What “Winter Lights in Telemark” is all about?

Winter Lights in Telemark is a project that we have been working with for more than a year. Our inspiration was what they have managed to do over years in Alingsås in Sweden. The simple answer to the question is: How can light make the town more attractive. In addition this is the first winter even that PLDA have done ever!

Who had the idea of turning Notodden into a Town of Winter Lights?!

The idea grew from a consortium of partners were light designers, local businesses and municipal leaders took part.

Seven objects were chosen for lights-cape art. How were they selected?

The six sites were chosen by PLDA and the transnational group of light designers. The criteria that were put into consideration were importance as for the enlightment of history, culture and architecture.

The winter was generous with snow this year. Is this something the organizers were hoping for? Or did it make the process more difficult?

This was the first Winter Light Festival in the world, and we were of course happy to have a lot of snow - almost half a meter. It was cold for the students that should install the equipment, but even more beautiful when in function!

Is Notodden any special from other cities you have been working with before? And how? (a question to experts)

The exciting interaction of architecture and snow, ice and lighting design in the south-east Norwegian town Notodden!

Notodden has a lot going for it: beautiful scenery, a direct waterway link to the sea, a history of hydro-power and paper production, one of the few original stave churches left in Norway, and Europe’s biggest blues festival.

For 51 weeks in the year Notodden goes about its daily business, part of which is focusing on how to revitalize the town centre, create a meaningful link to the former industrial area on the waterfront and encourage more people to visit and settle here.

The team of architects, urban planners, politicians and cultural officers has come to the conclusion that designed lighting is a key element to enhancing the ambience of the town and improving the local economy. An exciting and profitable event such as the blues festivals cannot be maintained for more than a week. Notodden are looking for an event during the winter month that will attract attention to their perhaps sometimes underrated town and provide enjoyment and inspiration in the dark months of the year. We normally work in the bigger cities of Europe but this was even more fascinating!

What were the key-messages of the conference you had last Friday?

The main source of inspiration for the architectural lighting designer is daylight. How is this Inspiration interpreted and applied in townscapes?

Is the local society involved?

Local businesses and people in the municipality have been engaged in different ways, it was a huge thing to organize!

You have a lot of youths working in the “Winter Lights in Telemark”. What is the magic way to attract them to participate?

The young people were light design students from all over the world, also from Norway; we have a light design education on University level in Drammen not far from Notodden.

Have you been thinking about similar follow-up projects? Notodden in summer lights? Or to make an exceptional lighting during the whole year?

We are hoping to make this an annual event, but firstly we will have to evaluate results and outputs. We think the winterlightscapes gives added value to the festival, in summer we have just a couple of hours night and it is not worth while do it. Some of the installations should probably be permanent, and we will have to discuss who is going to pay.

What is the new and most exciting experience of having this project going on?

The conference was fantastic and our walk along the lighty trail – of course! In addition people living in Notodden have started taking late evening walks to see the installations even if we have had temperatures down to minus 16.

Why this kind of actions is important for Notodden?

Why? Because we are thus enlightened and perhaps even more proud of our town! Yes we can!


Thank You for conversation!