INTERVIEW: Civil Twilight on their Sustainable Approach to Design
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’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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