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Workshop Light painting technique

Have you ever thought about the technique of light painting? Is it possible? And how do they do that? To find out, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the “Light Line” workshop with engineer Ruairi O’Brien, a workshop that combines Arabic calligraphy and light painting.

RUAIRÍ O’BRIEN is an architect, lighting designer, artist and educator.
Associate Professor and Head of the Architecture and Visual Design Department at the German University in Cairo.
Co-Founder and President of the Erich Kästner Museum in Dresden, Germany. Owner of design practice’s, Ruairí O’Brien Architects and Ruairí O’Brien Lighting Design.
He has exhibited, given talks and led workshops on his art, lighting projects and architecture works internationally in numerous cities, among which were: Cairo, Berlin, London, Tokyo, Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig, Dresden and Washington.

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On the way in light 2024, Potsdam

On the way in light 2024, Potsdam

Enthusiasm for soundless music light composition at “Unterwegs im Licht”

Last Saturday (20.1.), the international team of light artist and architect Ruairí O’Brien accompanied the numerous cultural players in the center of Potsdam at the 10th anniversary of “Unterwegs im Licht”.
From dusk until late in the evening, O’Brien’s artistic soundless-music light composition moved simultaneously and synchronously through the color wheel of spectral light colors on all the buildings – including DAS MINSK, the Museum Barberini and the Garnison Church, which is currently being rebuilt. The rhythmically and visually varied choreography made it possible for children and non-children to experience color theory in the most entertaining form. In addition to the inspiring overall composition, which offered surprising changes of rhythm and sound in the form of visual sensory impressions, the laser show “Journey through the Stargate” in the city canal and the final performance on the Alter Markt were among this year’s highlights, according to numerous visitors.
Each of Ruairí O’Brien’s compositions for “Unterwegs im Licht” is unique in terms of the city-related themes, the facades involved, the color palette, the intensity and the tempi. Part of the architect and light artist’s special signature is to make each room and each building tangible in its individual character.

Read more here

The illumination was realized by the following partners:

City of Potsdam (organizer)

P3 Projekt GmbH (organization)

Ruairí O’Brien . Lighting Design (lighting concept)

TLT Event AG (technical realization)

Photos 1-3, 6-9: Leon Lenk

Photos 5-7, 10: Ruairi O’Brien . Lighting Design

Lighting concept for the city center of Bad Vilbel

Lighting concept for the city center of Bad Vilbel

Current completion of the lighting concept

The well-known mineral water town of BAD VILBEL is getting a lighting concept for its city center. The development of the content has been completed and a first rough version has now been handed over to the city administration. Final completion is planned for the end of the year and the concept will be officially presented at the beginning of the new year. The Handbook serves as an important tool to engage citizens, business owners, investors and city representatives in the decision-making processes necessary to ensure a future “people and nature” friendly, innovative and sustainable lighting strategy for its unique historic city center and riverfront . The city of BAD VILBEL is located in the south of the state of Hesse, in the immediate vicinity of the metropolis of Frankfurt am Main and is known for its mineral water springs. With the concept, which was implemented as part of the nationwide “Living Centers” program in Germany, the historic city receives an attractive, innovative and sustainable lighting concept to improve the evening ambience. Contents: Staging the historical building structure in the appropriate architectural lighting scenarios. Improving citizens’ sense of security at night. Development of a light guidance system inspired by the unique motif of the city’s natural spring water. Development of identity-related “City Light Art” scenarios for the riverfront. The lighting concept for Bad Vilbel is the seventh lighting master plan that we have developed for a city, a city district or a local center in recent years. #lightingdesign #citymarketing #light #lightplanning #lightdesign #architecture #urbanplanning #sustainabledesign #sustainablecities #brandidentity #lightdesign

Lighting Concept of St. Joseph Church Dresden

Lighting Concept of St. Josef Church Dresden

Reconstruction and extension of St. Joseph parish center Dresden-Pieschen

St. Joseph’s Church (Architect Alexander Tandler) was consecrated in 1910 and is the first Art Nouveau reinforced concrete church in Dresden. The church was extensively rebuilt between 1970 and 1978 (Architect Hubert Paul). The sculptural work was carried out by Friedrich Press.

The current renovation includes the first floor as well as the first and second floors in the eastern part of the church building.
The lighting concept connects the various areas and uses of the community center, which is spread over three floors, with a common lighting language that enhances the architectural spaces and supports their flexible use by the congregation with energy-efficient lighting technologies.
The “light” spaces created offer a variety of lighting scenarios that optimally support the community in carrying out its secular and church activities, civic meetings, public and private events.

