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Speakers' Corner For London related discussion

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Old January 16th, 2016, 06:29 PM   #1
potto
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Illuminate Dark London

Stumbling home along the canal at 7pm the other day while people ran past with head torches it struck me as to how dark and gloomy most of London actually is, not just the residential areas and is something I have heard visitors mention. During winter time the sun is already setting by 4pm so that is quite a large portion of the day when most people are not asleep that it is dark.

This must have a strong effect on psychology, darkness or gloom in urban places is often associated with being unsafe or devoid of life.

Compared to say the more laissez-faire Asian cities which are often a riot of neon and open shops and street food kiosks flood lighting the streets, the more staid and controlled orange street lamps seem unsuitable to produce the same feeling of a place being alive.

Even the centre of London largely feels dark and gloomy outside of the cultural hot spots and even iconic buildings like Tate Modern and the Gherkin do nothing after dusk.

I have been impressed with the recent developer led revamp from Waterloo Place and up Regent Street with its uplit lighting on the historical buildings. Simple but effective. Carefully positioned up-lighting surely more energy efficient than leaving office lights on.

There has been an effort to improve the lighting along the Thames, about a decade ago I remember a concerted lighting masterplan for the river and since then there have been improvements particularly on bridges and key riverside buildings.

I just got back from seeing the crowds enjoying the Lumiere festival and it made me wonder why a lot of these things are not permanent, particularly the Oxford Circus and Leicester Square installations. They seem perfect for their respective environments.

Energy efficiency and light pollution have to be considered but it seems with recent LED technology, smart controls and expanding electricity supply from renewables we could do a lot more with more directed lighting on buildings and structures than getting by with just a large haze of street lamps.

Thoughts, pictures of London examples and from around the world and articles welcomed!
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Old January 16th, 2016, 06:36 PM   #2
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Agreed! The lights of Manhattan give the city a different face at night whilst London is far more modest in its approach.

We could absorb light installations especially in central London. People live in the city for the excitement and the buzz it gives and night time should be no different.

The Christmas lights have greatly improved over the last decade - it really is quite a spectacle in December and the light festival currently on is most welcome!

I miss the light upon the chimney at Tate.
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Old January 17th, 2016, 01:08 AM   #3
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Lumiere London has been fantastic, hopefully it can act as some sort of stimulus in this respect.
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Old January 17th, 2016, 03:15 PM   #4
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I can see this being like winter wonderland - growing ever larger every year and becoming a part of the London diary.

Kings cross was so packed last night it genuinely felt dangerous - they need a much bigger budget next year to manage the event better with longer hours.

Overall a huge success - the west end was Packed.
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Old January 18th, 2016, 12:25 PM   #5
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I think it worked well as a treasure hunt, but the sheer size of the crowds made a lot of it seem very underwhelming! They need to close off a lot more streets and ramp up the scale if they want to continue with it.
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Old January 18th, 2016, 12:51 PM   #6
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Did a slightly wonky pano of the Westminster Abbey illumination which I thought was technically brilliant and on a good scale.

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Old January 18th, 2016, 12:51 PM   #7
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Here you can see the projection slightly mis-aligned around the door way

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Old January 18th, 2016, 12:57 PM   #8
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Westminster Abbey was the jewel in the crown.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 04:34 PM   #9
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Frustratingly, that's the bit I had to miss.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 05:14 PM   #10
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I walked through Trafalgar Square last night at about 6pm and it was literally pitch black - and Nelsons column didn't appear to have the usual lighting on it? I then proceeded around the back of horseguards parade where there are no lights at all!
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Old January 20th, 2016, 11:41 PM   #11
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Where I live they switch off all the lights at midnight GMT - not BST. It feels good because you know you live in an affluent area with almost no crime and personally I get a kick out of that.
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Old January 22nd, 2016, 04:51 PM   #12
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There's a huge benefit to turning lights off earlier, not least the energy savings. We are talking less light pollution, less damage to sleep and in some cases, financial savings.
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Old January 22nd, 2016, 05:21 PM   #13
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Maybe in the provinces but not in London - there are people everywhere constantly and lighting should be provided at all times.
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Old January 22nd, 2016, 06:05 PM   #14
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We need to do something about teh dull orange lighting of the SHerlock Holmes days ...

Fill the city with Neons and LEDs - they are much cheaper to run as well !!


And building focus lighting is a brilliant idea where you do not feel flooded with light as if its daytime but it still creates focal points and pivots to where you are heading etc. Presents a much better atmosphere.


While we are at it, can I also suggest we ask / allow shops to open a bit longer than 6PM ? Frankly its ridiculous that you need a day off to shop for a pair of jeans...
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Old January 22nd, 2016, 09:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Adam View Post
Maybe in the provinces but not in London - there are people everywhere constantly and lighting should be provided at all times.
Not sure your normal residential street, I'm not talking central busy areas (which are just as busy at night in big cities outside of London), I'm talking outer zones out of district centres.
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Old March 20th, 2016, 03:14 PM   #16
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The Zara building on the corner of Oxford street and Soho square now has lighting in its crown - looks good from Tottenham Court Road - it's LED based and last night featured purple and red spots flying around.
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Old June 7th, 2016, 07:48 PM   #17
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The Illuminated River - International Design Competition

https://competitions.malcolmreading....uminatedriver/


Ambitious £20m plan to light up every major bridge across the River Thames

Quote:
London is set to challenge Paris for the title of City of Lights under ambitious £20 million plans announced today to illuminate all the major bridges across the Thames at night.

Mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled proposals to light up 17 crossings from Albert Bridge in Chelsea to Tower Bridge in the City as part of a permanent art installation called The Illuminated River.

Artists, designers, engineers and architects are being invited to enter a public competition to deliver an environmentally friendly and visually spectacular scheme.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 04:23 PM   #18
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Anyone know when or why this lighting scheme at Tate Modern occured? Must have been a few years ago as that Swiss lantern box is still on top of the chimney. Shame that it doesn't light up like that any more!

Makes me think that the Boiler house would provide a good permanent canvas for projected art in the evenings, the exterior is a bit of a non-entity at night....




Edit, just noticed Millenium bridge is being built so maybe opening day?
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Old October 4th, 2016, 04:40 PM   #19
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It was the opening night back in 2000.
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Old October 8th, 2016, 01:25 AM   #20
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Hong Kong makes the naturally dark harbour come alive with light for about 15 minutes everyday at 8pm.


Source: Planetden.com


While the low pressure sodium lights deprive city dwellers any sort of view of the night sky, something similar to what Hong Kong offers in strategic central locations would make the lengthening autumn evenings a lot more bearable. Especially considering our 'extreme' latitude compared to most of the World's capitals, relatively speaking.

Tower Bridge's renovations prior to the Olympics is a good case in point.

[IMG]http://il6.picdn.net/************/videos/10259348/thumb/4.jpg[/IMG]
Source: ************.com
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