Lighting Master Plan / Water System in Guilin, China - Two Rivers and Four Lakes

Locates in Guilin, Guanxi Province, China, the Two Rivers and Four Lakes Scenic Spot is named by its waters -- Li River, Taohua (peach blossom) River, Mulong Lake, Shanhu Lake, Ronghu Lake and Guihu Lake. In 1998, the Guilin City Government had designated the Water Touring System as a primary program when they rebuilt the city. They dredged waters in this area and rearranged scenic spots and architectures in hopes of creating a beautiful space for visitors to come.

The Scenic Spot is managed and run by Guilin Tourism Corporation; they are as well the client who wished to add color, animation and interactive system into this area. GUANG Lighting Design started from observing and concluded by identifying Li River as a dragon while Taohua River a phoenix, and accordingly they introduced “the Dragon and the Phoenix touring in the four lakes to present auspice in four seasons” as the main concept. For these four lakes, they gave them distinct themes respectively.

Map source: Google Maps
Map source: Google Maps

Challenges and Solutions

The major challenge of this lighting project was the disagreement with lighting concept attributing to different environmental / cultural backgrounds. The Two Rivers and Four Lakes Scenic Spot occupies a wide territory and has a complex geological surface, this fact meant the requirement of various functions was greater than usual cases. Besides, Chinese clients usually focus on the immediate touch to light while Taiwanese design studios emphasize more on details so it’s a big issue to reconcile these conflicts. GUANG established a clear division for different areas according to illumination degrees and identified color plans as well as diverse themes. The whole scenic area was divided into five parts according to illumination degrees:

Level 1: Highlighting major themes with the strongest brightness to point out key scenes and indicative architectures around the lakes.

Level 2: Being less bright than Level 1 and focuses on depth of fields such as bridges, entrances, wharfs and important intersections.

Level 3: Stressing on contrast and gradations. Mostly for four seasons’ forest forms, walking trails and mountains around the lakes.

Level 4: Lighting for safety of round-lake trails.

Level 5: Areas without intentional lighting design such as grass fields.

GUANG adopted harmonious and natural lighting color instead of highly saturated or green light for this project. Based on characteristic plants and flowers of four seasons around the lakes, the colorful lighting designs represent a comfortable, elegant and gentle atmosphere with helps of controlling system. The beautifying of Water System dredging and lighting design doesn’t only improve local tourism but also have historical sites maintained and preserved. Supplemented by light, the rich culture, picturesque landscape and well-preserved environment can be shown up at night.

 

Mulong Lake: The Dragon and the Phoenix are playing around

Photo Credit: GUANG Lighting Design
Photo Credit: GUANG Lighting Design

Mulong Lake is the main lake-touring spot with a series of performance platforms including copper drum squares, stages, cultural band houses and Gui Hill. Lighting fixtures for landscape are all connected with sensors installed in stages so they can create animated lighting scene. As it begins performing, surrounded light can create vibrant gradations and amuse visitors by lighting transformation along with music and performers’ dance.

 

Guihu Lake: The Dragon flies and the Phoenix dances

In background: Guihu Lake Hotel
Photo Credit: GUANG Lighting Design

Guihu Lake is narrow and cruise trips are longer so authorities arranged two rest stops: The Old Banyan and the Chinese Fir Forest. GUANG set up customized lighting fixtures and they will be lit up when visitors arrive. Moreover, visitors can use their iPad applications to choose or change light settings to experience different lighting themes according to the season by themselves.

 

Ronghu Lake: The Dragon’s transcripts and the Phoenix’s postures

Photo Credit: GUANG Lighting Design

Featuring in ancient building and historical sites, landscape of Ronghu Lake is elegant and quiet like a traditional Chinese paint. GUANG captured this picturesque ambiance and tried to express the exquisite and classical atmosphere through warm white light color. Historical buildings such as old Southern Gate were designed to adjust its lighting conditions automatically from time to time as if it were breathing. (Editor’s note: the theme “The Dragon’s transcripts and the Phoenix’s postures” means someone’s article, paint or calligraphy works are very excellent.)

 

Shanhu Lake: The Dragon soars and the Phoenix sings

Photo Credit: GUANG Lighting Design
Photo Credit: GUANG Lighting Design

The towering Sun and Moon Pagodas are marks of Shanhu Lake. The Sun Pagoda, which is made by copper, was lit up by warm white and amber light and some point light sources; besides, light controlling system creates a liner light spiraling upward like a golden dragon. The Moon Pagoda, on the other hand, is traditionally called “Lazurite Pagoda” and was illuminated by cold white and purple light to depict it as a brilliant phoenix during the night. The vivid images were interpreted from lighting flows and interactions by precise LED controlling systems.

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