The Shine of Fotang Town – Regaining Historical Fragments

Not every city presents historical and cultural ambience at night, even though there are ancient buildings, because excellent historical and cultural heritages need professional lighting to emphasize and continue its spirit.The Regain of Historical Fragments, the Shine of Fotang Town

Every old house, apart from experience the erosion from wind and rain by years, manifests a memory of the past.  Lighting not only needs to spot on the tile roof, wall and window edges of the old house, but also brightens the heart of the person who walks into it.  Therefore, lighting is an important expression means to wake up memory in people’s mind.

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If there is no great scenery or famous temple in an ancient town, is it possible to renovate and transform a temple courtyard group into the center of the community and dominate the whole town? How should we signify a building carrier as the landmark to establish community concept and culture, so as  to enhance the image of the whole community and economy development?  To design and develop the ancient residential buildings as a complete, stereoscopic and colorful painting like “Commercial Port in Qing Dynasty” will definitely achieve an authentic culture namecard for Fotang old town.

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The bustle of the old Fotang truly emerges until the night falls.  According to the Yiwu Geography Records, numbers of masts stand along the 500-meter-riverside near the floating bridge every day. More than 500 boats (excluding various bamboo rafts) moor on the river under the surrounding cooking smoke.  And thousands of sailors come out for meals and lodgings.

Some Yiwu Tourism Officials say that people visiting the old town and meeting clients for business at night will attract more people to stay and lodge in Yiwu, thus understand more about Yiwu. Renovating the ancient buildings with refined design in an old town can evoke people’s wonderful memories.

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The lighting design renovation of the ancient residential buildings started from streets and old buildings.  In order to have a brand-new and pleasant experience for the public, we renovated the project by mixing some interesting subtle changes and trendy elements with the nostalgic atmosphere.  Moreover, the garden lamps, wall lamps and lanterns applied in this project were inspired from the ancient lamps of Yiwu for fully matching the surroundings of ancient residential buildings.  These lamps with visual beauty have become an indispensable part and outstanding symbol of the buildings, just like the role of brackets and gables in classical ancient buildings.

The Lighting of the Roads

To achieve the multipurpose of lighting, 10-meter-high multifunctional and integrated lamps, combining the use of spotlight, audio, camera and temporary electric point, have been installed over two sides of the main roads and reserved the loops and spots for projector installation in the future.  The light presents in warm and white color during daytime.  Based on the change of different seasons, projectors will be installed and cast various of colorful patterns, “Watermark” and different “images” during holidays and festivals. Meanwhile, some special symbols will be also spotted to identify the exclusive image of Yiwu.  Furthermore, some commercial logos can be projected for the promotion purpose and make the community become a powerful promotion tool, which is distinguish and refreshing to everyone.  And the rest of the roads have been installed with garden lamps to provide basic lighting.

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The Lighting Design Skill-set of the Ancient Buildings

The lighting design of ancient buildings needs certain criterion.  Designers want to design an appropriate lighting instead of walking the blurry line. More importantly, they need to pay full attention to those significant detailed elements of ancient buildings to characterize and prioritize, for the purpose of creating a restrained and comfortable lighting environment.

Traditional folk houses in Jiangnan region (the south bound of the midstream and downstream of Yangzhi River) is specialized on its own details and sentiment, such as corner pattern of white wall, gable wall, roof ridge, gate door and white wall.  Through different kinds of delicate design, the grumous ancient breath and charm can be sought back in time.  Besides, illusion of the audio-visual effects can be enhanced and various of visions and spirit of place can be built.  All these will increase the contrast between the modern city style and traditional style of Jiangnan folk houses.

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The corner pattern of white wall is the unique feature of the ancient Jiangnan residential buildings.  We captured this characteristic and customized slim-shape lamp based on the size of the patterns.  The gentle glow from the slim lamp shines the pattern and makes it more visible at night.  We have installed the line lamps on the roof ridge to develop a beautiful far-view vision. Moreover, the side wall have been equipped with small-size projector lamps, which aims to present the beautiful detail elements of ancient buildings.  Small-size line lamps have been installed over the roof with soft glory splashing on the gable side wall without people seeing the lamps.  Wall lamps with the symbol of “ancient residential buildings” have been installed on the gate to create a regional symbol. Tile down lamps have been put inside the corrugates to light up the roof and small-size project lamps have been installed to strengthen the structure of the ornament on roof ride.

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It is worth mentioning that some tops with special features of the doors, not suitable for installing lamps, will be lighted up by the project lamps combined with the garden lamps.  This will highlight the porcelain structural elements on the top of the doors.  The white wall lighting remains simply white and reserve electrical line, in order to provide more opportunities for the store owners to design in the future.

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Overlaying red lanterns into the dominant golden color creates a lantern imagery with a sense of form to set the night off.  This will make the ancient residential buildings more colorful and emotional at night than that in daytime.

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An outstanding night scene project will not only demonstrate the shine at night, but also present the concealment of lamps in the daytime. The excellent display of a night scene project needs to gain support from the owner, to develop suitable design from designers, and professional installation by the engineers.  And the most important thing is a perfect coordination among each party of the project.

Once again, the ancient residential buildings dress up its evening gown after sunset.  Nonetheless, it won’t spend the night in silence and quietness, instead, it waits in hope for its glory back again as the sun rises at the second day.

Ying Wang 2Ying Wang is a Lighting Designer from the Zhejiang Urban Construction Garden Designing Institute. She is Member of Asian Association of Lighting Designers.



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