Date: September, 2004
Program: City Tour, Symposium
Venue: Freie Akademie der Kunste
It was the beginnings of autumn in the beautiful port city of Hamburg, where the forum was held this year. The dome-shaped hall, Freie Akademie der Kunste, conveniently location near Central Station, was illuminated by soft light creating a pleasant atmosphere for all present. Hamburg, located in northern Germany, with easy access to and from Scandinavia made it possible for participants from Copenhagen to also join in the fun. The forum, continuing from last year, was again, well attended with about 150 persons registered. This year was also a little different with a pianist performing in between sessions. The theme this year was “Daily Transportation Facilities”, meaning public transportation used everyday to get to and from school and work. The core members from six different countries reported on what kind public transportation was used in their area and the lighting environment of these facilities.
Kaoru Mende presented details and pictures of how Tokyoites endure the grinding morning rush day in and day out. Pictures of squeezing more people into an already packed train got a good roar from the crowd. Also, scenes from around main stations, such as Tokyo and Shinjuku, lined with shops and billboards, relayed how stations in Japan are closely tied with commercialism. The white, unified atmosphere created by long 110W fluorescent lights covering many ceiling is definitely a characteristic of Japan.
Recently, architects and designers have been commissioned to design new stations along the Minatomirai Line and other subway stations around Tokyo, adding innovative lighting elements such as indirect lighting or luminous walls. Other presentations included reports on the spacious main concourse of New York City’s Grand Central Station and the midnight sun backdrop of Stockholm’s Central Station.
We realized that in Japan, stations are just a place to pass through on our way to somewhere, however other countries take pride in their public facilities. Because stations are a place that we pass through everyday they should be comfortable and inject a little spice into the atmosphere.