Malcolm Innes and Euan Winton have double cause for celebration tonight thanks to the Degree Show opening and their shortlisting for Lighting Designers of the Year at the Scottish Design Awards.
Going into dark, locked, secluded areas of Edinburgh City at night may not always appeal to the general public but in November 2014 that is exactly what Malcolm Innes and Euan Winton, of Edinburgh Napier University, invited the public to do at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The project in collaboration with Black Light and Unique Events was delivered for the Botanic Gardens over a 23 day period. The completely new event for Edinburgh, gave light to this dark corner of Edinburgh at a time of year when most people prefer to stay in doors. The Kilometre long pathway hosted 22 specifically designed installations exploring the gardens from the heavens through to its microscopic environments.
Animated environments were expanded upon and revealed through the orchestration of light and shadow; illuminating the natural landscape and unseen livinigscape, whilst allowing the public time and space to enjoy moments of rich darkness. 23,000 people tested their own relationship with the gardens, through shifting their time and spatial appreciation of a place that so many think they know so well. What was key was bringing to the audience a new way of seeing the natural and architectural features of the garden, as such the installations, artistic interpretation and performance aspects devised sinuous route of inter-relational inter-connected spaces.
The project excelled in changing the visitor statistics for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh breaking records for the time of year. During the period of the project social media was used virally by the public to share through photographs, videos and comments and the official Facebook followers of the garden increased by over 20%. The public social behaviours observed during the event and through social media gave a significant amount of dynamic visitor ownership of the event. Essentially, the Night in the Garden created, for a 3 week period, a new dynamic public space in darkest Edinburgh.
This wonderful project allowed for former, MA Lighting and BDes (Hons) Interior Design, student Stephanie Denholm to be employed as a design researcher at the university. At the same time current MA/MDes Interaction Design Stevie Bales was employed to undertake visitor experience evaluation and to photographically and filmicly, document the entire project. Further to this a number of Masters students gained great experience in helping to install and focus the final work.