INTERVIEW: Civil Twilight on their Sustainable Approach to Design

by , 09/25/09

Civil Twilight, Civil Twilight Collective, Lunar Lights, Lunar Resonant, Street lighting, lunar street lighting, efficient outdoor lighting, efficient streetlights 2, metropolis next generation, metropolis winners 2
Christina Seely, Anton Willis, and Kate Lydon with Horace Havemeyer and Susan Szenasy of Metropolis

Emily: What implications does the lunar-resonant lighting project have in terms of sustainability?

KL: The combined effect of converting to LEDs and lunar-resonance saves a huge amount of energy (our research indicates about 85%). And, of course, LEDs last much longer than sodium-vapor bulbs, and are dimmable. But we
don’t think sustainability will ever reach its potential if it is only about invisible technical innovations.

AW: Beyond the specific energy savings, we would like to see the discussion about sustainability expand to a more experiential definition. This project is very much about changing people’s perceptions and experiences of night, lighting, and natural cycles; making those kinds of connections should be a key part of sustainable design.

Civil Twilight, Civil Twilight Collective, Lunar Lights, Lunar Resonant, Street lighting, lunar street lighting, efficient outdoor lighting, efficient streetlights 2, mycofarmhouse
Civil Twilight’s Mycofarmhouse project

Emily: What other types of work do you guys do and what are some of the underlying themes in your projects?

KL: We’re interested in brilliant simplicity, across scales and media. In some ways, we see the lunar streetlights as ‘undesign.’ They could alter our perception of cities at night, enhance the experience of taking a moonlit urban stroll, connect people to the lunar cycle, and we hope encourage moon-based activities, all with components that plug into existing fixtures.

Like the streetlights, our other design work explores how the built environment engages natural phenomena, to both practical and poetic ends. We’re working on a small mixed-use development designed around walking paths
and focused on innovative green materials. The mycofarmhouse uses mushrooms (a current obsession) to break down and recycle wood-frame buildings (and have them for dinner!).

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  1. PedroFunhy January 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    just a test, admin, del this message

  2. fluffyfreak July 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

    This is such a simple but effective idea! I really like it :)

  3. metis May 24, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    thanks, i saw that but that email keeps bouncing for me as invalid.

  4. Paul Morra May 23, 2007 at 7:39 am

    The more I learn about this collective, the more impressed I am.
    Fairly simple, high concept projects, without a lot of fluff.
    More art than design really.

    Looking forward to more work from them.
    Thanks for posting this.

  5. Emily May 22, 2007 at 4:27 pm


    The contact email on their website is listed as

  6. royalestel May 22, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Ok. Thanks for posting this. Now I understand why you were so impressed with their work.

  7. metis May 21, 2007 at 11:45 am

    more importantly, is there a working contact for them? I’d love a folding pattern for the kayak, but they don’t seem to have a mail server ….

  8. metis May 21, 2007 at 11:35 am

    so… i’m a little curious as to how one safely harvests a crop in a building that’s intentionally being consumed from within…

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