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a deep look at the loneliness of the global cities as it appears during the blue hour


Alone Togetheris an ongoing photographic project byAristotle Roufanis, for which the London-based photographer takes photos of large metropoles in a way that only tiny, individual apartment lights are visible. Hardly recognisable in the dark, some of the world’s most famous metropoles such as London, Paris, Miami and Athens are transformed into sprawling canvases of anonymity, where countless people have decided to make their home but hardly connect to each other.  The project takes this phenomenon of social alienation in urban centres as a starting point, and adds a positive, optimistic twist to it.

▲一些城市古迹在夜间活动中得到了最好的认可。旧金山-奥克兰湾大桥上的bay lights项目是世界上最大的led灯雕塑,它利用了飞利浦照明产品的25,000多个节点,使这座桥具有全球吸引力,并说明了照明在创建标志性城市地标中的关键作用振兴地方经济。飞利浦照明提供

“The bigger the city, the lonelier we feel”,comments Aristotle Roufanis, who recently moved to London from another bustling urban centre, namely his hometown of Athens, Greece. “In a big city, we are very efficient in covering all our consumerist needs, but we forget our need for companionship. It is important for people to understand that although lonely, they are not alone. Individuality does not equal to alienation.” For the artist, the individual lights shining in the city at night symbolise persons stranded in the dark void of a detached world. By taking photos of cities at dusk and dawn,  Aristotle Roufanis points out where life is in the big city, since in the absence of light pollution, only the places where people live are illuminated. Even in photos where recognisable landmarks can be seen, like in the case of Paris, the photographer literally shifts the spotlight from the public to the private, which in turn brings attention to the distance between the isolated lights seen in the dark.

some urban monuments are best recognized in their nocturnal states. the bay lights project on the san francisco–oakland bay bridge—the largest led light sculpture in the world—utilizes more than 25,000 nodes of philips lighting products, making the bridge a global attraction and illustrating the key role of lighting in creating iconic city landmarks and revitalizing local economies.courtesy philips lighting

To make each little light visible within the vast urban jungle,  Aristotle Roufanis has deployed a technique of super high-resolution photography, which is then complemented by meticulous digital editing that can take up to one month for each photo. The images for the Alone Together series, when presented in an exhibition context, are shown inextremely high-resolution prints that are at least 160 cm and up to 5 metres wide,in order to convey as much detail as possible. This enables the viewer to explore different areas of the image, and perhaps identify with particular lights or even people seen in the photos:the resolution of the images is so high, that tiny figures can sometimes be seen standing in the windows, perhaps contemplating the city outside or doing everyday things in their home.


A civil engineering graduate, Aristotle Roufanis has always been fascinated by architecture, and particularly the patterns and sheer scale of large cities. Interested in the many contrasts and the amount of information one can collect through reading an urban landscape, the artist has often turned his lens to urban architecture in the past. Alone Together combines several themes that have appeared in Aristotle Roufanis’s work so far, but merges them in a very skilful and refined way. Imagine the artist perched atop a hill or high-rise building at dawn waiting patiently for the city lights to go out in order to take a series of quick, precious clicks; it is as if he’s eavesdropping on our lives with his camera. What he gives back in return is the awareness that we are not as alone as we think, and that, in a sea of dark night,the nearest bright spot is much closer than we think.

good outdoor lighting has an undeniable role in fostering public space and facilitating the emergence of civic culture. well-lit intersections are statistically linked with a reduction in pedestrian–automobile accidents. with newfound sensitivity to the omnipresent and global issue of violence against women, as well as stoked anxieties about attacks in public spaces, lighting claims an important part in ensuring both individual and public safety. and from a cultural and economic perspective, sensitively illuminated urban areas effectively enhance the public sphere by allowing people to live, work, and play outside of daylight hours.

Text by Kiriakos Spirou

“照明是城市景观中必不可少的组成部分,”智慧城市专家,负责飞利浦照明公共部门市场营销的susanne seitinger说。“无论是标志性的桥梁和建筑物,还是街道和十字路口的公共照明,都可以为该地区的社会经济和文化繁荣做出贡献。”

www.js333,“lighting is an essential and ubiquitous part of the urban landscape,” says susanne seitinger, an expert on smart cities who leads public-sector marketing for philips lighting. “public lighting, from iconic bridges and buildings to streets and intersections, can contribute to the socioeconomic and cultural prosperity of a region.”

