- Los Angeles will soon replace 180,000 of its standard streetlights citywide with a custom-made, reconfigurable streetlight design called Superbloom. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Chief Design Officer Christopher Hawthorne recognized Project Room, the design studio behind the concept, during the city's first virtual streetlight conference on Thursday.
We have a winner!— Christopher Hawthorne (@HawthorneCDOLA) September 3, 2020
Meet "Superbloom," the winner in our streetlight design competition. It's designed by @projectroomla, a multidisciplinary design studio based in LA. Rather than a single, fixed pole, it's instead a family of forms based on a bundle -- or bouquet -- of tubes pic.twitter.com/SQUiuVPMzy
- Project Room was unveiled last week as the winner of L.A. Lights the Way, a first-of-its kind competition to design and create a new standard streetlight for Los Angeles. The Superbloom concept, which won a $70,000 prize, was selected from a pool of more than 100 anonymous submissions from around the globe.
- During the event, Superbloom project lead Sandy Yum described the streetlight as a "bouquet" with extra tubes and arms for features such as shade sails, pedestrian fixtures or solar panels. She said the intention of the design was "to take the ever increasing number of things we demand from our streetlights — shade, traffic sensors, telecom, EV charging, wayfinding, banners, the list goes on — and translate that into a form that is uniquely LA."
Not since the 1950s has the design of the city's streetlights been widely transformed, officials said, despite the Bureau of Street Lighting's (BSL) installation of 1,000 to 2,000 new standard streetlights annually. With the 2028 Olympic Games quickly approaching, Garcetti said it was time to find a new light to illuminate Los Angeles.
"So we did what L.A. does: We asked the world for help," he said.
L.A. Lights the Way was established for three reasons, said Hawthorne: to reconnect with the city's "rich tradition" of streetlight modernization; to mitigate the unequal distribution of the city's "most beautiful" streetlights, which are currently concentrated in the wealthiest neighborhoods; and to support a prominent initiative for the entire city.
And while global economic and social challenges have stalled opportunities for innovation in many areas, Garcetti said the city's streetlight competition attracted a "breathtaking" array of design concepts.
"Even in the midst of this moment, one thing has stayed consistent about our city: Los Angeles remains a place for dreamers and for doers," he said. "For proof, look no further than to the enthusiastic response we got when we asked for help locally and internationally."
Despite the global interest, the city ultimately (and coincidentally) awarded its design selection to an LA-based studio. Project Room's Yum said that her experience as a local native, combined with the influence of recent challenges facing the city, helped to inspired the Superbloom concept.
"At this moment, the city has a historic opportunity to reimagine its core systems as a symbol of our city’s diversity, rather than an expression of ordered uniformity," Yum said. "At a time of great cultural and civic transformation, the streetlight is an ever-changeable monument to an ever-changing city."