01.10.15 #NOHL

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh


Site Location: Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

Name: Malcolm Innes MSLL

Tell us about yourself, Malcolm:

Although I have been a member of SLL for around 12 months, I have been a practicing lighting designer for around 24 years. Having been fascinated by light as a creative medium whilst at art college, I did a bit of live performance and theatre lighting before joining Kevan Shaw Lighting Design (KSLD) and discovering architectural lighting design. Five years at KSLD and another seven at Speirs + Major covered a huge range of projects from the very tiny to the frighteningly huge. Working as part of a fantastically creative team at Speirs + Major, my project portfolio includes The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, Copenhagen Opera House and Terminal 2 at Madrid Barajas Airport.

I set up my own practice in 2005 and also began teaching lighting one day a week to undergraduate students at Edinburgh Napier University. That relationship has developed into a full time job and I now work as a Senior Lecturer and Reader in Lighting Design. This involves teaching on our undergraduate courses and our MDes Lighting Design programme, along with supervision of PhD students researching lighting and projection topics. Alongside this, I am working on several knowledge exchange and research projects with clients like Historic Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage Trust. My university position has also allowed me the opportunity to explore some of the physical and psychological effects of lighting that I discovered through my work in practice. This has often been focussed on my particular interest in museum and gallery lighting and the human perception of brightness at low light levels.

What are your plans for your NoHL site?

The site seemed like an easy choice as we are already working on a research project with Edinburgh World Heritage Trust to explore innovative new ways to use community co-design to re-light the Closes (narrow pedestrian vennels or alleyways) that lead of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile. However it will be very testing as we do not have one large site, but lots of very small sites that are largely hidden from view. Our challenge is to take these hidden, but archetypal, elements of the World Heritage Site and reveal them in a creative way.

Because we are working in a very busy street, our lighting solutions will have to be ‘creative' and will require quite a few hands to make it all work as a synchronised whole. But we are looking forward to the challenge. The nature of the site means tha there may need to a lot of battery powered light sources (lets call them ‘torches'), along with a lot of flexible and adjustable lighting stands (lets call them 'people’). We are hoping to work with some photography students from the university to document the fun/chaos that ensues.