▲leni schwendinger在西雅图中心校园的“色彩之梦2.0”装置是建立在2003年以前的一个装置的基础上的。双色板安装在450英尺长的通道上,允许近乎无限的颜色组合。在其他公共设施中,照明扮演着关联于建筑的支持性角色,但在这个项目中,照明占据了舞台中心,并改变了周围的建筑形式。

leni schwendinger’s “dreaming in color 2.0” installation at the seattle center campus builds upon a previous installation from 2003. dichroic plates are installed throughout the 450-foot-long passage- way, allowing near-infinite color combinations. unlike other public installations, in which lighting assumes a supportive role relative to the architecture, lighting in this project takes center stage and transforms the surrounding built form.


yet given this critical—even increasingly so—function of nighttime lighting in the social (and economic) well-being of urban inhabitants, why are lighting designers and experts nearly unified in their belief that outdoor lighting in past years has been excessive? part of the answer may lie in traditional suspicions of the night as hosting illicit activities and shady characters, which continue to negatively shape people’s views of darkness.

历史学家a. roger ekirch在2005年出版的著作《一天的终结:过去的夜晚》阐明了历史上几乎所有文明如何将黑暗与邪恶联系在一起。这种认识仍然存在,尽管大多数暴力犯罪行为是在白天实施的,即使在犯罪率历史最低的城市也是如此。打击反社会行为的自然本能是用路灯,前大灯,手电筒,泛光灯将其淹没。根据这种广泛共识,带来误导性的假设,认为在照明方面,更多必然更好,于是我们的城市一直被过度照明。

the historian a. roger ekirch’s 2005 book at day’s close: night in times past elucidates how nearly every civilization throughout history has associated darkness with evil. this attitude persists, although the majority of violent crimes are committed during the day, even in cities experiencing historically low crime rates. the natural instinct in combatting antisocial behavior has been to overwhelm it with light—streetlights, headlights, flashlights, floodlights. as a result, according to a broad consensus, our cities have been consistently over-illuminated, driven by a misguided assumption that when it comes to lighting, more is necessarily better.

“一个普遍的误解是,光线较高的区域更安全,”位于南卡罗来纳州的制造商hubbell lighting的dean dal ponte说。但是,他警告说:“增加更多的光线以增强安全性实际上可能产生相反的效果。”密歇根州户外家具和照明公司landscape forms的设计和营销副总裁kirt martin表示赞同,并指出过度照明“确实可以降低行人的信心。”2016年长篇文章由《卫报》的amanda petrusich明确表示,最近越来越多地采用更亮的led灯具的路灯设计“几乎被普遍描述为令人不快的”。

“a common misconception is that areas with higher light levels are safer,” says dean dal ponte of the south carolina–based manufacturer hubbell lighting. but, he cautions, this impulse “to add more light to increase safety may actually have the opposite effect.” kirt martin, vp of design and marketing at outdoor furniture and lighting firm landscape forms in michigan, concurs, pointing out that excessive lighting “can actually reduce pedestrian confidence.” suzan tillotson, whose high-profile collaborations with world-renowned architects have cemented her lighting-superstar status, calls america’s ever-brightening public spaces “horrible” and a major issue facing the profession, criticizing the “more and more light” crowd as overzealous. a 2016 long-form article by amanda petrusich in the guardian plainly stated that recent streetlight design, which increasingly employs brighter led fixtures, is “almost universally described as unpleasant.”

▲由rodrigo torres为密歇根州的landscape landscapes公司设计的torres系列产品受到标志性路灯图像的影响,尽管采用led照明,但其友善而温暖的白光减少了眩光。landscape forms提供

the torres line, designed by rodrigo torres for michigan-based company landscape forms, is influenced by an iconic streetlight image and despite being led, reduces glare with its friendly, warm white light.courtesy landscape forms

照明行业“少即是多”的观点受到了环境方面的关注,即对光污染和生态系统破坏的关注,以及围绕适应人类与自然联系的基本需求的设计领域的加速讨论。《卫报》表示:“如果你住在美国大城市,现在几乎不可能在户外的黑暗中度过任何时间。”landscape forms的martin指出,当今最受关注的目标之一是使照明设计适应昼夜节律,并指出现代led灯无法像我们的祖先几千年那样对光做出反应。

the arguments of the “less is more” wing of the lighting profession are bolstered by environmental concerns about light pollution and disruption to ecosystems, as well as the accelerated discourse within design around accommodating (rather than resisting) humanity’s basic need to connect with nature. “if you live in a major american city, it is now virtually impossible to spend any time at all outside and in the dark,” the guardian piece warned. landscape forms’ martin observes that one of the most talked-about objectives today is adapting lighting design to circadian rhythms, noting that contemporary led lights preclude our ability to respond to light as our ancestors did for thousands of years.

▲良好的户外照明要考虑到环境和不同的光源。由claudi aguiló和xavier nogués设计的the rea户外设施位于巴塞罗那——santa & cole发出漫射光斜向下,减少光污染