A light shining on itself illuminates our inner desire for darkness

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in London and light is pounding onto the pavements with a vehemence rarely seen in the British Isles. Everyone seems happier, more relaxed. Which is probably something to do with the heat, as well as the marvellous effects of vitamin D whizzing through our impoverished blood.

It’s ironic then that I’ve spent the morning deep in a discourse around how we need more darkness. With a lighting designer.

We are flooded with light during the night time in cities. Primarily the reasons given as a justification are security and safety; to deter crime and to prevent road traffic accidents.

But this abuse of our senses and our darkness comes at a cost. As with so many of our interventions, we need to rethink urban lighting to come up with a more viable and thoughtful solution.

Here are some thoughts that sprung up while I was chatting about darkness:

Why don’t we shut our curtains at night?
If we relied on shop fronts to light our streets would we feel more assaulted with advertising?
Could we get by with night vision goggles, or will there be a google glass version of them?
What is the symbolism of using your smartphone screen as a torch?
I had forgotten how magical it is to walk in the moonlight. Could we live in a city only illuminated by the night sky?
Would bioluminescence drive you mad because you can’t switch it off?
Would bioluminescent edible buildings address urban food security and lighting in one fell swoop?

Food for illuminating thought.