Thorn spearheads development project
At a time when the gulf in lighting resources between rich and poor cities is greater than ever, The Lighting Urban Community International Association (LUCI), in association with sponsor Thorn, narrows the gap by announcing the outcome of the LightLinks programme.
The first beneficiary of the initiative, which encourages cities from low-income and high-income countries to partner together to prepare an urban lighting project within the former metropolis, is the Palestinian West Bank city of Jericho, who will receive assistance from the City of Lyon (France).
LUCI’s Chairman, and Deputy Mayor of Lyon, Jean-Michel Daclin described the partnership as: “An international success that will bring together two cities, separated by 3,000 kilometres”. He also expressed his delight that this move would provide resources that Jericho would not otherwise have access to, and empower them to better their own urban lighting. “LUCI will continue to build partnerships between all, not just rich, cities – acting as an operational pivot and platform for the exchange of information and ideas.”
The new lighting plan of the city of Lyon is largely set upon new orientations to enrich the landscape at night. Lyon wishes to share its thinking and experience for lighting an urban environment, as it does presently in HoChiMinh and San José
Commenting on the development Christophe Richon, Director of the Thorn Academy of Light, said the scheme was: “The most exciting and ambitious sponsorship project Thorn had yet undertaken. If we want to improve the lighting conditions of developing cities, we must provide them with the necessary expertise, equipment and training. I’m sure LightLinks will inspire and excite activism.”
Headed by Mayor Gérard Collomb, a municipal team from Lyon travelled to the ancient city of Jericho last March to work alongside local experts to identify potential projects. Attention focused on historical sites that could be brought to life at night and where the impact on the community would be considerable as residents and tourists alike are attracted to the more visually appealing locations. The mission revealed three settings: the tree of Zacchaeus, the archaeological site of Hisham’s Palace and the Mount of Temptation.
Preliminary lighting concepts have now been drawn up following the designers making a series of vital decisions: choosing a view – individual or in groups to create vistas, deciding upon perspective, considering the angle and colour qualities best suited to the subject and the material being lit and finally using their practical engineering skills in considering potential positioning and powering of the luminaires. There are no off-the-shelf solutions. Over the coming months the concepts will be tested and validated by all parties. Once agreed, equipment will be delivered, installed and inaugurated, involving close cooperation between the technical departments of the two cities, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, and Thorn.
The dramatic lighting of the giant sycamore tree of Zacchaeus, which dates back over two thousand years, should be achieved by comparatively simple means. The plan is to use a small quantity of floodlights, close offset.
One of the West Banks’ most popular tourist attractions is the magnificent mosaic, the tree of life, housed at Hisham’s Palace (724-743 AD), now in ruins five km north of Jericho. The intention is to light the semi-circular mosaic floor from above. Light will also upgrade the pedestrian tour by highlighting significant architectural aspects, thus bringing renewed attraction to the site by extending its life after dusk, always early in this part of the globe.
Perched high above Jericho, the Mount of Temptation, complete with 6th century monastery and steep walled paths, simply fades into the darkness each night. Now, the vision is to use the power and subtly of lighting to symbolise the character of the development. The scale of the task though is enormous and fruition may take time.
Mrs Noha Rashmawi, official representative of the city of Jericho, said: “Lighting key architectural and natural elements of our heritage is by no means a frivolous thing in these difficult times. To the contrary, it is essential for the promotion of peace and economic development in our region – a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak!”