Nagasaki, a city where the diverse cultures of Asia and the west met, mixed, and entered Japan.   Nagasaki history includes secret congregations of Christians and an atomic bomb blast.  However, it is also a city transmitting a message and prayer for peace to the world.  After discussions with specialists and citizens of Nagasaki, a lighting masterplan for the city centre was formulated.  The masterplan aims to create a nightscape retaining the diverse culture and history of Nagasaki, visible in the cityscape.  Following masterplan guidelines, the nightscape was redeveloped over a three-year period starting in 2017.

The lighting concept for the Peace Park, a symbol of Nagasaki as an International City of Peace, is “A Request for Prayer” light.  As a community delivering a message of peace to the world, we aimed to create “a view that takes one on the emotional journey of prayer.”

Before redevelopment, the project site was very dark, evoking a sense of anxiety, but with excessive glare from flood lights.  The atmosphere to inspire a sense of calmness and a prayer for peace was lost.  To create an atmosphere reflecting the lighting concept, we aggressively pursued the following basic principles: suitable lux levels that don’t invite anxiety, soft, non-glare lighting, and high CRI-rated light sources.   Carefully, we create a tranquil and beautiful lightscape.

In the Peace Park, we designed axis of light to converge at the memorial.   Glare-free lights mounted below eye level replaced pole lights with strong glare that interfered with the panorama to creating a dramatic nightscape.  Dots of fibre optics were embedded into existing cobblestone of the plaza and aligned systematically to converge at the base of the memorial.    While this design reflects the backbone of Nagasaki, it feels like walking a path of light for departed souls, completing the spiritual feel of the space.

From 50m away, four, ultra-narrow spotlights illuminate the Peace Statue, the symbol of the Peace Park.   After several on-site tests, spotlights were precisely mounted and adjusted to cancel out shadowing and eliminate surrounding spill light.  5000k light was specified to present a clean image of the bronze statue.  All four spotlights are dimmed to different percentages through a central control system.  The design successfully highlights the delicate shape of the statue.

Before redevelopment, the plaza, park and surrounding facilities were hidden in dark shadows.  However, along with the Peace Statue, a new integrated design helped to create a tranquil place and atmosphere to pray for peace.  Surrounding neighbourhood street lights were also exchanged for glare-free and warm colour temperature luminaries.

An urban lighting plan for modern and maturing cities is now expected to provide more than just security lighting and should boldly express the uniqueness of each city.   This project is the formulation of a lighting masterplan that expresses the uniqueness of Nagasaki and the materialization of a redevelopment plan.  In compliance with the city government and public opinion, it is also an idealistic case study becoming a reality, not just empty ideology on a drafting table.

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