Page 1

Want, like or need the lights? Switched on by Li Huiyuan.



Want, like or need the lights? Is a journal, dedicated to myself. “

My language is weak, but yeah… hope you get the points.”



I like light, I really do. However, I am not very sure why. My fascination for light begins almost around the same time I got addicted to shopping at Ikea. That was around my Secondary school period. By seventeen years old, I started buying cheap and pretty lights. A simple chain of star-shaped LED light is fitting enough for my standard of ‘pretty’. I wanted to own them, I am afraid I cannot find prettier light. After my Polytechnic years, market changed, or maybe I changed. Pretty lights seem to be everywhere. Pretty lampshades, pretty hanging lights, pretty night lights, too many. I stop wanting to own them, partly because I never used those that I had purchased. Do not get me wrong, lights still mesmerized me, and I still like light. During my first year in University, I stayed in school hostel. That is when I realized my night vision got really bad. Away from my family and loves one, I worked on school projects till late in the night. Those lights I purchased long ago finally came handy. They not only aid my poor night vision, but they kept me company. I never slept with night light before, but during that period, I really need those lights on some nights. So now, I am a third year Visual Communication student. The school system actually stated Product design ma jor core module as pre-requisite to take up DR3004 Designing with Light module, and I had to email the Product design faculty in order to get into it. There are many hesitations, and one main motivation – I am curious to learn about what I like. 4

I am really glad I took the module, as I had learned a lot, many of which I did not even noticed before. There are so much depth within that I have yet to understand, I just keep wishing I had more time to explore. Thus this journal will be my own starting point. Want, like or need the lights is a virtual diary of my thoughts and discoveries. It may not have a definite answer to whether I want, like or need the lights, but rather, it explains the significance of each light experience was to me. Through which, I get closer to understanding myself. Starting with projects kick started in DR3004, may the light never extinguish.

With lots of questions unanswered,

Huiyuan :)





Chapter 1: DR 3004


Talking About A Light Experience


Interpreting Light


Following The Sun In Its Path


Mid Autumn Festival


Trash Moon


Music Interpretation


Light Story: The Borrowers


CHAPTER 2: ---


Chapter 1: DR 3004 Designing with Light




CHAPTER 1: DR 3004

Talking About A Light Experience



Ion outdoor Christmas tree 2009/12 left: lomography camera right: Sony Erission Aino

Our very first task was to talk about a unique light experience we had. I used to have habit of taking photo as some sort of memories achieve, since I dislike writing. However I flipped through my albums, and realized I rarely attempt to capture light experience. It is registered in my brain as beyond my capabilities. In the end I manage to shortlist three, and finally decide on the 2009 Orchard Ion outdoor Christmas tree lighting. It was the first time I actually saw such a huge ornamented Christmas tree that visitor could go inside. The


number of bulbs they used was as thought as many as the stars on the sky! Covered with artificial pine leaves, the inside would be pitch darkness even in board daylight. Uncountable amount of fairies lights ambushing among the ‘leaves’. Numerous ornament balls, covered with reflective mirrors and surface, dangling from the middle of the tree, reflecting every glow that bounced on it. I remember it was very warm inside, from the high voltage it has been surrounded with.

about this were, first: the lightings were stunningly beautiful, second: the unexpected result capture on film.

The two main reasons I chose to talk

So above (minus the descriptive


It was my first analogue camera, and my first roll of film, an early Christmas present from someone special. I only know after I sent the roll for developing, that a film camera without flash, like the one I used, would not be able to capture image indoor, what more to say at night. Yet, the photo turns out to be pretty amazing, almost sci-fi like.

