger, a New York-based lighting designer. Her forte is to use light in an imaginative and fun way that it serves as a catalyst to bring people together. “You can’t help it, you go towards the light.”’
Singing in the Rain “The umbrellas were out in full force during Leni Schwendinger’s NightSeeing Walk at this week’s ARC Show….The streets of N1 were illuminated by the fabulously quirky umbrellas supplied by Alliance Lighting to protect the walkers from the much anticipated English weather! The large umbrellas had a super bright LED shaft running through the middle and this helped to add to the atmosphere of this unique lighting event and the side streets of The Angel appeared strangely reminiscent of a scene from Blade Runner!”
“Lumens for Humans” originally published by Landscape Architecture has been reprinted by Lighting India.
The Architect’s Newspaper
Comment> Leni Schwendinger Lights the Way. A renowned lighting designer takes a walk in the dark in search of illumination.
Savor the word “light” and the interior landscape of language evokes images of atmospheric effects—mysterious, picturesque, sublime….
American Society of Landscape Architects
News: Interview with Leni Schwendinger “Recently, you’ve been giving guided evening tours of the light scapes of major cities. What are examples of well lit and poorly lit cities? What are some of the key things people seem to take away from these tours? What surprises people about the impact of good and bad urban lighting design?”
Leni Loves the Lights on the Great White Way “We got an email earlier today from Leni Schwendinger, principal of Light Projects, informing us that she was also part of the team redesigning Times Square, a terrible omission from the original announcement given that this probably the most well-lit place on the planet.”
New York City Department of Transportation Announcement
City Announces Start of Temporary Redesign of Times Square, Selection of Team to Lead Permanent Redesign of Area. Painted treatment will revive the area as the internationally recognized architecture firm Snohetta will lead a team to redesign and reconstruct the area, upgrade infrastructure.
Light Projects joins the Snohetta team to illuminate the new, permanent Times Square.
Landscape Architecture Magazine
By Leni Schwendinger
The federally owned plaza where Richard Serra’s controversial Tilted Arc sculpture once stood—and now sprawls landscape architect Martha Schwartz’s composition of planted mounds and bright-green curling benches—is getting another makeover this spring.
Articles on the Beltline Atlanta commission to the Field Operations/Perkins + Will team,
which includes Leni Schwendinger Light Projects
Atlanta Business News: Beltline chooses design partners for 22-mile loop
“A public space like that envisioned by the Beltline, with pedestrian-friendly rail transit, trails, greenspace and abutting development in one corridor does not exist today in Atlanta or any other city in the United States,” said Brian Leary, president and chief executive officer of Atlanta Beltline.
The project’s scope is huge. According the statement issued today, it encompasses civil and structural engineering; surveys; utilities; streetscapes; landscape design; trails; transit; stations; bridges; tunnels; historic preservation; public art locations; and signage. Also huge: the prestige of this plum commission and the stakes. The $2.8 billion Beltline project impacts 45 neighborhoods. If successful, it will be transformative in terms of transportation, park and recreation space, residential and commercial development and public art. The team’s task, as Beltline president and CEO Brian Leary said, is nothing less than “building the BeltLine’s foundation.”
At one point, she paused to draw our attention to some gray paving stones that glowed with a subtle gradient of color cast by lights on either side. “Now look carefully at the amber light being cast by the lantern and the bluish light by the [floodlights],” she said. “The sheen of the stone is like a satin, and that careful, careful nuanced relationship between the bluer light and the soft gold lights — it’s there! And now you will always see it.”
Indeed, it’s the kind of detail that’s easy to overlook, unless one is trained to notice it. Schwendinger hopes to offer more Light Walks in the future, helping city residents become more attuned to the ways lighting designers bring safety, sustainability, and beauty to public spaces.
Leni Schwendinger is a bit of a night owl. But the principal for New York-based lighting design company Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LTD, has to be—it’s when she gets her best inspiration. In addition to working on such projects as the Chroma Streams, Tide and Traffic (Glasgow, Scotland), and the Coney Island Parachute Jump (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Schwendinger is a faculty member for the Architecture, Interior Design, and Lighting Department at Parsons School of Design in New York City. She also frequently hosts “ Night Walks” in the city, which are free and open to the public, to explore the affect of lighting in public spaces at night.
Schwendinger recently spoke with Contract magazine to discuss the importance of light in design and how it can be utilized to influence and enhance any commercial project.
Stories on the Jewel-Light Luminaire™
Skating Under A New Sustainable Light
New York is synonymous with the holidays. No city sparkles and dazzles residents and visitors alike with more lights than New York City during the holiday season. And, this year there is a brilliant addition to the seasonal display. The recently launched Jewel-Light(TM) Luminaire is lighting up The Pond at Bryant Park and, at the same time, doing its part towards “greening” the Big Apple.
