ILI Open Light

Presentation OPENLIGHT lab during Beijing Design Week, China – September 2011

The Intelligent Lighting Institute (ILI) in Eindhoven studies the interaction between people and light in buildings, built-up areas, art and health. OPENLIGHT is the creative lab where young researchers in different disciplines develop experimental propositions. OPENLIGHT is part of the ILI, where six faculties of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) cooperate. Their dream is to broaden the areas of application of light.

The director of ILI requested my involvement in the activities of ILI OPENLIGHT in China during the Beijing Design Week in September 2011. As a link in the chain in the public-private playing field with five other Dutch parties involved in Design Week because of my experience with the collaboration structure and partners in the Brainport region. OPENLIGHT presented three light experiences in large industrial cylinders at the Art grounds in Beijing. The other Dutch parties were involved in the exhibition Liberation of Light, a conference day with focus on LED applications in design and architecture and a Dutch trade delegation. This in close collaboration with the Design Cooperation Brainport, Yksi Design and Dutch DFA.

OPENLIGHT showed how light solutions can help tackle pressing social issues in Beijing. OPENLIGHT employees and postdoctorate designers didn’t meet their team members, students and employees of the renowned in Tsinghua University until they arrived in China. The team spent two days and nights with Beijing residents to gain insight into the problems and social situations in the metropolis. The team processed these insights by developing a series of light interventions in three large cylinders. Mayor Van Gijzel of Eindhoven opened the exhibition. The Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV filmed in the cylinders at the Art grounds in Beijing.

During the preparatory months, I made contact with all of the stakeholders to position ILI and strengthen relationships. I came up with the story line, wrote a press release, and received permission to print an article in the newspaper ‘Bedrijvig Brabant’. I used the opportunity to mention that OPENLIGHT was looking for commercial orders. I built up a relationship with TU/e and management at Philips, wrote simple blogs during my stay in Beijing (, and coached Chinese and Dutch students on communicating their project to Chinese visitors.

If you’re interested, you can find out more about the  Intelligent Light Institute.

Interesting lesson: An innovative organization doesn’t have the power to position itself without the help of its external network, which also plays an important role in defining the budget.

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