Lucerne is Europe’s best lit city. The Swiss conurbation has been awarded first prize in the 2010 international city.people.light awards, the annual contest organised by Philips and the Lighting Urban Community International Association (LUCI) to reward the use of lighting in the creation of livable cities that benefit the well-being of those who live, work or visit them.
‘Lucerne has produced a perfect example of simply enhancing life with light,’ said Marc de Jong, general manager of professional luminaires at Philips. ‘In creating a coherent lighting strategy the city has brilliantly integrated its lighting design into the complete fabric of urban life.’
In their deliberations, the independent city.people.light awards jury – made up of three lighting designers and three representatives from municipalities – praised Lucerne’s ‘sophisticated and beautifully understated’ application of natural lighting to transform the urban experience. The jury praised how the plan brought out the city’s unique character while at the same time minimising excessive light spill.
Cathy Johnston, president of the jury and a senior urban planner in Glasgow, praised Lucerne’s entry: ‘The holistic and comprehensive nature of this lighting plan demonstrates the commitment of the city to integrating lighting into the city.’ Leading lighting designer Kevin Theobald added that Lucerne’s entry was ‘a well executed masterplan, involving a diverse team and public consultation, resulting in a pleasant aesthetic experience’, while German designer Ulrike Brandi added: ‘The approach to install a [lighting] masterplan for the city helps to create an atmosphere for the whole city. The vision of ‘less is more’ respects darkness and the day-night-rhythm of the residents.’
The French city of Ville-de-Pau and Gothenburg in Sweden were named as runners-up in the competition, which attracted a total of 27 entries from municipalities around the world.
Pau, in south-western France, received second prize for the impressive illumination of its iconic 14th century castle. Overlooking the city, the castle provides a distinct point of local identity, creating an enormous sense of pride for Pau’s residents, as well as draw for tourists in the region. In replacing the existing 30-year-old lighting installation, the project team focused on balancing heritage and sustainability, ensuring the new installation maximised the latest energy-efficient lighting solutions.