The Power of Light

I’ve been inspired to write about something that has been flooding the news lately, especially following the attacks in Paris. The hot topic at hand…the POWER OF LIGHT + its effect on the socio-political world. What do I mean by the ‘Power of Light’? Well, read on…

I’m sure most of you have noticed in the past couple of weeks that your social media news feeds have been filled with images of famous landmarks from around the globe showing support + solidarity for France. Landmarks donning the colours blue, white and red, are meant to symbolize the French National Flag.

Light for France

How are they doing this? By using LIGHT as their medium! In the past, it wouldn’t have been this easy to make such a powerful statement (or at least done as quickly). Being able to illuminate something as grand and significant as a recognizable landmark is quite a power tool. Most people don’t think too much about light. It’s often taken for granted because it’s always just ‘there’. There to allow us to see. There to illuminate our environments (whether inside or out).

What if you stopped for a moment to think about the power that light has! How it can truly affect the world we live in. In this instance, how changing the colour properties on a luminaire’s setting can actually proclaim your point of view in the world. As seen with the Paris attacks, the world united together by illuminating their buildings and landmarks all over the world. That’s it. They ‘turned on a light’.  I just find it amazing how simple illuminated colours can be so bold as to show support for a cause or express a strong political stance.

Berlin Arches

Take the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Illuminated Pink and it’s creating awareness for Breast Cancer. Illuminated in Rainbow colours, and it’s now supporting/celebrating the legalization of gay marriage. Applied thoughtfully and carefully, the power of colour + light can resonate a pretty powerful statement!

Support or Celebration

Let’s look at it another way. Light can be just as powerful when it’s not there. Below are a few examples of landmarks who showed their respect for the mourning by ‘turning out’ their lights. A moment of silence, if you will.

Lights Out for France

I believe the language of light can speak volumes! Don’t you?

I do…

Elaina

Non cropped thumbnail Elaina

 

Simplicity, Quality & Margin

I’m at the stage in my life when I’ve started to reflect on where I’ve been and where I hope to go. Some may label this a ‘mid-life crisis’, but I’m not interested in buying a sports car or getting plastic surgery. In fact my interests lie in quite the opposite, owning less and living more organically. I want to have time to make my relationships deeper, my experiences greater, my faith more integral. A new term in my vocabulary has been ‘margin’. I want to make margin in my life to “be”, not just “do”. Can anyone else relate to this? It’s a choice that needs to be made, it doesn’t just happen. Our North American society has programmed us to ‘do more’, ‘make more’, ‘strive more’…..what if ‘less is more’? What if ‘quality replaced quantity’ and ‘being replaced doing?’

I think design plays a part in achieving these goals. Our built environment directly impacts how we function and how we feel. Over the past 2 weeks I had the opportunity to travel to Europe, specifically Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. While in Rotterdam I stayed in an apartment-style hotel. It was a lovely, bright and modern suite; about 500 sf in size. For my husband and I, it offered all the amenities we needed; a kitchen-dining area, a closet for laundry & utilities, a living room, a corner for the bed with a substantial closet and even a split bathroom (sink and shower in one room and toilet & second sink in the other.) I began to think about what it would be like to live in a space this size on a permanent basis (maybe once the kids move out).

Urban Residence Rotterdam - LR - Resized

Urban Residence Rotterdam - Bedroom - Resized

What would a space of this size and efficiency mean to our daily lives?

Would it allow us to work less and travel more? A smaller space would mean a smaller mortgage, lower monthly utilities, less maintenance costs and reduced taxes.

Would it allow us to free up time in the evenings and weekends? A smaller foot print would mean less to clean. Putting away “stuff” would be minimal since room for extra “stuff” simply wouldn’t exist. And wouldn’t less ‘stuff ‘offer more room to breathe instead suffocating under the weight of it all? A direct result might be the purchasing of fewer, quality items rather than mounds of disposable crap.

Urban Residence Rotterdam - Kitchen - Resized

Would it encourage us to be more social? A tiny living space could get claustrophobic after a while, so going out with friends and experiencing the world around us would be necessary. Sharing common resources and space might even be a thought. What if numerous ‘tiny space dwellers’ owned a common green space and shared the duties of maintaining it? One lawn mower, one weed-wacker and one snow shovel….take turns….a fraction of the work and cost.  Maybe the children of these families would spend endless hours playing with each other and neighbours would help each other with childcare? Maybe the grandma living next door could avoid the nursing home for a few more years because there would be people around her to help her out. Maybe we’d find community!

Community image

Mid-life crisis? I hope not. I’d like to think of it as a mid-life passion. It’s a way of life that scares me and intrigues me all at the same time. It’s a culture shift that Winnipeg is slowly being introduced to and one in which our willingness to redesign the physical environment will be paramount.

winston-churchill-quotes-30

Tracy

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Design is an Art

The journey from design concept to reality can sometimes be a long and bumpy road. We often use 3D visuals to communicate our ideas to the client along the way. This is a helpful tool for designers, because rendering technology has become highly realistic. It is often a surreal feeling to step into a space that you’ve already imagined and “seen before.”

As someone who shed a single tear the first time I saw an original Frank Lloyd Wright perspective in person, I must admit I have a soft spot for hand-drawn renderings. There is something striking to me about the artistic quality of these perspectives that conveys the character of the work in a way computer generated images often lack. Maybe I don’t need all of the glossy details to get excited about design – I can feel the warmth and openness when I look onto the sketchy page. Call it Impressionism for Interior Design.

flw van gogh

That being said, I love using 3D programs and it has been an asset as we see our designs transform from concept to reality. Case in point – our latest completed work at the Winnipeg Airport; the Green Carrot Juice Bar.

This is the second location for Green Carrot (the original is located in Osborne Village). We were quite excited to translate their branding scheme to a new kiosk location at the airport to attract busy travelers. The challenge was while working within tight spatial constraints, to maximize the efficiency of a safe and tidy workspace. Emphasis was placed on both employee workflow and flow of customer traffic around the order and pick-up areas, while encouraging patrons to relax and enjoy their juice while recharging themselves (and their devices) in the built-in power stations. The client desired an inviting, fun and fresh space. The finishes included glossy white tile, wood beams, and vibrant accents of green.

S3 Green Carrot BackGreen carrot

3D renderings were essential for this project as they allowed us to visualize the impact of the height of the columns, lighting details, and views from various points of approach in the airport. Something that would be infinitely time consuming if drawn by hand, and perhaps not as acutely accurate as our final renderings:

S3 Green Carrot WestGgreen carrot

Working in 3D allowed us the control to experiment with the design until we knew we had a stunning composition that would excite visitors and Winnipeggers alike!

Next time you’re heading out of town, check it out and let us know what you think! For more photos of this project, check out our Commercial Gallery.

 

Heather

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