Monday, August 24, 2009

Glamourousssssssss woulda been... the classic entourage of disco glamour, all those beams and gleams and sparkles, costume dancing and diamonds...

Aber... Mein Gott! Die Stimme! This is the perfect antidote to the frivolous genre, the voice and the lyrics. And I love paradoxes. And complexity. And lighting. In any form!

So... this is the combination of both, the wrapping and the content: the world seems cruel "when the lights are on, but everyone's gone". And you're standing in the spotlight alone, this is the most nightmarish of all my dreams (Dear Sigmund, please, analyse this! :) Or, "when the lights are out on every street" (Dear Valentina, please, add more lighting to our streets! :)

Meanwhile here I am, glancing over and over and over again, mesmerized by the flows of glint, twinkle, glitz, glitter, frozen tears...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Five Storeys of DeLight!

LOFT PROJECT ETAGI, St Petersburg, Russia

Conceptual. Loft. Design. Young. Smart. Concentrating on what's vital and leaving out what's not. Sounds Russian? To us, now, yes! That's probably one of the coolest places in StPete and in Russia (OK, there are SOME places that pretend to be cool... but there's too much PR noise around and too much money invested and too many expensive things inside... not really our thing!).

The former bread factory in the downtown, Loft Project Etagi now hosts 5 levels of galleries, a designer store, a bookstore, a cafe, a bar and a hostel. The interior design combines old partially broken tiles, trampled out staires and old industrial luminaires with the furniture of Charles and Ray Eames and Magis, solid wooden floors and contemporary materials.   

The canteen/cafe called Green Room is a space lit by daylight coming from big windows (also there's a terrace) so green spotlights with green barndoors are just adding to this ambient lighting effect. The same spotlights are used throughout the place together with fluo tubes and suspended luminaires. Effect lighting is created by a bunch of incandescent lamps and... 

... some decorative chandeliers (the Backstage boutique selling Russian and Baltic designers, I'm the regular! :)

To top it all literally, the LoftWineBar with wine (no surprise!) and designer luminaires over the bar counter as well as white pendants and white floor lamps - note also the fittings in the floor levels used decoratively and for orientation during movie nights. One of our favourite places in the city!

The White Hall gallery space on the ground floor was all occupied by big cages with dogs and cats waiting for their new owners - a charity event organized by Etagi - and we could not very well focus on the lighting... when those eyes were looking at us... we'd take them all!!! 

Also above right - one of the galleries in place of a former storage, with low ceiling height so the fluo tube rows are just enough for lighting it up.

The staires are left unchanged and decorated with the help of posters of the forthcoming events, orientation signs and old fluo tubes mounted either vertically or horizontally.

For dessert, the room that shocked me: the toilet walls are made of semi-opaque and semi-transparent thin plastic which you can encounter in green houses. So you can actually see through it! And the scarce lighting provides more than enough visibility... Please turn off the light! :) :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flower kiosk spills light on streets

ORANGE FLOWER KIOSKS, St. Petersburg, Russia

Getting back to the idea of how urban landscapes are changed by spilled light. Here's one of numerous flower shops, belonging to the Orange chain in St. Petersburg. They use a opaque acryllic ceiling with warm fluo tubes as well as some high pressure sodium spotlights (one of the best imaginable light sources for lighting up plants and flowers). Panoramic windows let a passer-by feel the jungle and rain-forest atmosphere from inside. Light produces life and pours it out on the streets.

On Cars And More... On Cars

AT THE PALACE BRIDGE, StPetersburg, Russia

A shot from a horror movie: black cars attacking people! Er... almost :) and the most carnivorous is the Mercedes painted matt black! As if intended to emphasise the contrast, all the other cars are also black, but glossy black. We've noticed the numerous vehicles painted matt black and started figuring the purpose. Maybe we're wrong (then we'll be more than happy to learn the real reason!) but we came up with an idea that this matt paint doesn't reflect light and makes the automobiles invisible in the darkness. StPete's Stealth!


A case of accidental lighting: taillights of a car coming out of an underground parking are overspread on walls making a dramatic appearance of the "actor", automatic fence acting as curtains...

PS. The guy at the BMW steering weel was very nice! He waited patiently until we took a picture of him... So - no worries, there was no danger! :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Кино Звезда по имени Солнце

Revolution in my head! 

No sooner had I felt the sudden desire to listen to Kino that the skies opened and the songs started falling on me, original, remixes, a friend from France turned out a big Kino fan, a friend from Sweden was listening to the band... and Kino's songs are: 1) famous for their groundbreaking lyrics  2) contain a lot of metaphors referring to the Sun, the stars and fire.