Planning areas:

  • Ground Floor: Meeting space, chapel / weekday chapel
  • 1st Floor: Conference rooms / seminar rooms / group rooms for music
  • 2nd Floor: Great hall under the historical vault

Client: Catholic Parish of St. Martin, Dresden

Architect: Matthias Klut Dipl.-Ing. Freier Architekt

Lighting planning/ Lighting design: Ruairí O’Brien . Lichtdesign

Completion: 2023

More about the project:

Read more here

Lighting concept “Light chain” 26er RING, Dresden

Lighting concept “Light chain” 26er RING, Dresden

As part of the Urbact project “USER”, and as part of the lighting concept for the 26er Ring, Ruairí O’Brien developed proposals for measures to reduce the separating effect of the railway viaduct as a break between the inner-city Dresden districts of Altstadt and Friedrichstadt using lighting design measures. In addition to the “dissolution” of the urban development barrier, the focus was on an attractive lighting design for the central traffic junction at Dresden-Mitte train station and increasing the safety of road users. Within several lighting concepts, the combination of flat, spatial and selective lighting effects were examined and corresponding proposals were developed. Client: City of Dresden Services: Light analysis / brainstorming / suggestions for measures

Marketplace Light Planning of the Old Cotton Mill in Flöha, Saxony, Germany

Marketplace Light Planning of the Old Cotton Mill in Flöha, Saxony, Germany

Construction begins Autumn 2023.

Flöha’s “Old Cotton” is a historical landmark that has played a significant role in shaping the region’s identity and economy for over two centuries. Established in 1809 during Napoleon’s time, the spinning mill evolved into one of Germany’s largest and most modern factories by the late 19th century. Although production ceased in 1994, the city of Flöha recognized the cultural and economic value of the brownfield site and launched the “City Center” project in 2001 to revitalize the area.

The name “Old Cotton” represents the rich legacy of Saxony’s oldest spinning mills, which operated continuously for an extended period. The Heritage Quarter holds a special place in the city’s history, and the iconic industrial architecture of the old cotton mills continues to define Flöha’s identity and image.

Moreover, the entire area, including the adjacent park and the industrialist’s villa “Immenhof,” enjoys monument protection. To support the city’s vision of developing the heritage buildings quarter of the old cotton mills as the new city center and market square, Ruairí O’Brien.Lichtdesign has created a unique lighting concept. This concept accentuates the beauty of the site and complements Flöha’s ambitious plans to create a vibrant cultural hub in the heart of the city.

Client: Stadt Flöha
Landscape architecture: Lohaus · Carl · Köhlmos Part GmbB landscape architects · urban planners
Lighting design: Ruairí O’Brien . Lighting Design

Old Cotton Mill in Floeha

Old Cotton Mill in Floeha

Lighting Concept for the old cotton mill in Floeha

Light towers project receives recognition award for the competition “Ab in die Mitte! Die City-Offensive Sachsen” 2022

Under the motto “Creative out of the crisis – rethinking the city center”, 34 project ideas for the revitalization of city centers were submitted by 33 municipalities. The award ceremony will take place at the Denkmal trade fair in Leipzig on 25.11.2022.

Ruairí O’Brien . Lichtdesign is developing the lighting concept for the old cotton mill in the city of Floeha and is accompanying the lighting design development of the new city center within the old cotton mill and its new marketplace. The project “Light towers” of the city of Floeha, which was created according to our lighting concept, received a recognition award worth 5,000 euros. Head of the building department Andre Stefan accepted the congratulations and the certificate from State Secretary Thomas Kralinski (SMWA).

Floeha’s project idea involves the interior lighting of the three towers on the “new building” by installing resource-saving LED lights. It is intended to be the first building block for the implementation of accent lighting and to contribute to making the cubature of the largest building complex in the old cotton mill appear in an intelligently timed manner in the early evening hours in order to lend the future center more attention as well as quality of stay and experience.

Here you can see our visualization of the competition entry “Light towers” of the city of Floeha 2022.

AMD / Xilinx Dresden, Offices and Laboratories

Office and Laboratory Cpace Xilinx Dresden / Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)

Interior design, color concept, lighting design

Fertigstellung der neuen Räumlichkeiten der Dresdner Niederlassung von AMD entsprechend dem Konzept für Licht und Farbe von Ruairí O’Brien.


