Provocation 1: Public Lighting Design

I found this piece about “Flow – public lighting” at Industrial Design Served. Go check out the whole thing because it’s clever and interesting and beautiful. I’m especially interested that my user experience designer friends see it.

When I first saw it, I was first struck by its elegance and beauty. The whole green angle is clever as well. But right after that, I immediately wondered, “do these things put out enough light?” And that got me to wondering about the whole project. Did the green aims of the designer distract them from other more pragmatic concerns? Is there some visceral value to be derived from the aesthetic that makes up for its lack of usable light? Was significant illumination necessarily a part of the project requirements? Should it have been?

I don’t have satisfactory answers, but I think this kind of design can often bump up against some of the sensibilities of the more technically minded people I’ve known. I wonder how user experience designers might look at this question. I would imagine they might recommend some kind of anthropology be done. I imagine they would suggest best practices for adducing the knowledge needed to make decisions. But what is your gut reaction to this project, UX peeps? Does your gut tell you the outcome is satisfactory?

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