People want to be able to affect the places they live in. Achieving the best result in designing comfortable and safe environments means getting the end-users involved. In Virontörmä, a new kind of dark time area lighting was created together with the people of the area.

Virontörmä is a large residential area located in Western Tampere, Finland. The area consists of multiple apartment buildings and housing cooperatives built in the 60s and 70s. Before, it was just another residential area, but now it has its own identity – it is the most significant light mural area in the Nordics.

At the beginning of the lighting design process, the aim was to focus on yard lighting and improving the comfortability and sense of security in the area. After seeing the buildings and walls, designers soon came up with a collective method that played an essential role in the project. The aim moved towards unifying the area’s identity – with light.

Feeling to be a part of a community makes us feel happier, so designers wanted to bring the residents together to participate in the design process. According to the results of a poll, people got to draw and paint the elements that would be projected in the walls of their own homes. The children in the local kindergarten got to create colourful details. This way, the imagery would be their own.

The changing themes and illustrations can be seen during dark hours as normally painted murals fade to the dark. The images and the house numbers make it easier to recognize the building you live in, instruct visitors to find your place, or for emergency vehicles to see immediately where the right house is. Home feels safe and comfortable.

This kind of colourful details bring us joy during the darkest time of the year. Cartoonlike characters and elements remind us to stay playful in our everyday lives. There are images in three themes, spread evenly to the area. All in all, 70 gobos were designed, five for every 15 walls, so that the images and scenery can change.

Now, when you walk or drive through the one street of the area, your gaze focuses on the shining images that stand out all the way and unify the area’s dark time look. Together, the light murals create a one of a kind collective art piece appearing when the sun sets.

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