YEAR | 2019-2021
LOCATION | Abha, Aseer, KSA
ROLE | Conceptor + Set Designer + Lighting Designer + Lighting Operator
ABOUT | An Archeo-tainment strategy

The project started in 2019 by appointment of the Saudi Government, and was part of the larger national program Vision 2030. The location is a small heritage village called Al Basta located in Abha, the capital of the southern region of Aseer.

The challange was to step beyond the conceptual idea of a lighting plan and create instead a lighting strategy, for which Patrizia and Walter coined the new terminology Archeo-Tainment. In fact, as their design blueprint, they approached the task pointing from the start to a spectacular and unique lighting scenario, one that could espress holistically the whole identity of the place and be imprinted in the imaginarium of the observer.

One of the clues about this operation is the preliminary accurate study of the Arabian culture, in particular the one held by the local community. By using the interview technique set up by Prof. Kevin Lynch, Patrizia has been able to retrieve many aspects of that culture and ancient facts, some of them hidden to the common knowledge, that became the base elements for the design concept. Going deep into the narrations of the elder members of the community was literally an enlighting experience.
A particular attention was dedicated to the religious aspect as one of the strongest legacy of the Islamic world. The ability to manage the light dynamically combined with the particular conceptual base has given birth to a nocturnal environment perfectly integrated into the everyday life of Al Basta, which is still inhabited by a few family groups.

Given the complexity of such a lighting masterplan, from a technical design point of view the project has expressed all the advantages of the managing aspects such as parameter control and pre-visualisation tools, the special lighting devices – the Urban Jewels – simultaneously integrated in the general plan, ensuring realist ouctcomes and much more thanks to a sofisticated BIM, Vectorworks, which wanted to organise a webinar about the project, which you can enjoy here.

Unfortunately the project has been stopped in 2021, when PHOTONIKA had already completed the whole executive design.

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