TALKING ABOUT A LIGHT experience words) was how I shared with the class. The feedback? There were questions on the light temperature, the intensity and how they affect my experiences. There are also comments on focusing on light experience instead of light in photography. I realized I focused too much on the photography result and neglected the experience. So I gave on-thespot replies. The lightings are white, blue and purplish, therefore on a cooler temperature. However the cool temperature could not cover up for the warm physical temperature cause by the high voltage consumption. Although the fairies lights are hidden among the artificial foliage, every visible glow is intense. The first things that caught visitors’ attention were also the blinding ornamental balls. The lights are so strong and contrasting to the dark foliage that it was almost hurting the eyes if you stared longer. Yet it was so immersive that visitors cannot help not admiring.

Ikea Glansa Stjarna light a.k.a. ‘chain of star-shaped LED light’. You might look for Ikea Kallt or Ikea Strala series, which is similar.

This sharing session also make me ponder on the word “experience”, how should I balance how I felt with what I knew? This lighting experience was clearly not only picked for its spectacular aesthetics appeal, but also the sense of luck it gave me, my lucky-strike photo on film. 14

Hand-copter with LED light a.k.a ‘$1 fun‘. Purchased from Ang Mo Kio Central street vendor. 2010/09/25

The chain of star-shaped LED light was one of my favorites, especially this batteries operated version. Each Led bulb was casted within star-shaped clear frosted acrylic, giving it a nice diffuse glow. The LED was warm in color. When the batteries were new, the light was intense. I hanged them on the wall beside my bed, and preferred to used weaken batteries for a subtle soft glow at night.

This is a hand-copter works using elastic band. The attached LED bulb made it look so much cooler at night. My experience with this toy was fondly remembered as a one time cheap thrill that I enjoyed together with the three generation in my family. With my dad trying to complete with the kids on who shot the highest, and my grandma sitting on the bench, watching the light soar into the sky and drop back on ground. 15


CHAPTER 1: DR 3004

Interpreting Light



The “Hanging glass lamp” at Zension Pte Ltd, 2013/08/30 30 Victoria Street, #02-03, CHIJMES, Singapore 187996 18

Our second task is to pick a light design or light related experience we had of recently and interpreted it in our own way. It could be a drawing, video or any media. This assignment makes me start seeking for light. School had only just started but I was busier then a bee. Luckily light festival is around the corner, I planned to pick a light from within. However, time was tight, I did not manage to really enjoy the festival, only manage to catch a few on my way to the museum. After the trip to see the light festival, I went to CHIJMES to meet an old friend of mine. In the end, I decided to do an interpretation of a charming hanging lamp in his office. The office was small and cozy, with cement wall finishing and exposed pipework. Limited windows, covered with curtain, even the corridor outside the windows was dimly lite, and thus it was pretty dark in the office. There


are three of such charming lamps hanging from the celling, however one of the bulbs was blown. Down the black cable was a yellow tinted glass container, in cylinder shape and an ending tip that look as if the glass is about to drip. The glow from the bulb was bright and concentrated, and it appeal to be contained within the glass covering. The glass reflected multiple subtle “crosses-of-glows”. The light from the bulb was warm in color, so does the light that diffuses into the ambience, yet those “crosses” reflected by the glass was cool in color. It is especially interesting that, some part of the glass are totally clear, while other part are brightly reflected by the light source. There was an unique contrasting quality going on. I tried to capture the hanging light using my iPhone. The result varies; some appeared very intense, while the other look weaker.

INTERPRETING LIGHT By the time I reach home and wash up, it was already 2a.m. plus. Like most people, I use social media platform such as Instagram, and especially enjoy their filters. So I uploaded a photo of the hanging glass lamp in ‘Willow’ filter, with a caption: “ 2:23am recalling my 5 years old kid. Like a small flickering light that warm up my heart.” I was a part-time teacher at an enrichment center, where I taught young children basic science and robotics through art and craft and Lego bricks. Those children I taught were all genuine and adorable, and they frequently warm my heart with their genuine gestures. The warmth from the lamp reminded me of the warmth from the kids, and the flickers was like those fleeting moment of surprises while dealing with kids, reoccurring but never quite sure the exact timing.

