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Leni Schwendinger

Creative Director | Trainer | Light & Night Coach at Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LLC

Design

Education: Visiting Research Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science
New York, NY, USA

Biography

Leni Schwendinger is a published, award-winning authority on the many issues of city lighting, with more than 20 years of experience creating worldwide illuminated environments. This work is shared through Leni’s public speaking and envisioning engagements, including the “NightSeeing™, Navigate Your Luminous City” program, in Australia, cities in the Global South, North, and U.S. In practice, her projects focus on infrastructure, and public art at sites such as subways (NYC), bridges in Canada, Cleveland Light Rail, among others. She is currently directing a startup, International Nighttime Design Initiative, to establish an after-dark, design-focused, profession. In addition, Leni is a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, a Design Trust for Public Space Fellow (NYC), and recently served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Portland State University Department of Architecture.

Passion

A pioneering authority on the mix of urban lighting, public art, and city infrastructure, Leni vividly shares her deep understanding of light and dark in daily life inspiring audiences to reflect on nighttime neighborhoods as creative spaces.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

Everything is negotiable

Topics

smart cities future community engagement innovation in cities urban design city planning cities architecture parks urban nights urban lighting nighttime design light 24hour cities participation light projects nightseeing

Best Story

Leni is the official lighting designer of Times Square.

Origin Story

An autodidact, Leni’s career can be summed up in two threads: Art and activism. This article reviews her self-made career. https://westbeth.org/profiles-in-art/leni-schwendinger-urbanist-designer-artist/

On the art side, Leni started in theatre, lighting, film, and design. In parallel, in London, she organized a squatters community complete with a daycare center.

Fast forward, like lightning, Schwendinger was a rock n’ roll stagehand, worked in opera, painted glass projection slides for Ozzie Osbourne, produced large-scale projections (i.e.Manhatten’s McKim, Mead, White-designed General Post Office) among other exciting roles.

As the founder of Hells Kitchen Neighborhood Association, she partnered with local groups, organized events, and sat at the city planning table.

These days, she runs Leni Schwendinger Light Projects, illuminating parks, bridges, and infrastructure - worldwide. Simultaneously, within the art and activism mold, she also leads NightSeeing™ -- a community and stakeholder program that focuses on the future of night and lighting of cities.

Example talks

LUMINOUS LEGIBILITY: LIGHTING AND NIGHTTIME DESIGN

Audience: Government, Planning and Design Professionals, Community Activists, Meeting Planners

Public realm lighting is essential for thriving 24/7 cities. Jump start with the trends and innovative methodologies that are rocking the world of public space design. This series will broaden your ability to create inclusive, brilliant. after-dark city spaces. Nighttime design urbanism is an approach where lighting leads the way with interdisciplinary research and design.

SUSTAINABLE, SMART LIGHTING: ENABLE CONNECTIONS, NETWORKS AND PEOPLE

Audience: Government, Utilities, Design Professionals, Meeting Planners

Here's the secret: Streetlight poles are the infrastructural backbone for smart city networks. This program guides participants to explore responsive lighting technologies for placemaking and atmospheres in the after-dark city. Learn about the co-benefits of sustainability
through energy management and data collection. Discover unique community engagement methodologies through light.

URBAN LIGHTING DESIGN CURRICULUM FOR EVERYBODY

Audience: Planning and Design Professionals, Government, Real Estate, Associations, Meeting Planners

Explore the role of holistic public lighting. Leni's innovative methodology will improve your
collaboration and advocacy with design disciplines, authorities and local bodies. Capture ways
to analyze and plan for lighting infrastructure through insightful, interactive learning.
After-dark issues include engaging community, mobility: transportation, first and last and 1-mile, city nature: effects on wildlife, public health: sociability and walkability, and local economies: open hours, nightlife.

D.I.Y. Lighting - street restaurant lighting anyone can do - especially during the pandemic

The focus of this talk is on “open restaurants“, streeteries in open air, that have proliferated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Video link to the talk: https://youtu.be/AzMq_ORRAcU

Première presentation was given to London’s 24hr Team in January 2022. Participants such as Business Improvement Districts, City Council members and others concerned with nighttime economy issues, learned about economic, creative, easy to install, lighting.