  • Light for office spaces
  • Light for representative areas / reception area / reception desk
  • Light for conference / meeting rooms (telephone rooms, micro-meeting rooms)
  • Light for laboratory and development rooms / server rooms
  • Light for social areas (break rooms, kitchenettes, communication corners, bathrooms/toilets)
  • Traffic areas / corridors

With its simple and individually controllable lighting, our interior design and lighting concept supports the use of rooms with flexible use, e.g. in the work café, where individual work, all-hands meetings, group and team work or festive get-togethers take place.
A lighting concept for today’s modern working environments, tailored to the individual requirements of the individual areas as an ideal combination of standard-compliant lighting and discreet lighting design for a sense of well-being at the place of work. For a working environment that offers ideal working conditions and is a pleasure to spend time in.

Location: Annenhöfe Dresden, Germany (2022)
Architect: O+M Architekten GmbH BDA
Services: Interior design / color concept / lighting design
Client: Xilinx Dresden GmbH / Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Photos: Baldauf&Baldauf

Bauschulenstrasse design guide

Bauschulenstrasse design guide

Lively center Baumschulenstrasse-Köpenicker Landstrasse

The Integrated Urban Development Concept (ISEK) forms the basis for the development of the Baumschulenstrasse – Köpenicker Landstrasse area as part of the Living Centers and Quarters (LZQ) funding program. The aim is both to strengthen the district center around Baumschulenstrasse and to improve local supplies throughout the entire funding area. An attractive design of the public space and the existing buildings is a central component of an attractive commercial street, as is an appropriate external representation of the commercial businesses located in the ground floor zones. This design guide was developed to support local businesses and property owners in improving the appearance of their respective businesses and working towards a coordinated overall impression.

Lighting concept for the Mittelbau Dora concentration camp memorial site

Lighting concept for the Mittelbau Dora concentration camp memorial site

Part of the redesign concept for the didactic development of the tunnel complex

Competition entry, 3rd place

The lighting concept is an essential part of the competition entry “Points and Lines”, which consists of two elements: Information points and light lines for the paths between them.

The concept includes the didactic idea that the light lines guide the visitors and the information pillars (points) mark the individual stations.
The info pillars are light sculptures that represent gathering points where history is explained to visitors during guided tours.
The guiding light lines lead to these information points, provide the power supply and at the same time ensure optimal illumination of the space.

Both the design of the information modules and the lighting stand out clearly from the historical surroundings and thus convey a distance to the original structural environment. The historical rooms are viewed in the light of today, while the self-sufficient exhibition elements show the entire surrounding space.

We are pleased that our light-oriented exhibition concept was able to achieve an excellent third place in this competition with numerous renowned participants.

You can find the overall concept in detail here.

Meeting Rooms / Conference and Communication Areas AMD Dresden

AMD / Xilinx, Annenhoefe Dresden

Meeting Rooms / Conference and Communication Areas

Completion of the new premises of the Dresden branch of AMD according to the concept for light and color by Ruairí O’Brien.
Location: Annenhöfe Dresden, Germany (2022)
Architect: O+M Architekten GmbH BDA
Services: Interior design / color concept / lighting design
Client: Xilinx Dresden GmbH / Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
Photos: Baldauf&Baldauf

On the way in light 2022, Potsdam

On the way in light 2022, Potsdam

“Soundless Music”

On the road in the light. But safely!

On the third weekend in January, our LICHT composition “Soundless Music” was performed in Potsdam’s city centre. With the concept developed especially for “Unterwegs im Licht 2022”, Potsdam’s city centre was staged in a composition of colours during the evening hours, from Friday (21 January) to Monday (24 January), thus expressing the universal process of THERMODYNAMICS.

Beginning with blue tones on Friday, ending with red tones on Monday, the LIGHT composition worked with 18 buildings, each in turn with 24 light scenarios that harmonise and interact with each other to create an immersive walk through the “Gesamtkunstwerk” of public space, architecture, light and time.

Kicking off on Friday, the beauty of the cold winter months was celebrated in calm BLUE and INDIGO combinations, which gave way to the optimistic GREEN of spring on Saturday and were replaced by the WARM summer joy of YELLOW and ORANGE tones on Sunday. The dynamic process concluded on Monday with a more reflective backdrop of DARK RED, accompanied for the FINALE with lighting moods from all the MAIN COLOURS of the colour spectrum.

“We have not forgotten you”.

This LICHTKUNST action was linked to the intention of the state capital Potsdam to convey to its citizens and its cultural institutions that it has not forgotten the importance of CULTURE in the city and the relevance of all those active in the cultural scene, even in these difficult times. For all, this weekend celebrated the beauty of life and art in and with (light) culture.

