Oddleif Apneset

Lighting that still lets you see the stars.

Rare is the American city-dweller who thinks, "This park that I'm walking through in the middle of the night is too well-lit."

But that's exactly what Birgitta Ralston and Alexandre Bau, a couple of Norway-based designers, thought when they worked with residents of a Nordic village during the long, dark Scandinavian winter. "The amazing light of stars and aurora borealis (Nordic lights) are affected by public lighting," Ralston & Bau said in a press release, "Therefore it made sense to make light fixtures that are fully lit only when needed."

So they invented Shroom Lighting. The Shrooms, made of steel and linen composite, are elegant and diversely shaped. The shortest two Shrooms also function as seats for one or several people. Each Shroom has a motion sensor that determines its illumination level. When all is still, the light dims to a 10 percent glow. When someone approaches, it reaches full luminosity.

This not only prevents light pollution, letting park-goers stargaze or enjoy a moment of moonlight, it also saves energy. "The result," say the designers, "is a small forest of magic Shrooms."

That sounds delightful, but could it work in a city?

Top image: Oddleif Apneset. All other images: Ralston & Bau.

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