A collaboration with DiaV, Noche Zero was the first international event dedicated to celebrating dark skies and protecting our view of the stars. It aimed to connect and educate lighting designers, astronomers, dark sky campaigners and others interested in the role that the night sky plays in contemporary life.
Paulina Villalobos of DiaV, a lighting consultancy based in Santiago asked us to help her realise her dream of hosting a darkness event in Chile. Noche Zero was designed to be an inspirational event; an educational summit and darkness experience held in San Pedro in the Atacama desert. With lighting heavyweight speakers like Mark Major and Kauro Mende lined up next to Ian Cheney, Director of the film, The City Dark National Geographic Photographer Jim Richardson and Massimo Terrenghi, the head of the European Southern Observatories in Chile, this collaboration was targeted at an international group of influential people working in and linked to urban lighting design. The aim was to connect the groups interested in this topic, to celebrate darkness and to create a joined up methodology for light and urban design in order to help preserve the night sky in contemporary cities. Noche Zero invited the lighting and astronomical communities to work together.
It was essential that it was held in the Atacama Desert in the North of Chile. The Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth with the clearest sky on the planet and one of the world’s epicentres for astronomical observation. The most stunning starry skies had to be the backdrop to this opportunity to hear the multiple viewpoints of leading experts and for participants to contribute to a new way of treating and understanding the role of darkness in urban lighting design. It wasn’t just about getting the right people together, it was about creating an experience for everyone who attended (including the speakers) so that we could inspire them and send them away to talk about the views of the other speakers.
Noche Zero was more than just a meeting, event, seminar and workshop – it was the experience of a lifetime.