The illumination was realised by the following partners: Landeshauptstadt Potsdam (organiser), P3 Projekt GmbH (organisation), Ruairí O’Brien . Lichtdesign (lighting concept), TLT Event AG (technical implementation)

Read more here

On the road in the light. But safely! – Potsdam Marketing und Service GmbH (

Photos 1,7: Alexander Rentsch

Photos 2-6,8: Peter Fischer

Lighting Design Concept Bahnhofstraße Lichtenrade, Berlin

Lighting concept Bahnhofstraße Lichtenrade

Lightwalk in Berlin

The planning of public lighting for the traffic areas (street) and secondary areas (pedestrian and recreational areas) is an essential part of our lighting concept for Bahnhofstraße Lichtenrade. The street and sidewalk lighting is coordinated with the superordinate lighting concept of the city of Berlin.

In addition to the use of light as a design tool to improve the appearance of public spaces and to increase the quality of stay in Bahnhofstrasse, lighting always serves first to ensure traffic safety. Uniform illuminance, an emphasis on conflict zones and the avoidance of disturbing light (glare) increase safety for road users and support the quality of stay in the urban space. The subspaces (microspaces) defined in the lighting master plan can optimally fulfill their function of structuring the public space, increasing attraction and dwell time even in the dark half of the day or year. Consideration was also given to the future redesign of the commercial street and the lowest possible maintenance and energy costs while optimally fulfilling the lighting task.

Illumination of the main avenue of the university hospital

Illumination of the main avenue of the university hospital

The lighting concept for the main avenue developed by Ruairí O’Brien is the first part of the associated development of the lighting master plan for the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital in Dresden. The new lighting creates a uniform and contemporary appearance with high-quality light that takes into account the individual requirements of the individual sections of the approximately 500m long main avenue of the clinic and the immediately adjacent areas. In conjunction with the redesign of the listed avenue, an attractive and forward-looking appearance is created.



“Tocame y te recito – Play me, I poetry you”

The photos show excerpts from the speech-light-sound performance TÓCAME Y TE RECITO – SPIEL MICH, ICH DICHTE DICH, with Ruairí O’Brien, at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden on 15th of September, 7.30 pm.
Based on texts by the Spanish poet Juan Carlos Valle “Karlotti” and poems by Itha K., spoken by Vanessa Vidal (Spain) and Juan Carlos Valle “Karlotti” (Spain), the musician Günter Heinz together with Ruairí O’Brien (Light Poetry) created a speech-sound-light performance of the highest intensity.

Photos: Peter Fischer



RUAIRÍ O’BRIEN. LICHTDESIGN. is a company of the architect and lighting designer Ruairí O’Brien, especially in the field of lighting design. One of its main focuses are concepts for interior design with light and color and the lighting of public places, streets, buildings and facades.

The services of RUAIRÍ O’BRIEN. LICHTDESIGN. include all facets of lighting design, from “phase zero”, through concept/design to realization. In addition, RUAIRÍ O’BRIEN. LICHTDESIGN. is also active in an advisory capacity for clients, architects, landscape architects or specialist planners.

Ruairí O’Brien studied architecture and lighting at universities in London, Edinburgh and New York and worked for various architectural firms in England, the USA and Germany before founding his own practice in Dresden in 1995
In 1995 he founded his own lighting design company Archevolucio Lighting Design Ltd. in London and Dresden. 2016 renamed RUAIRÍ O’BRIEN. LIGHT DESIGN.

O’Brien’s interdisciplinary work spans a broad spectrum: outdoor and indoor lighting for both private and public buildings. The illumination of marketplaces and public spaces, the development of lighting master plans and master plans, sustainable lighting concepts for the built environment, and unique lighting installations.

Ruairí O’Brien’s work in lighting design combines technology and design, science and art in theory and practice. To achieve special quality, technological understanding meets extensive knowledge and many years of experience in the fields of light, architecture and art. The resulting innovative solutions are energy-conscious, in keeping with today’s technology as well as the spirit of the times, yet always possess great respect for the cultural and heritage of the past.

Ruairí O’Brien has also worked on a variety of innovative light and light art projects, sculptures and installations. In 2003 he founded the light poetry festival “Light and Word” in Dresden.

As holder of an adjunct professorship in architecture and lighting at Wismar University of Applied Sciences, O’Brien was instrumental in establishing the international master’s program in Architectural Lighting Design (the first of its kind in Europe) as coordinator and helped the program achieve full accreditation in 2005. O’Brien regularly teaches at various universities in Germany and abroad, including the Czech Republic and Russia.

