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Dec 15, 2021

Especially during Christmas time, the presence of light in all of our cities is a means to create a warm and cheerful atmosphere in the public space: Festivals of light are organized all over Europe during December and it’s definitely not easy to keep track of all of them. Nonetheless, we have selected five festivals we do believe in to inspire you.

If you happen to be in the Netherlands, you cannot miss the Amsterdam Light Festival, that this year turns 10yo. From December 2 until January 23 light artworks will be on daily from 4.30pm until 11pm and you will be able to admire them either on foot or you can opt for different formats of cruises. Up in Northern Europe, we cannot forget Lux Helsinki: “an annually organized light festival that transforms familiar buildings and spaces into unique works of urban art during the darkest time of the year”, as can be read on the festival website.

Historically, the Fête des Lumières in Lyon, France (December 8-11, 2021), Luci d’Artista in Turin, Italy (on until January 9, 2022) and the Light Experience Trail during Winter Glow in Bruges, Netherlands (on until January 9, 2022) are three appointments that in our opinion are worth the visit. All of them celebrate light and its urban dimension and potential. From streets to squares, light transforms the urban walkarounds for the darkest period of the year.

In 2020 also Milan and some private sponsors engaged with the theme of light installing 18 Christmas Trees all around the city. Metis Lighting collaborated with Cimento, Omri Revesz and Parisotto+Formenton Architetti to create the two Whispering Trees in Piazza San Fedele, where you could listen to the sounds of the woods (animals included!), the whisper of the wind, all in a context that respected interpersonal distance without missing out on the willing of sharing that is very typical of Christmas.

During these festivals, it is clear that light does have an impact on how a public space can be lived and perceived, how it can affect the emotions and senses of the inhabitants. We do wonder how cities would look if these weren’t temporary festivals but permanent installations in the city. How could light transform the urban space?

Alexandro Berto

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