I decided on using pastel chalk as the medium of my interpretation. Pastel chalks have this soft texture that resemble the subtle and soft light that diffuses out from the core, into the ambience. I used five colors, white, pink, peach, blue and a little bit of yellow. Although the actual lamp shows no tint of pink at all, instead it is mostly yellow. I choose to replace yellow with a mixture of pink and peach color. The warm from the lamp was intoxicating. It made me felt airy instead of fuzzy. I am not sure how to explain that, but the glow from the lamp was captivating. Then again, it might be because it was close to midnight, or maybe because catching up session with my old friend is always light hearted.

“2:23am recalling my 5 years old kid. Like a small flickering light that warm up my heart.”

Food For Thought: When you grey-scale the lighting hue, the intensity of the light creates a different temperature too. Or maybe it’s the memories playing a trick on you. 20

The hanging glass lamp in pastel 2013/09/09



The hanging glass lamp in pastel 2013/09/09

“Oops, the scanner and Photoshop contrast added some specks to my interpretation. Nonetheless, it actually enhanced the feeling I wanted to convey. Captivating.�


Some other lighting that caught my attention:





A: Facades of CHIJMES hall B: Optic fiber light in Hai Di Lao Restaurant C: Installation at Clarke Quay below #D-02-04 D: Nanyang Technological University, school of Art, Design & Media, Illuminations exhibition



CHAPTER 1: DR 3004

Following The Sun In Its Path


Following the sun in its path

8:35pm, Yishun 11th Floor, Singapore 2013/09/12


8:35P.M. The only visible sunlight was reflected through the moon. The sky was dark, with few streaks of brown tinted clouds. The darkness from the sky brings out the lights of the urban city. The orangey yellow streetlights, the white lights from the HDB, a few red signaling lights above the high raised buildings, a few unknown cool lights, and some random 27

lights from signboard, television reflection, etc. Those dots of artificial lights look like stars from the sky. Shining so brilliantly that its array of colours was reflected on the “lower� sky.

Following the sun in its path The third task, we have to chase the sun, or in my case, the moon. I picked 8-9pm. It has been raining and cloudy during those few days. On 12 September, the weather seem to be much clearer, so I make sure I am not stuck within concrete jungle, or at least accessible to the sky during 8-9pm. I was rather eager about capturing the moment.

1:28 P.M. I reminded my friend to take photo, but since I was really exciting about this timelapse assignment, I grab my camera and went up to the 13th floor to take photo. It was very cloudy and slightly grey. It looks like it might rain later, yet the sunlight that leaks through the clouds is super strong. In one word, ‘confusing’. The light seems to be cool in temperature. 28

6:20 P.M. I just reach Yishun, the sun was waiting to ‘Knock-off’. The sun look very orange, especially when you compared it with the blue sky. I have a good feeling that the sunset would be beautiful, but I was busy rushing some work and could not admire the sunset. In comparison to 6:20p.m, 8:35p.m. look no some what mundane. Since it is made up of artificial lights, it will look similar everyday. 29

Following the sun in its path The next part of this assignment is a group project, making a light installation that represents our interpretation of time-lapse from 4-9p.m. Our group consist of Paul Koh, Paul Tan, Kong Wen Yi, Justin Low and me! Our time range has dramatic changes, from nature sunlight to insignificant traces of moonlight. These five hours could be very fast to some people or very slow to others. We decided to focus on the sensation of changes. We kept only the basic essences of the light of each specific hour, and paying more attention to expressing changes through our installation.

“Oh! I saw this book is school library, look relevant and interest! Should keep it in view till school holiday! (Rhythms of Life: The Biological Clocks that Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing)”

Qualities of each hour we decided to retain: 4 – 5 P.M:

Cool light

5 – 6 P.M:

Transiting light, no obvious temperature

6 – 7 P.M:

Warm light (Missing sunset)

7 – 8 P.M:

Darkness with artificial light.

8 – 9 P.M:

Specks of artificial light.


The Sunset None of our group members manage to capture sunset in the first part of the assignment, so we settle we the most common sunset lighting, warm, with hue of red, orange, yellow against the blue sky.

