Category Archives: Sacred

Symbolism of Light

Apart from the philosophical connotations that light posses, it also is utilized throughout many cultures around the world as both a literal and metaphorical symbol. The Yin and Yang is one of the best examples of this concept as discussed previously, but there are many others as well. When different world religions are analyzed from a lighting perspective, it can be seen that different cultures and religions view light through its symbolic nature. Several global holidays use the symbolism of light as a marking of celebration. Following are some holidays which use light for its symbolism.

In Buddhism light is used as a symbol in the ritual of the eight offerings where it plays a central role. Apart from Buddhism, Islam also uses light as a symbol, most visually through its interpretation of ‘the lamp’ in the Qur’an;

“God is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp
the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star
Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the West,
whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it
Light upon Light! God doth guide whom He will to His Light
God doth set forth Parables for men: and God doth know all things.”

Another symbol commonly used if the candlelight as a symbol of wisdom. In our physical world we see things through the medium of light. If we do not have sun or electric light, this world is so dark that we cannot see anything. In our spiritual and mental world the physical light cannot help us to see. We see only through wisdom. We may stumble many times in daily life because we lack ‘light’ and ‘wisdom’. Light in this sense can also be translated into a more eastern sensibility through the term ‘enlightenment’. Jung writes in the foreword to An Introduction to Japanese Buddhism;

“This strange perception is called Satori, and may be translated as “Enlightenment”. Suzuki says (see page 95), “Satori is the raison d’etre of Zen, and without it there is no Zen.” It should not be too difficult for the Western mind to grasp what a mystic understands by “enlightenment”, or what is known as “enlightenment” in religious parlance.”

Religion:

• When different world religions are analyzed from a lighting perspective, different cultures and religions view light for its symbolic nature. Several of the global holidays use the symbolism of light celebration. In the images that will be shared in the talk, the following are the different holidays which use light for its symbolism.

Symbols of Light:

• Obon Festival [Japan]

• Hanukkah

• Loy Krathong [Thailand]

• Diwali

• Paper Lantern Festival [Singapore]

• Christmas

• Ramadan

• Cathedral of Light 1936

• Tribute in Light, New York

• Symphony of Lights, Hong Kong

• SRBS Bridge, Dubai

‘Ark of Return’ Unveiled- A Memorial to the Victims of Slavery opens at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

‘ARK OF RETURN’ UNVEILED
A Memorial Honoring Victims of Slavery Opens at the UN Headquarters in New York City

AWA Lighting Designers were honored and humbled to be selected by Rodney Leon of Rodney Leon Architects, to provide lighting design services for this landmark project. The project is located at the UN Plaza in NYC, and was recently opened to critical acclaim. The ‘Ark of Return’ is a memorial in honor of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and will be permanently on display at the Plaza at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The memorial project process was started over five years ago by UNESCO and the Permanent Memorial Committee. The memorial was conceived with support from the UN Department of Public Information’s Remember Slavery Programme, and Member States from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union. The Permanent Representative of Jamaica, Courtenay Rattray, served as chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee. Several nations, along with UNESCO, helped raise over $1.7 million to build the memorial.

The concept for the design of the memorial by Rodney Leon emerged from three important elements that individually and collectively generated the design solution.
• Acknowledge the Tragedy
• Consider the Legacy
• Lest We Forget
The lighting design solution aimed to create a respectful space, that augmented the visitors journey through the ‘Ark of Return’ – conceptually, psychologically and spiritually – to a place where acknowledgement, education, reflection and healing can take place.

CLIENT: United Nations
ARCHITECT: Rodney Leon Architects
LIGHTING DESIGNER: AWA Lighting Designers
YEAR: 2014 – 2015
VISUALS: AWA

Press Release: AWA_ArkofReturn_PressRelease_July2015

http://www.awalightingdesigners.com/

http://www.rodneyleon.com/

http://www.un.org/en/index.html

http://en.unesco.org/

View of the Memorial  from the Plaza- 59th Street Bridge and Long Island City in the background

View of the Memorial from the Plaza- 59th Street Bridge and Long Island City in the background

The  Trinity Figure- A deeply moving depiction of the forced travel

The Trinity Figure- A deeply moving depiction of the forced travel

Secretary General Bahn-Ki Moon Inaugurates the Memorial

Secretary General Bahn-Ki Moon Inaugurates the Memorial

As you enter the Memorial from the North- UN Secretariat in the Background

As you enter the Memorial from the North- UN Secretariat in the Background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mohammad Domiri Documents the Intricacy of Iranian Architecture

Shah Emam Mosque in Isfahan, Esfahan, Iran

Shah Emam Mosque in Isfahan, Esfahan, Iran

 

The labyrinth motifs ubiquitous throughout Middle Eastern culture are often incredibly complex and intricate in their composition and detail. Places of religious worship are adorned with kaleidoscopic colors and rich ornamentation within their interior walls and onto the ceilings, establishing a space that hypnotizes those inside.

Northern Iranian student Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji has photographed these sacred structures in a series of panoramic photographs, revealing the depths of these vast architectural expanses in a single shot. Towering domes painted vibrant blues and yellows are etched and painted with undulating designs; elaborate floral decorations made from mosaics line the floors and walls; light cast from stained glass brings brightly hued shadows into the spaces.

Click HERE to see all the images.

Written by: Nina Azzarello

Image Courtesy of: Mohammed Domiri

Source: DesignBoom

Light Matters: Sacred Spaces

Chapel in Villeaceron, Spain by Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office

Chapel in Villeaceron, Spain by Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The use of light can lead to very diverse feelings: a ray of sunlight calls attention; glare overpowers; the nocturnal sky fascinates, while a dense dark forest arouses fear. Religions have made use of these experiences to convey the mystic aspects of their respective deities — accordingly, so too do their erected buildings.

Gottfried Böhm’s Mariendom in Neviges, Germany, encloses the contemplative visitor in a dark environment to focus his attention away from the material world and towards inner enlightenment. The daylight, which enters through small rooflights, only slightly highlights the altar. The concept deliberately plays with adaptation, where the eye slowly adjusts from a bright exterior to darker interior, giving the impression that the environment turns slightly brighter over several minutes.

Peter Zumthor further developed this concept of the dark shelter in the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Germany, where the cavity is made from a charred black wooden frame. As a counterpoint, small bottle glass portholes add points of light. Zumthor bases the sensual experience on an intense contrast between daylight and darkness that surprises the visitor. The pilgrims are led from a timid darkness to poetic twinkling stars.

Click HERE read the full article.

Written By: Thomas Schielke

Image Courtesy of: Hisao Suzuki

Source: ArchDaily