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University of Tartu Museum announces teams participating in round 2 of Tartu Cathedral’s lighting design competition

At the end of April, the University of Tartu Museum announced an idea competition for the lighting design of Tartu Cathedral. In early June, the jury of Tartu Cathedral’s lighting design project selected the three lighting design teams who continue in the second round of the competition.

Toomkiriku varemed.
21. Jun Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu

Photo: Kiur Kaasik

To take part in the first round of the competition, applicants were required to submit their CV and portfolio of previous works, including at least three public-area lighting projects from the last five years. Preference was given to participants who had designed lighting solutions for historical buildings. The jury received 19 applications from lighting designers from Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Scotland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the USA. In the second round of the competition, the three teams of lighting designers have to visit Estonia and see Tartu Cathedral, and submit the lighting design for the cathedral by 31 October.

The chair of the jury Mariann Raisma said, “What made the jury’s work complicated was the fact that almost 20 very diverse and high-level lighting designers from all over Europe had submitted their portfolios. The Ensemble association of lighting designers stood out for their sensitive designs, while also emphasising the importance of sustainability and reducing light pollution. The works of Kevan Shaw Lighting Design feature a play of the shadows. They use shadows to give the buildings a highly emotional design which supports the buildings’ own story. Marko Kuusik, Mariliis Kundla ja Katrin Kivisikk (ITK Lighting) in collaboration with Mihkel Pajuste Studio stood out for their ambitious ideas and playfulness. We are intrigued to see what solutions they come up with for the illumination of the cathedral.”  

The jury selected the following teams to continue in the second round of the competition:

  • Ensemble, a group of lighting designers who teamed up specifically for this competition: Fiorenzo Namèche (Light to Light, Belgium), Alfred Sa’ (Nur L+D, Spain) and Chiara Carucci (Chiara Carucci Lighting Design, Sweden)
  • Kevan Shaw Lighting Design (Scotland)
  • Marko Kuusik, Mariliis Kundla ja Katrin Kivisikk (ITK Lighting) & Mihkel Pajuste Studio (Estonia)

“We believe that the collectives invited to the second round will best ensure the desired artistic dimension of the lighting design and, by interpreting the historic and architectural layering, offer a novel conceptual vision,” said Kati Ilves, Artistic Director for the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, commenting on the teams who made it to the second round.

The jury comprised the Director of the University of Tartu Museum Mariann Raisma (chair of the jury), Artistic Director for the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 Kati Ilves, Artist Elo Liiv, Head of the University of Tartu Estates Office Heiki Pagel, Lighting Designer Eva Tallo, Landscape Architect Anna-Liisa Unt of the Department of Urban Design of Tartu City Government.

The competition takes place in two rounds, the first being the portfolio competition, the second a design competition. The main prize is 8,000 euros, the prize for the 2nd and 3rd places is 6,000 euros. The author of the winning entry will be awarded a contract for making a lighting design for 25,000 euros. As a result of the competition, the lighting design will be made and the author of the winning entry will be awarded a contract for the lighting project. Creating the lighting solution for Toome Hill is a part of “Toomemägi Revisited”, a project in the main programme of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024.

Artist and organiser of the “Tartu in Light” festival of architectural lighting and lighting art Elo Liiv commented on the impact of the cathedral lighting project as follows, “I am pleased that it is such a high-level competition, allowing to select three professional teams of diverse artistic handwriting. Tartu is slightly bohemian and a youthful university town; we like to say that here you’ll meet the spirit rather than authority. All of this can be conveyed and supported by light – by creating shady areas for lovers of night and romance, as well as spaces for light shows of high artistic level. The selected teams have the potential to take a sensitive approach to the cathedral, illuminating the layers and rhythms of the rough façade of this historically unique building. The winning solution for lighting the cathedral ruins is selected in the autumn and will be of monumental importance, as the location high above the town on Toome Hill will influence the atmosphere of Tartu’s old town and its surroundings. I’m waiting for the autumn and the final solution with great excitment.”