REFERENCES So we are kind of inspired by moving pictures, such as the reel film or the Zoetrope.

Example of Zoetrope Spinning image wheel sketch by me. THE PLAN We decided to follow Paul Tan’s plan of making a reel of image, and pull it through our “film box”. The Rhino light will shine from the back of the box, casting the image projection onto the screen. As this is a manual operate film reel. The speed of the reel can be control by the audience, and they can decide the pace they wanted to experience. Paul Tan had also picked a complimenting music piece that express changes. Prior to execution, we tried different way of interpreting, such as a jar that transits our time-lapse from top to bottom. With blue filter on the top, to black paper at the bottom, with holes that allow light to leak out. 31

Moving image box sketch by Paul Tan.

We also experiment with the diffusing quality of different papers, the focus length of the projection, and the textures projected through filters.

Following the sun in its path

4:00p.m – 5:00p.m


5:00p.m – 6:00p.m



7:30p.m – 9:00p.m

The end result was satisfying, better then I expected. Despite the rush timing, we manage to complete it in time. The “line” in-between panels could not be seen at all, hence we mange to have a very smooth transition. The last panel was especially stunning. We just keep piercing holes, enlarging some while keeping some tiny, after which we overlay with blue, yellow or orange cellophane papers. It really resembles the city lights from bird eye view. It was created a contrasting feeling from the previous subtle and soft lighting.


Following the sun in its path



Following the sun in its path EXECUTION







G 36

Photographs by Paul Tan.



The “film box”.


Placing the Rhino light


The image sequence and qualities of light


Adding texture to light


Justin sticking the transition panel


Wen Yi piercing holes for artificial light


The reel of images

Everyone was very busy, but the teamwork was good. We did not really choose what we wanted to do, but rather we just pick whatever that needs to be done and get them done. Some trim filters, while some tape panels. Some paste textures, while some pierce papers.


“Anyway, the Rhino light fascinate me! It is like a giant torch light, a very powerful one. To the right is a teaser I made with Rhino light”

“Click To Preview!”



CHAPTER 1: DR 3004

Mid Autumn Festival




Chinatown 2013/09/18


The fourth assignment was to visit the light display for Mid Autumn Festival in Chinatown. We went as almost a whole class. However to my disappointment, this year light display was... nothing. Beside the rows of lanterns hanged above the road and street, I could not find any other fancy or unique light display. I remember previous years were so much better. We walk almost the whole of Chinatown and then all the way to Clarke Quay. What we noticed was despite Mid Autumn Festival origin was based on myths, legends or traditions that revolved around the full moon, in current context, the moon was neglected. It was just hanging quietly, high up in one corner of the sky, its view obstructed by various infrastructures most of the time.


There was not much of an atmosphere. The lanterns in the picture above, I remember they were there all year round. Each lantern is lite by a single LED bulb. Batteries operated lantern was nothing new. Fancy material, music and melody, all those were not new either, but what caught my interest is this candle-size multi-colored LED bulb, that you could fit in traditional lantern such as those papers or cellophanes one. It was $2.50 per “candle”, so the buying urge act up again. I do not really have any intention for it, but it just look “nice to play” with.

Red 42



Photo by Justin Low 2013/09/18

Using a paper lampshade Cai Wei Jie taught me few months ago, I took a video of my new toy.

“Click To Preview!” 43


CHAPTER 1: DR 3004

Trash Moon




So last lesson during the Chinatown visit discussion I was absent, despite friends updating me on what was going on, till now I am still not quite sure what have I missed out on. I only knew, there was a second part to the moon project, and the group I belong. Shortly after, Frithiof Djerf created a Facebook group and we started to discuss on what we are going to do.

