Less is more!
While light design is often viewed as ornamental and light itself only in terms of its function, Morten Jensen, Country Manager at ÅF Lighting Norway, shows that there is so much more to it:“Our light systems should not only take sustainability and energy consumption into account but actually also work for the joy and well-being of us.”
In his more than twenty years of working with light, first in the show and cruise industry all around the world and since 2009 for ÅF in Norway, he has never stopped to be curious and passionate about the possibilities of light and light design.
“It´s been a wonderful journey,” he recaps, “this profession has grown from being very design-centric to being now more focused on urban infrastructure. These days, light design is part of the building industry and involved in both, the design phase and the technical phase.”
As Morten is hoping for the public to recognize the value of his profession, he is also a strong advocate for reducing light in our cities. What might seem ironic at first, is actually part of his visionary perspective on environmental issues
“One of the big challenges today is light pollution,” Morten illustrates the problem.
“I do believe that we actually only need 10 % or maybe 20 % of all the light in our cities that we are using now. We have to go back and start from scratch in a way.”
© ÅF Lightning
So far, this “less is more” approach has contributed to improving many public areas. One of those areas Morten and his team worked on is Akerselva miljøpark in Oslo. Their smart light concept has made a sector of the river park that was previously not used by the public due to criminal activities safe and secure.
“While it might sound contradictory, too much light also creates dark corners, where you cannot control what is happening,”
he explains. “But with good light solutions, we can help to make an area more attractive for people and reduce unwanted or harmful activities.”
As thoughtful lighting can only be one part of the solution, Morten emphasizes that cooperation with architects, urbanists, municipalities, and people from the neighborhoods they are working on is essential for the success of the projects.
One very unique project Morten was a vital part of, is the underwater restaurant UNDER, in Lindesnes, in southern Norway. The recently opened restaurant is not only the first underwater restaurant in Europe as well as the biggest worldwide, but it is also a marine research center.
“Since many people have a fear of being trapped in a closed space, especially underwater, a light concept that provides a sense of safety and orientation was key for this project,” Morten describes the uncommon circumstances. He solved this unique challenge with Liquid Light®, a new light concept that was developed by him and his team. It is not only sustainable by optimizing energy use but also prioritizes the well-being of its users.
© ÅF Lightning
“At UNDER you have the sensation of floating light, as we are collecting data from the surrounding water to create light waves and let you feel the environment as much as possible,”
he illustrates the experience. “In addition, you are also taking the light from above down with you. So when you are sitting in the restaurant and looking upwards, you will not actually see the daylight, but you will always have a connection with what´s above sea level.”
Extraordinary projects like UNDER demonstrate the power of a strong vision, paired with technical innovation and the know-how of highly skilled and conscious people.
However, for Morten Jensen, it is important that we don´t sleep on our accomplishments, like LED and other technological innovations. “We need to reduce and turn off the lights,” he summarizes his vision, “I will focus on that in the future!”
I am a very passionate person.
I love what I do because I think it makes a difference.
The best work-related decision I ever took was I think so far it´s actually to be a light designer.
Everyone can live more sustainable, simply by stopping to use more than you need.
It´s worth to try new things because new things can teach us new ways to create a better life.
With his projects Morten Jensen, Country Manager at ÅF Lighting Norway teaches us to value light and – sometimes even more importantly – its absence in a new way!
Check out his Speaker Profil: www.urban-future.org/morten-jensen