The project “When it gets dark it starts...“ was a joint project of Köln International School of Design (KISD) and lamp manufacturer Trilux. It took place during summer term 2014 and was aimed at developing new concepts of lighting, based on existing light conducting material and their forces and effects. It was supervised by Prof. Hatto Grosse (KISD), Eduard Paul (KISD) and Sebastian Ludwig (Trilux).

The project the second cooperation between KISD and Trilux: a prior project had analyzed future applications of light and lighting techniques and had been entitled “OLED – the future illuminant“.The current analysis therefore also referred to OLED and compared contemporary trends in lighting techniques and material: It was shown that, despite the rapid progress in and for OLED technology, classic LED technique also has the potential to advance quickly. Thus, LED, at the moment, has a competitive edge and some advantages in efficiency, price, usage and operation compared to OLED.

Another asset is the fact that by means of light conducting material, for example PMMA, LED can even give full and adjustable light to those physical structures that are otherwise difficult to handle in terms of lighting. It is in between those different poles and approaches that students then had the possibility to research on and develop new methods and techniques in this realm. They hereby could seize advantages of research and teaching gathered at KISD before. In interdisciplinary teams, students were given space for experiments and research in lighting techniques while taking into account approaches of related disciplines, and ever solidifying their results n the context of contemporary discourse especially within sociocultural issues.

The results now encompass a huge variety of concepts that range from current technological applications to possible future scenarios in the realm of lighting. It was in different kinds of visualization and modeling that students finally documented their concepts. We would like to thank, at this point, the Trilux company and also Sebastian Ludwig for making this project possible.