In 2014, Ruairí O’Brien founded the Mobile School of Lighting Design, a pioneering project that brings lighting design education and teaching to a global audience in an innovative and mobile way.

Ruairí OBrien is one of the founding members of the Federation of International Lighting Designers (FILD), established in 2014, and served on the board as vice president of the professional association until the end of 2018.

Since 2017, Ruairí O’Brien has been Associate Professor and Head of the Architecture and Visual Design Department at the German University in Cairo – GUC.
Memberships in Chambers and Associations: FILD (Federation of International Lighting Designers) MSLL (Society of Light and Lighting) LiTG (Deutsche Lichttechnische Gesellschaft e.V.) RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) AKS (Architektenkammer Sachsen), Board of Directors (2013 – 2017), Chairman Committee for Public Relations (2013 – 2017).

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On the way in light 2020, Potsdam

On the way in light 2020, Potsdam

Temporary event lighting Potsdamer Mitte

The images show excerpts from Ruairí O’Brien’s lighting composition for Potsdam Unterwegs im Licht 2020, including the Brandenburg State Parliament, the Nikolaikirche and the Filmmuseum Potsdam. “With an authentic concept, high-quality technology and a selective choice, you can achieve more in lighting design. To create poetic and exciting lighting atmospheres, you have to understand how time, space, materials, darkness and light can be brought together and how they can be set against each other.” Ruairí O’Brien


Read more here

Light concept Swanseaplatz Mannheim

Light concept Swanseaplatz Mannheim

Entry in the competition for the redesign of Swansea Square

Together with Huttereimann Landscape Architecture

Lighting scenes

  1. Early night hours (lighting plan at the top): full lighting level according to the programmed power as per the lighting concept.
  2. Late night hours (centre images): reduced, energy-saving lighting

By means of phase-controlled half-night switching (HNS), the luminaires are switched to reduced power operation (reduced luminous flux) during the night. This ensures a minimum lighting level to guarantee safety and orientation on the square. In areas without use or individual luminaires that primarily serve spatial modelling and atmosphere (e.g. at the “Schaukelwäldchen”), the lighting can be switched off completely in consultation with the City of Mannheim. Even in the late half of the night, the path area remains illuminated in such a way that the standard-compliant illuminance is maintained. Optionally, intelligent dynamic lighting control with radio-networked luminaires can be used to make the lighting dependent on use. To prevent vandalism and increase cleanliness and safety, the lighting in the kindergarten area is controlled by presence detectors.

Early night atmosphere

The downward light prevents a boring and monotonous lighting atmosphere and creates a lively carpet of light with nuances of light and dark. The luminaires can also set accents, e.g. grazing light on tree trunks without scattered light into the night sky. The tree-like shape of the selected luminaires matches the park landscape.

Late night atmosphere

According to the use, rear park areas are darkened, the path remains illuminated. The square is in darkness and only the main path is fully illuminated, for safety when crossing and for orientation.


Reduced illuminance levels and directed light from above at small half-scatter angles maximally reduce unwanted stray light and prevent unnecessary light pollution. The warm light colour of the luminaires in the square creates a stimulating and calm atmosphere. In addition, this lighting offers the highest possible level of insect and bird protection due to its low blue component. For optimal colour recognition and improved facial recognition, to increase safety and the subjective feeling of security, the area of the passageway and the café is illuminated with 3,000 K.

Obermarkt Freiberg

Obermarkt Freiberg

Lighting concept for the market square

The new market square lighting in Freiberg broke new ground in lighting design in urban development. The unique light poles, specially designed for the historic Obermarkt Freiberg, combine the technically functional object with the artistic light sculpture in their own duality.

Innovative technology meets contemporary architecture, art meets science. In addition to illuminating the market square in the evening, the light poles (reflector system) can also be individually controlled or dimmed depending on the need for use in the public space. During the day, dichroic glasses in the upper mast act in a solar-geometric play with the sun, immersing the market square in a subtle, lively play of colour. This work of light and architecture, tailor-made for the historic Obermarkt, is complemented by the illumination of the historic Otto fountain, the listed façade of the town hall, as well as the water features and the unique granite seating furniture, also designed for the Obermarkt, which invite visitors to linger on the prestigious market square.

The lighting of Freiberg’s Upper Market was nominated for elisa – the Energy Efficiency Award of Saxony 2014. With the nomination, the lighting of Freiberg’s Upper Market was distinguished by the expert jury as a practical example and highlighted as a multipliable, proven, sustainable as well as efficient example of Saxony or for Saxony as a corresponding incentive for energy-efficient solutions.