I recently traveled to the Old City of Lijiang, China. A beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site, the Old City is set into the foothills of a mountain region and consists of crafted timber frames, fired clay roof tiles and exquisitely carved wood screens. The walkways are all rough-cut stone, with mountain streams flowing in small canals right through the center of the city.
A beautiful place, but at night it really becomes magical because of an extraordinarily simple lighting concept: The entire city is illuminated in a golden warm glow by linear LED strips, softly uplighting the overhanging roof eaves. The eaves are, of course, gorgeous timber and carved wood construction, so highlighting these details is amazing. But it is the homogeneity and pervasiveness of this lighting effect that ties the whole city together. When the stores are open, the retail lighting provides plenty of lux for the crowds. With almost no street lights except for only a few lanterns here and there, this simple approach of lighting all the eaves provides an absolutely delightful, safe, and magical feeling, especially after hours.
Here’s a detail shot of the very simple hardware (you can even see the LED driver just mounted wide open on the beam):
It is hard to describe how big this effect is – the ENTIRE old city uses it. There must be literally hundreds of kilometers of linear LED lighting throughout the city. Here is an image from Getty that starts to convey the scale:
And a few more from me….