Tribute of Light

Singapore 12th September 2011

Nine-Eleven came and went with many memorials held all over the world. Ten years later it still leaves an incredible mark on our lives, for those who lost loved ones in the attack it will be forever. For me as a lighting designer the tribute of light to mark the location where the Towers once stood is the memorial mark and quite an event by all standards. It just shows how powerful light is and how much we all identify with light as a medium of expression. The installation is so powerful that it can be seen from miles away and reaches into the sky as far as you can see.

One of the great points of this lighting expression is the message it “radiates”, courtesy of a well thought concept. Yes the concept is simple, but the message very strong. Beauty generally can be found in simplicity and this is true for most of the really good lighting designs. Once lighting tells a story like it does here, everyone can identify with it, happy or sad. Most of all with a good concept, lighting is not explicit, it leaves room for your imagination, it gives you the basic components of a message and you fill in the dots according to how and what you see with it! Everyone has different life experiences and hence leaving room for personal interpretation allows people to personalise what they see with a greater satisfaction.

Finding the “story” that epitomises your lighting concept is often also the base for a successful design…many designs I see around me have no story and hence they pollute the skies with meaningless expressions of light.  Some of my own designs, I admit, also lack the power of a good story and as a result they are just run of the mill. This can be due (often) to stringent budget restrictions not leaving you much room for creative interpretations, sometimes the building is just not inspiring, that happens too! Tribute of Light is a simple but extremely powerful concept that stands totally on its own and leaves everyone to reflect on what once was…

In Light Watch some pictures that I got from the Daily Mail online. The pictures mostly courtesy of  Getty Images are quite impressive and show how it all is done. The installation uses 88 floodlights of 7 KW precisely aligned in two squares that recreate the footprints of the original buildings. You can see more of them including video’s at

Light Watch 160: Tribute to light, testing the installation before the big day

12. September 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light and insiration, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting design | Leave a comment

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