Glowing Places, the emotional public furniture

Glowing Places are public seating for artificially-lit indoor spaces (shopping malls, subway stations, etc.) They glow, dim, flash and change color in response to people sitting on it throughout the day.

Megumi Fujikawa, a research associate at Helen Hamlyn Research Centre (UK), developed for Philips Design these plastic seating, embedded with LED strips and sensors that measure the presence of people over time. Both the number of people sitting and the length of time they stay generate a “social interactive pattern” translated by a software into lighting effects in the furniture but also into lighting patterns that can be projected onto the building facade.


Many people sitting for brief periods of time could result in lighting activity expressing a busy period, whereas one or two people sitting for a longer period could trigger mellow lighting.

The illuminated chairs bring people together in subtle ways. “The light beneath the chairs expresses activity levels so passers by intuitively feel something is happening, and this creates a sense of community and personality,” says Job Rutgers, from Philips Design.

Besides, Glowing Places creates a valuable personal space. “It creates a cocoon of privacy,” adds Rutgers. “You are surrounded by an aura of light, a subtle space that separates you from others.” In the office such a personal bubble of light could tell others when you’re concentrating and don’t want to be disturbed.

Via Mirjam Struppek. See Helen Hamlyn Research Centre and Philips Design.