Lyon: Everything is illuminated 14.12.15

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  • Lyon, France’s City of Light

  • La Source de Lumière by Fabrice Oudin on Place des Jacobins, part of the Fête des Lumières

  • The city at dusk, viewed from Vieux Lyon

  • The banks of the River Saône are a “calm zone” with minimal lighting

  • The Palais de Justice (1835–45), designed by Louis-Pierre Baltard

  • The basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (1872–84), designed by Pierre Bossan

Few cities take public lighting as seriously as Lyon. For France’s second city, it is not just a matter of safety, or even aesthetics. It plays a fundamental role in citizens’ quality of life. Michel Djaoui photographed the city at night for our latest issue

The beauty of a city is often judged by its architecture: the art nouveau of Prague, Barcelona’s collection of Gaudí, and Chicago’s, well, everything. This, of course, is always while thinking of those cities in the daytime. But a growing number of cities are recognising that city life doesn’t end when the sun sets and these cities have a leader: Lyon.

The second city of France truly is the “City of Light”. One of the first municipalities in the world to introduce a formal lighting masterplan, which it did in 1989, Lyon hosts an annual Festival of Lights, which usually attracts some three million visitors. It also has a massive budget for everyday lighting and, in 2014, the city committed €20 million over six years to fund new schemes.

The city has expressly linked urban illumination with quality of life, not solely safety or even straightforward beautification. Where other cities only give deep thought to illuminating monuments or major squares, here the approach is far more complex.

For our latest issue, available now, Solène Broussard and Nicolas Fleury wrote about the city's innovative approach. Michel Djaoui's images, featured above, accompany the article.

Read more about Icon 151, pictured below, in which we focus on the design that has a tangible impact on people's lives and moods



Michel Djaoui



Solène Broussard and Nicolas Fleury

151 JAN cover

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