Being a huge advocate of the value of DIY design interventions, I also find equal, and at times greater, merits in design projects that harness the ethos of design interventions to offer precise and quick solutions to the needs of people and communities.

Nothing Design Group‘s recent installation of a series of superbly designed solar powered street lights in the World Cultural Heritage site of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, is a model project along these lines. The area had no problem attracting tourists, but it lacked one vital ingredient to encourage them to venture out at night to integrate more with the local population and its income generating markets: public lighting.

Designed in their trademark nature-inspired style, the “light trees” created by the Korean practice were strongly embraced (at times, literally), by the local community, who gathered together to help install them alongside the designers.

As soon as the lights were installed, tourists began exploring the surrounding areas more, and makeshift markets began forming beneath the lamps in the evening, providing a secondary income source to many local people and increasing the nightlife of the area for local residents.

DIY Night Markets Assembling Beneath the Lights

I had the pleasure of working with Nothing Design on the Fishes in the Sky part of Urban Play in Amsterdam, and was immediately impressed with their direct, simple approach to problem solving and improving people’s experiences through their work. Nice to see them reach another level with this one

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