Unterwegs im Licht 2022, Potsdam

On the way in light, Postdam

„Soundless Music”

On 3rd Weekend in 2022, from 21st to 24th of January, our “Soundless Music” LIGHT concept was presented in the City of Potsdam.

Starting Friday and ending Monday we had developed a lighting concept that set the city each evening in a color composition that expresses in “Soundless Music” the universal process of THERMODYNAMICS.

Beginning with BLUES on Friday and ending with the REDS on Monday, the LIGHT composition created for the city center worked with 18 buildings, each with 24 light scenarios that harmonize and play off each other to generate an immersive walk through “Gesamtkunstwerk” of public space, architecture, light and time.

Starting Friday, the Beauty of the COLD Winter months was celebrated in Serene BLUES and INDIGOS, which gave way to the Optimistic Greens of Spring on Saturday and were followed on Sunday by the WARM Summer Joy of Yellows and Oranges, the dynamic process closes on Monday with the Thoughtful setting of dark Reds partnered by the full color spectrum.

“Wir haben Euch nicht vergessen” / “We haven’t forgotten you”.

In these difficult times and with this LIGHT ART action, the City of Potsdam communicated to its citizens and their cultural institutions that they had not forgotten the importance of CULTURE in the City and the importance of all who work in the cultural scene.

WE celebrated for all the beauty of life and art in (Licht) Culture this weekend.    

The LIGHT composition  was realized by:

City of Potsdam (organizer), P3 Projekt GmbH (organization), Ruairí O’Brien . Lichtdesign (lighting concept), TLT Event AG (technical implementation)



Unterwegs im Licht. Aber sicher! – Potsdam Marketing und Service GmbH (potsdamtourismus.de)




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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Potsdam On the way in light

On the way in light, Postdam

Temporary event lighting Potsdamer Mitte

The images show excerpts from Ruairí O’Brien’s lighting composition for Potsdam Unterwegs im Licht 2020, featuring the Brandenburg State Parliament, Nikolaikirche Church and Filmmuseum Potsdam, among others. “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

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.

Upper market Freiberg

Upper market Freiberg

Lighting concept for the marketplace lighting

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

Innovative technology meets contemporary architecture, art meets science here. In addition to illuminating the marketplace 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 marketplace in a subtle, vibrant play of color. The light-architectural work of art tailor-made for the historic Obermarkt is completed 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 the Obermarkt Freiberg was nominated for elisa – the Energy Efficiency Award Saxony 2014. With the nomination, the lighting of the Obermarkt Freiberg 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.

Hotel Bellevue

Hotel The Westin Bellevue Dresden

Lighting conference / banquet area

The goal was to convert to LED luminaires, replacing the existing lighting while retaining the luminaire locations. New LED ceiling downlights in warm white and cool white light replace the old luminaires with compact fluorescent lamps. They can be controlled in different lighting scenes depending on their use (whether a conference or an evening event).

The ceiling downlights in three different sizes, which were planned to match the interior design, blend in perfectly with the redesign of the rooms and ensure high lighting quality. At the same time, the new luminaires consume only about ¼ of the energy previously required. The maintenance effort can also be significantly reduced, as the previously frequent replacement of lamps will no longer be necessary in the future due to the long operating life of the LED luminaires.

The traditional Dresden hotel will receive a contemporary new lighting system that best supports its character as a modern conference and convention center as well as an event venue, both functionally and in terms of design.

Stadtspeicher Jena

Hologram facade daylight, city store Jena

Light sculpture of the city store of Jena

Approved as a work of art, the hologram facade is a 16-meter-high, walkable day+night light sculpture. Different types of glass represent the identity and history of the city of Jena and at the same time make it possible to experience the valuable building in the interior as well as the surrounding exterior space, protect and at the same time show many details important for the preservation of historical monuments.

Pirna Sonnenstein

High-rise residential buildings Pirna Sonnenstein

Lighting concept for the corridor areas

Within the measures for redesigning the public corridor areas, we developed an individual, attractive and energy-efficient lighting concept that generally increases the quality of stay and also takes into account the needs of older residents in particular.
Square surface-mounted luminaires with neutral white light illuminate the corridor area, ensure low shadow casting and very good facial recognition. Individual spots with warm white light above the apartment doors mark the entrances and serve as permanent lighting for orientation and safety. At the end of the long windowless corridors, an illuminated wall motif provides a special focal point. Through the interplay of the various elements, materials, colors and lighting moods, an attractive positive overall image was created in the public high-rise areas where people meet, whose optimistic basic mood welcomes residents and visitors.

House of architects, Dresden

House of architects, Dresden

Facade lighting seat Chamber of Architects Saxony

For the House of Architects in Dresden, headquarters of the Saxony Chamber of Architects, Ruairí O`Brien developed an appropriate and sophisticated permanent architectural lighting incorporating architectural elements on the building. The row of trees in front of the house shines in warm white, the vertical elements of the facade are illuminated with a subtle cooler light, and can also be illuminated in color for special occasions.

Memorial grove Zeithain

Exhibition lighting memorial Ehrenhain, Zeithain

With the literal planting of a new architectural-thematic heart, the “Walk-in Showcase” as a micro-architectural implantation in the historical RAD barracks preserved from the former Zeithain prisoner-of-war camp, the bridge between (structural) past and present is successfully built.
This glass building, a microclimatic soundproof object, thematizes not only time but also space in a special way and, as a time capsule in a place with a special auratic effect, creates a deliberate irritation that sensitizes the visitor to the exhibition theme. In the document house the visitor has the possibility to work on the offered thematic focal points in the operable micro-architectural information sculptures, which are executed in the same exhibition language, by himself, whereby new visual axes are offered again and again and an intensive reference to the content material is created with light/ mirrors.