The Lighting Science and Light Projects Jewel-Light Enhances Bryant Park’s Ice Rink, Setting a New Standard for Functionality and Beauty
Urban Omnibus and Time-Out New York
… on the PLDA Lightmapping event of November 10 and 18th 2009. Read about it, see the movie.
Las actividades del 14 de octubre iniciaron con la conferencia “Embellecimiento de Ciudades”, enormemente ilustrativa a cargo de Leni Schwendinger.
The first of [Leni Schwendinger's] SpectraScape structures is more or less complete: a pair of green glass panels, each bending at a 90-degree angle into a roof. Seen from the right angle, Schwendinger pointed out, the roofs form a “V” that echoes the modern shape of the old Statler Hilton across the street. The park will include five of these setups, each with seating underneath and, of course, a line of multicolored lights crawling along the top.
Change Observer/Design Observer
A dark-sky activist and a celebrated designer discuss the best (if not the brightest) ways to light the environment.
Is a well-lit neighborhood really safer? Is “pollution” the best way to describe excess light? The conversation continues between lighting designer Leni Schwendinger and dark-sky activist Susan Harder.
Good /Magazine preview of upcoming Change Observer
In a preview of the new publication Change Observer’s online dialogue planned “between Leni Schwendinger and the International Dark Sky Association.” They quote Schwendinger, “…part of the reason people love cities, the magic of cities, has to do with light and shadow…What do we lose in terms of design and safety and people’s relationship to an urban landscape in order to see the stars?”
Hot off the press from China!
Leni Schwendinger starting page 39, an interview. 仰光2009年第三期 筑龙电子杂志
Leni Schwendinger：颜色和光(组图) with images of Leni and her slide show
美国LED照明方案：颜色和光 coverage of LED talk, with images of Leni on the opening crawl
Recently from Enlighter, Australia
lighting design and light art magazine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Triple Bridge Gateway
Manhattan Port Authority Bus Terminal Unveiled
A Spectacle of Light Enlivens the Hell’s Kitchen Nightscape
(NEW YORK) After more than ten years of community planning, design and construction, the bus ramps above Ninth Avenue at 40th Street have been transformed into an infrastructural public-art illumination installation that is delighting residents, visitors, passersby and motorists. Created in collaboration with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) by the design team of PKSB Architects and Leni Schwendinger Light Projects (LSLP), a formerly desolate stretch of Hell’s Kitchen roadway—shadowed by exposed steel and concrete overpasses—now shimmers with color-infused light.
Notes lighting artist and designer Leni Schwendinger: “Instead of a place to rush through, our team has created a destination-—a dynamic urban oasis for the eye and a visual landmark for the community.” In 1994, Community Board #4 convened the Triple Bridge Task Force. Leni Schwendinger joined in this volunteer effort to solicit neighborhood input and create design guidelines for aesthetic renovation of the bus ramps. In collaboration with the PKSB team, Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LTD won the PANYNJ-invited competition to design architectural improvements to the overpasses. Recalls PKSB lead principal Henry Stolzman: “We saw this project as a rare opportunity to celebrate infrastructure and mass transportation – transforming both into art and architecture.” As the job grew in scope, facades on both the west and east side of the street were incorporated—including replacement with titanium panels of the terminal’s brick façade, creating a new entry marquee and opening commercial storefronts to enliven the streetscape.
The design process for Triple Bridge Gateway began in 1996. A series of mock-ups and installations continued from 2001 through 2008. The design choices-—metals, lighting and color pattern-—were conceived as emphasis for the bridges’ I-beam engineered structure. A chain-link containment system wraps the sides and underside of each ramp. This highly-detailed stainless-steel metal mesh works to reflect and diffuse light, as well as providing full-time maintenance access.
Multiple light sources illuminate the bridge structure and the area under the bridges without interfering with ramp-roadway lighting. Linear fluorescents emphasis the I-beam webs and bolted plates. Metal-halide CSI sources graze the mesh scrim, and wallpacks “wash” the bridge coffers with light.
A sculptural addition creates “a luminous room.” Pendant-mounted, high-polish, adjustable reflector panels “pierce” the scrim. Metal-halide light sources on the east and west walls of the underpass focus onto the panels that, in turn, cast reflected light patterns onto the street. The reflections unify the existing lines and spaces of the bridges, and accentuate movement and animation as cars pass underneath.
A computer-sequenced illumination scheme brings this urban sculpture to life with a weekly rotating schedule of visual compositions;
- Chambers of Color—This formal composition focuses on the beam structure and corner shapes.
- Spectacle—Abright and bold composition.
- Reflections—Creates a connection of the street and the bridges’ underside through volumes of reflected light on the roadbed.
Marybeth Raymond, Communications Consultant:
Kristi Kent, Art and Marketing Coordinator: