Section 1: Overall Concept
Gardens by the bay” is the latest addition to ever-evolving the city state Singapore’s cityscape comprises three distinctive waterfront gardens with Bay South, the first and largest of the 3 Gardens, at 54 hectares opened to the public on 29th June. Bay South includes two colossal glass enclosed glasshouses as well as a cluster of 18 distinctively shaped structures of various sizes called “SuperTrees” that immediately became new icons in Singapore.
This is the fruition of Singapore’s vision for creating “Gardens City” or rather, “ City in a Garden” , National Parks Board launched an international design competition for the design of the Masterplan in January 2006 to invite top talents from around the world to participate in the creation of the most distinctive gardens in the tropical belt. Grant associates and Gustafson Porter were awarded the Masterplan design for the Bay South and Bay East Gardens respectively.
Once the local consultants for the Bay South were on board, the client also invited few international lighting consultants including ourselves to bid for the lighting design of the garden, and we were awarded to work on the project. As it is a new form of outdoor entertainment and leisure, and we sought to underline the concept “entertainment with organic lighting”.
We thought entertaining the public with organic and eco-friendly lighting will be a crucial element of future lighting design. Even today, the excessive consumption of energy in the service of entertainment is no longer considered viable; a more friendly approach is essential from both a consumer and environmental perspective.
For this reason, while the lighting at Gardens by the bay should entertain visitors – it must be done with “organic light” in playful harmony with the garden’s greenery, water, and other natural scenery. With this in mind, we came up with the four main concepts:
- Favors lighting that dramatizes shadow and eschews excessive lighting;
- Gently engages garden visitors with interactive light;
- Harmonizes light with the garden’s greenery, water, and wind;
- Creates an environment that helps visitors feel the spirit of the living forest.
Such a light environment requires sustainable lighting fixtures as well as sensors and light modulation and programming technology capable of subtle changes in color and intensity. By faithfully applying these criteria to our design we sought to create an environment in which garden visitors feel the living vitality of nature around them.
Light fixtures that are fundamentally for nighttime must not interfere with the landscape during the day. Light fixtures need to be concealed and integrated within the architecture and the landscape as much as possible. The light, itself, should be used to emphasize the concept and uniqueness of the landscape design.
This is an A0-size sketch produced in the concept stage that illustrates an overall lighting image for Gardens by the Bay. Although each area has its own characteristics and style, they are all connected by common underlying concepts, principles, and lighting elements, thus forming a coherent vision on the whole and creating a highly sophisticated and exciting nightscape. As LPA examined the overall lighting image of Gardens by the Bay, the guidelines for the masterplan were analyzed individually.
This is a hand sketched section drawing to study site-wide lighting strategies. Focal points and hierarchy of lighting intensity through the gardens were examined.
Section 2: Cooled Conservatories: Flower Dome and Cloud Forest
To house temperate and tropical plants in especially created temperature and humidity conditions, these giant biomes glow with a soft light from within. This soft light is due to the lighting up of the flower fields and the misty mountain in the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest respectively. Soft shades of color, with varying levels of transparency are also experienced when visitors enter the huge singular spaces.
For the exteriors, a soft grazing light along the ribs of the conservatory facades highlights the profile of the structures. The light is brighter towards the North side along the Marathon route, and is a gentle wash on the South side to avoid competing with the Main Garden lighting experience.
The large biome at 1.2 hectares (approximately 2.2 football fields) is 38m in height. The glass dome is designed to suit the large field of the plants from Mediterranean region, a variety of planting from South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy. At flower field, the lighting as been used to create thrilling forms of night entertainment and interactive with the wandering visitors.
The light that guide us to discover the exotic plants from central Chile, on the west coast of South American Garden. The comfortable nighttime environment creates a beautiful contrast and rhythmical nightscape.
The dialogue of light and shadow emphasize on Baobabs and Bottle trees, the gigantic trees from continental Africa and Madagascar. The connection of light and natural element creates an exciting landscape when the night falls.
The other biome – the smaller but taller Cloud forest – is 0.8 hectares (approximately 1.5 football fields) and 58m high. The cool moist conservatory simulates the climate of tropical highlands, covered with the plants from Tropical Montane regions between 1,000 and 3,500 meters above sea level, up to latitudes of 26 degrees north and south of the Equator.
The light that reveals the power of water (35m tall man-made mountain with waterfall) will treat visitor as a first glance.
From the lower walkway, the field of vision open up to a mountain which are planted with a mixture of fern and colorful plants, lighting is gently illuminate the fresh green and flower and the same time create the natural combination of light and shadow.
Further into the conservatory interiors, the Interpretative Media spaces are dark spaces with lighting focused on the media display about the gardens. Lighting is interactive and focused on the multimedia experience.
Lighting in the foreground illuminates the handrail along the walkway. The soft level of light and mist gradually washes and reveals the mountain in the distance.
Section 3: Supertrees
Designed by Grant Associates the Supertrees are unique vertical gardens ranging from 25 to 50 metres in height (equivalent to 9 to 16 storeys), with emphasis placed on the vertical display of tropical flowering climbers, epiphytes and ferns. In the day the Supertrees’ large canopies provide shade and shelter. At night, the Supertrees come alive with lighting created by LPA.
In the middle of this tropical forest, stands a grove of peculiarly tall Supertrees. The massive scale of these trees creates a canopy over the forest floor below, as they appear to be the only existence of life around. We can sense something surreal in the air, like the spirit of the forest is thriving within these trees. As if they have a will of their own and are trying to communicate a message to us. Their simple message, we are all part of the same earth, living organisms living together is a profound realization. They continue to stand tall, for an eternity, watching human activity and the history of life, as a silent protector of the future of this planet. Six different lighting elements have been blended and programmed to create a story using sound and light.
There are a total of 18 Supertrees. Out of the 18 Supertrees, 12 are situated in the Supertree Grove while the remaining 6 are placed in clusters of threes near the Arrival Square and Dragonfly Lake. All the lighting fixtures on 18 Supertrees are controlled through a centralized intelligent control system that makes it possible to create dynamic lighting scenes. The vertical planting displays are effectively lit up with metal halide projector with 250W lamp located around the base of each Supertree. The coloured lighting of the membrane above the vertical planting is programmed to keep changing slowly and mysteriously and show different colour schemes over the course of a night.
Section 4: Main Gardens
Apart from the large architectural structures, the rest of the gardens are also full of special lighting installations. A variety of lighting techniques are featured to reinforce the landscaping character of each of the 10 Themed Gardens and other areas.
The pathway connecting Themed Gardens through The World of Plants where the tallest trees are planted to create a forest-like feeling, spotlights mounted on 10m pole hidden within the trees project light through the tree branches. These paths do not need fixtures or any ornate lighting effects, just simple glimpse of what might be moonlight in between overgrown thickets.
In Fruits and Flowers garden, inground linear light washes the large interpretive walls that enclose the garden.
Characteristic design of the landscape elements such as canopies, benches and handrails created by the landscape architect is reinforced by the lighting that is fully integrated in the landscape elements.
Pathways are generally lit with low height bollard lights which are specially designed for the project. The design languages are derived from the landscape elements such the aerial root structure and characteristic graphical patterns. A curved bollard that equipped with 4.8W LED lamp provides lighting for steps. The lantern with the iconic graphic is designed to project shadow pattern onto the path.