A lighting design concept for JA Selanders gata

As part of the Light Festival, Nattljus, in Eskilstuna Tengbom has created a permament light design ceoncept for JA Selanders gata. Lighting designer James Anderson explains the concept.

We began work on JA Selanders Gata under the mandate to revive a small street which was connected to Eskilstuna’s city center.  It was previously the main street for the theater district and had long been home to the Eskilstuna Kurir.  It had later been named after JA Selander – who was chief editor of the Kurir in the mid-20th century.

A combination of warm and cool light is used to separate traffic.

The street and sidewalk were poorly lit, in contrast to bright lighting on nearby facades and cross streets.  This combined with the frequent car traffic and plenty of pedestrians made the whole space feel unsafe.

We set out to bring a sense of life and security back to the area.  We replaced the existing globe lights with a modern equivalent, using cut-off optics and a warm golden glow, reducing light pollution and increasing the light level on the sidewalk by 250%.  Cool lighting was introduced for the automobile traffic and parking areas, and a warm light used where pedestrians and cars shared space – signaling a need for all parties to be alert of their surroundings.

A performance on site dutring the opening ceremony of Nattljus.

The street is framed by the surrounding trees using a color-tuneable white light – changing from warm to cool with the seasons.  Spot lights are used to create a path of light from the city center to the adjoining square, where a statue of JA Selander sits.

Quotation by JA Selander projected on the street bearing his name.

For me, the most important discovery was the history of Mr. Selander and his significance to Eskilstuna and Sweden.  In his role at the Kurir, he was a vocal critic of Swedish neutrality during the Second World War.  He fought against censorship and dishonesty within government and the media.  In world gone mad, JA Selander stood up for those most vulnerable and for the sanctity of the written word.  It is not hard to draw parallels with our own political climate and it was clear we should take the opportunity to draw attention to the power his words could have on us all today.

As the final piece of our design, we worked together with Eskilstuna Kommun and Eskilstuna Kurir to select quotations from Mr. Selander to be projected on the ground leading to his statue.  It was a pleasure to see these engaging people with his words, and a privilege to take a small part in the legacy of this historic figure.