Here is one of the best songs by Kino, Star Called Sun. We won't go deep into the text analysis and concentrate on the lighting setting. What we like is that the video doesn't seem too old and doesn't really belong to 2 decades ago. The guys's manner of performing is the same as they were playing their live concerts. So they are sometimes literally "in the limelight" and you can't tell if it's a video or a concert. The choice of colour and light setting somehow accentuate the dark and tragic lyrics. Again, light makes the difference.

To contrast, placing the remix video of Star Called Sun by Brazzaville, the visual tone is completely different, more sad and romantic, as well as the lyrics.  

*Kino is the legendary Russian rock band of the 90s, the darkest time of economic and political turmoil, the leader Viktor Tsoj was the cult underground figure with almost unprecedented popularity... He died in a road accident in the 90s.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trinity Bridge Lanterns

TRINITY BRIDGE, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Neva river is as proud with its sashes of bridges as an Imperial general, and Trinity bridge is of the highest rank of course. The bridge was built by 1903, when the city celebrated its 200-years anniversary. Mrs. Eiffel was this close to winning the competition, but the project of the Building Company Batignolles was chosen. 

Trinity of poles and lanterns supports the holy idea. It imresses. Look closer >>

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Love Is The Essence

OK. This is perfection. No. THIS IS PERFECTION!!! It's a blending of my punk nature and my childhood spent backstage while my Dad was performing. Even the cable noodles don't disturb me (and I'm a real geek here, once had 32 electrical sockets on only 8 wall surfaces. A geek, as I said! :)

The black-n-white video with only one colour accent - red PJ Harvey's lips - is minimalistic almost to the point of extreme: the singer, the guitar, the white background... and the lighting! Breath-taking! The images sharply divided or flowing smoothly... the shadows and contrasts accentuating the singer's silhouette and these two shots, the 1st with a club/stage spotlight feel and the 2nd with her fringe against the wall, a shadow play...

Yeah I know the lighting design takes its origin from the theatre... But never before I thought about it serously. Now the urge to create is almost unbearable! 

This is love, this is love
That I'm feeling! 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Flying HIGH...

Dear RS, this picture is inspired by your comment (we LUV Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy :) and as I've recently caught this 'cosmic craving' from my colleague Fedor I've decided to place this a-ma-zing picture of Helix Nebula (aka the Eye of God as it is metaphorically called by the poets of our society :). Actually, it's a succesion - or, rather, a composite - of images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The astronomers are being very close to us lighting freaks watching this "trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases" - we are humans, after all, and a human brain just cannot embrace the cosmic dimensions... at least my big brain can't :)

At its center is dying star which has ejected masses of dust and gas to form tentacle-like filaments stretching toward an outer rim composed of the same material. They say, our sun may look like this in several billion years.

I like the feeling of the words as they're slipping off my tongue... the Kohoutek 4-55 planetary nebula in the constellation Cygnus... A miraculous visual effect - but not to our bare eyes!

Photo - Courtesy: NASA, WIYN, NOAO, ESA, Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner (STScI), & T. A. Rector (NRAO)

Light Well - Well?..


Where else if not in the city famous for its White Nights (oh those nights... OK, this is another story :) could we encounter the light well as it is and in such an abundance (we are in Russia, remember?). Solid concrete roof/ceiling with lots of wells dispersing light + big front edge window walls + big :) screens displaying destinations and time table - they all constitute the lighting setting for the huge hall (see, Russian's synonymic to "huge" and "big").

Daylight helps in cutting down the energy consumtion and this is amazing 'cause in the 70's (the time the building's construction refers to) the energy cost was low in the Soviet Union... Thinking future - the architects of the past were good at it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Inside Out

MERTENS HOUSE, St. Petersburg, Russia

Once Vas thought that since I am working on an outdoor project at work, I should say some word on how we see urban environment from outside. I found this idea interesting and went out. Here's the first shot in the series: Mertens House on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg as seen in twilight. Zara put in some architectonic details and split pleasant yellowish light pouring outside through uneven mesh. Wet asphalt adds on!

Historical detail: the building was built in 1870 by A. Poten for Mertens Fur Shop. Now houses Zara clothes and house utencils.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Stripe-y Trend Update

SOLINGEN BOUTIQUE, StPetersburg, Russia.

The cool fluorescent tubes used for retail decoration are quite noticable... in StPete now. Passing by the Solingen boutique which sells knives and tableware we encountered our favourite lighting sources. Here in an antique sellar setting, placed against old brick slope ceilings in the form of a glowing web. Captivating, d'you think?

Light birds

PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS, St. Petersburg, Russia

Look closer. Those are not a bunch of doves on the roof of Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Pete. It's a set of flood lights to reach up roughly 120 m (393 feet) of  Peter and Paul Cathedral.