Pedestrian Underpass, Alingsås, Sweden
PLDA Workshop 2010

Every October, six leading international lighting designers are invited to the Swedish town of Alingsås to head up teams and guide participants through the design process in the PLDA workshop, Lights in Alingsås. This workshop has taken place every year since 1997, attracting around 85,000 visitors annually, making it the largest exhibition of lighting design in public spaces in Northern Europe.

In four days the workshop heads, together with more than 50 participants, student electricians and support from the town, initiate and develop concepts and install lighting equipment that transform selected sites in and around Alingsås into exciting lighting design installations... Realised installations remain in place for a further five weeks for the enjoyment of the inhabitants and other visitors, as well as for groups of urban planners, political decision-makers and other professional people involved with urban lighting, to view and learn from.

Karen van Creveld was invited to participate as a workshop head in 2010. 'Our site was a busy pedestrian underpass, similar to those found in all towns around the world. These areas are traditionally unattractive and even threatening. Our concept was to transform the underpass into a welcoming shelter, creating a feeling of ‘home’. We wanted to use light to encourage passers-by to slow down, to linger a while, to take a breather.

We also wanted the space to be unexpectedly beautiful and to incorporate an element of surprise. To achieve this we included stencilled patterns in invisible UV paint that would gently emerge and then disappear. These patterns were composed of images of lace doilies, a recognisable symbol in Alingsås, alluding to the idea of home comfort.

This lit environment would contrast with the rush of traffic on the road above the underpass. We believed that the creative and artistic use of light, would fundamentally transform this space into an aesthetically pleasing, welcoming and inspiring environment.

Workshop creative leader. Karen van Creveld
Photography. PLDA

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