Notes from Frithiof Djerf regarding last lesson discussion :

Freshly completed “Moon” 2013/10/17 47

Keywords Light Project:

Light scene keywords:

• Fertility • Moon (pregnant) • Lights • Harvest • Seasons • Lanterns • Gatherings • Mooncakes • Sound, ambience • Legend • Share • Nature • Textures, materials • Sparklers • Tradition • Family • Tourist attraction • Lanterns • Reflections • Kongming lantern (flygande) • flying • wishes

• Lantern • Moon • Lights • Material • Textures • Float • Covering • Eclipse

Express and convey: moon (paper trash model cause no one bothers about the trash neither the moon, or something everyone takes for granted) Lantern

Target: Children at the museum

TRASH MOON So our group agreed on drawing the similarity between trash and moon. At a very early stage we are already picturing the end result. We are keen on portraying a ball of trash as the moon, as we see the similar neglect we have for trash and that for moon. We felt that our neglects was due to us been frequently bombarded with artificial lights, So from there we researched on trash and sphere.

Real Life is Rubbish, 2002 British-born and -based artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster skilfully skirt the boundaries between beauty and the shadowier aspects of humanity, playing with our perceptions as well as our notions of taste. Many of their most notable pieces are made from piles of rubbish, with light projected against them to create a shadow image entirely different to that seen when looking directly at the deliberately disguised pile.


Dirty White Trash (With Gulls), 1998 One of Webster and Noble’s earliest trash-based pieces. Six months’ worth of household waste plus a pair of dead seagulls comprise the heap of refuse. It’s no accident that it took the couple a further six months to make the piece, during which time they were eating and consuming – as you do. On the wall, the shadow figure selfportraits of the artists take a break with a cigarette and a glass of wine.

Messy Sketches

Sketch with ideas such as a pull string, dimmable lamp. A floor lamp that cast shadow around the area. Notes on nature versus artificial light, Moon versus trash. etc. Imagine references (posted by Cai Wei Jie)

After much discussion and brainstorming, we decided to question how do you view the moon?

“ Moon is no longer significant as a source of light “

A ball of trash, made using tissue like material. 49

TRASH MOON Some Thoughts ARTIFICIAL: Artificial light, current ways of celebrating mid autumn. How we only see what is obvious, surface and ‘special’, some physiological play. NATURAL LIGHT Nature light, in the form of paper trash ball. Paper as a material to shape into moon, symbolises the traditional way of celebrating mid autumn paper lantern. Paper is also a nature material. Paper as trash, represent Neglect. Our neglect for moon, which is always there, not “special”, draw a similarity with our neglect for trash.

‘Special’/ physiological play. A form of “control”. Alter the appreciation of lights, be it nature or artificial. What’s always there seem to be taken for granted, while what’s only there for a specific period tend to be considered ‘rare’, and thus more appreciation. Like the artificial lights that were specially put up, for a limited time frame, out shine the pretty moon that was always there. This can be control with dimmer, timer etc. need to try if it works. Yup yup

The main image that directed us. A photo captured by Cai Wei Jie while his bus passes by Chinatown. He said he did not realize what was those initially, it was after a closer look then he realize those was the lanterns hang across the road a few days ago.

In A World Of Consumers We are all aware of how short lifespan of an object can be in current consumerism world. How about the moon? Something that cannot be reproduce, should it be treasure more? 50

Inspirations (Posted by Cai Wei Jie)

First Presentation After the first presentation, we realize we were a bit aggressive. Focusing too much on moon was neglected, and unable to tell why is that bad? So Vel suggest us to think about what is the moon to us?

What’s does the moon in present context means to you? It’s definitely not as a main source of light right?

While we are not quite sure of the meaning to moon to us, we decided to proceed on the making of the Moon, since we are pretty sure of how it should look like.


TRASH MOON Exploration Looking into the material qualities, the light diffusion and the texture it create.


“LED Silicon Timer Light: Dim and relaxed lighting creates the mood for this cold season! Muji LED Silicon Timer Light is made with water resistance, soft silicon as the outer material hence it it safe for children around the house! Comes equip with buid in energy saving LED lights, it can be controlled by either on/off or a timer function for 30 or 60 minutes which allows the light to be gradually dims until it turns off. SGD$79.00” “SO SMART! MUJI has done it again!”

Notes jotted down by Pek Shun Ping






TRASH MOON Our Site On the day we pick our site, the sky was clear and the moon was obvious. It was planned that from the chosen classroom. Audience we be able to see our “Trash moon� and as the actual moon in the background. Thus enable them to compare directly. Our installation will also cast a reflection of the water below it. It was expected that the glass panel around the school might have reflection of our moon too. So the moon will be omnipresence. It is a pity that on actually presentation the moon was covered by clouds.








“Click To Preview!”



CHAPTER 1: DR 3004

Music Interpretation


Music Interpretation

“Click To Listen!” 64


Music Interpretation

“Click To Listen!” 66



CHAPTER 1: DR 3004

The Borrowers


THE BORROWERS The Borrowers The Miniature Community The Borrowers is a the children’s novel by author Mary Norton.

The Story Plot •

It features a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of an English house and “borrow” from the big people in order to survive.

The primary cause of trouble and source of plot is the interaction between the minuscule Borrowers and the “human beans”, whether the human motives are kind or selfish.

The main character is teenage Arrietty, who often begins relationships with Big People that have chaotic effects on the lives of herself and her family, causing her parents to react with fear and worry.


Interaction between the minuscule Borrowers and the “human beans”


THE BORROWERS Screen Adaptation There have been several screen adaptations of The Borrowers: •

The Borrowers: a 1973 American made-for-TV movie in the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

The Borrowers: a 1992 BBC TV series and its 1993 sequel The Return of the Borrowers, both starring Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton.

The Borrowers: a 1997 film with a British/American cast including Tom Felton, John Goodman, Jim Broadbent, Celia Imrie and Mark Williams.

Arrietty: a 2010 Japanese animated film from Studio Ghibli, known as The Secret World of Arrietty in North America.

The Borrowers: a 2011 BBC production starring Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood, and Christopher Eccleston.

The Borrowers (2011) The Borrowers are four-inch high “little people” who live under the floorboards.


The Borrowers (1997) A secret family of fourinch people living inside the walls of a house must save their home from an evil real estate developer.



The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered. people� who live under the floorboards.



The Initiate Concept •

Things always go missing

Even if you are very sure of where you placed them.

Something you suspect whether it could be “stolen”, maybe by tiny people, in the middle of the night.

Do you believe in the Borrowers?

After weeks of ambushing, we finally found evidence that appear to prove our guess might be right.

We found our missing belongings.

In what seems like a miniature house.

So if you are willing to keep this a secret, we will share with you our findings.

The miniature community – The Borrowers Base.



We are looking for something... It has gone missing for sometime. We are quite sure it is suppose to be there, but it is not anymore. After searching high & low, we suspects it must be inside, a place where we could not access, it is too tiny. So we designed a spy car, and we are going to hunt it.


By Jeremy Chou & Li Huiyuan



The Final Twist Jeremy and I decided to turn the whole installation to some sort of game play. An experience that hope could bring out the curiosity and imagination we once all have. By forcing visitors to look through “windows” that were very low, a perspective that will change how we perceive normal day objects – the worm eye view. With pulsing light of assorted colors, some time you see it, some time you do not. We hope to create a sense of suspend and mystery. 78

The darkness was a factor of unknown. With lights we start to see things or maybe imagine things. Our lights in this installation functioned not just to aid visitor to see the objects, but to simulate imagination. Visitor can chose to see the live stream from the video camera that was mounted on the remote control cars, or they could just watch it live from the tiny windows. An extension from our inspiration, the Borrowers novel, this installation continues the story of things going missing and where do they go? The next time you lose you stuff again, maybe someone else have taken them? Someone else who might be very tiny.










“Click To Preview!” 85

Chapter 2: --To Be Continued



Bzzz 88

Want, Like or Need the Lights?  
Want, Like or Need the Lights?  

Designing with lights journey v2 is a personal journal