GVA Lighting sat down with acclaimed stage lighting and design director, Kristin Bredal, to discuss her notable career with reference to one of Zenisk’s most recent and accoladed lighting design projects, the Tana Bridge in Troms og Finnmark, Norway.

Tell us about yourself, your background and the practice?

I come from a stage lighting, exhibition, and set design background for theatre, opera, and ballet productions. To me, lighting is a medium to communicate with and to tell a story. In theatre, I control the light precisely to enhance the space and contribute to the narrative. This practice is something I continue to this day, to keep the artistic flare alive, and which influences my current design work at Zenisk.

I created Zenisk 15 years ago, with the clear mission of bringing better lighting to the outdoor environment in Norway, especially in the North. We have had the privilege of working on many stunning projects, from UNESCO world heritage sites to some of the most beautiful cities in Norway.

My theatre background is reflected in our practice, as we orchestrate lighting layers through programming and mock-ups.


How did the Tana Bridge project come about?

Firstly, we started working with the design team on concept and the technical challenges. These elements including weather conditions, mechanical stress, road glare, maintenance had to be taken into consideration from early on.


Tell us about the brief for the lighting design for the Tana Bridge project and how you fulfilled this?

The brief was to make Tana Bridge stand out and to become a focal landmark and destination in the North.

The Norwegian Road Authority and the local municipality wished to enhance the identity of the Tana River and Bridge both locally and nationally, as this area is where the roads between Norway, Russia and Finland meet.

Lighting is an incredibly important aspect of the design of the bridge, and the most effective way to create focus for it to stand out in a dark and isolated area. It takes two hours of driving through uninhabited landscape to reach, temperatures often drop below -30 degrees, and the sun doesn’t rise for two months each year.

The concept was to reveal the bridge architecturally and use it as a huge canvas for dynamic lighting inspired by nature and local culture, showcasing the infamous Northern Lights. Lighting is switched off completely during the real Aurora Borealis, and has a simple static architectural expression most times.


How did Zenisk bring the lighting concept to life?

It was crucial to us that such a large installation had the best possible performance and durability, with as little maintenance as possible. Our aim was to illuminate the bridge in a way that could be seen from far distances, while still appearing aesthetically pleasing and without glare when close by.

We began by mapping the bridge cables as a low resolution screen. Through 3D simulations and sample testing off- and on-site, we evaluated mounting options which would minimise glare.

The end result of projected light on the grey surfaces produces an incredibly bright effect with brilliant colours, which can be isolated or combined for endless variations in display. The handrail design and integration of all lighting was designed to be concealed, easily accessible, and without glare.

Why did you choose GVA solutions to fulfil your dynamic design?

GVA were the only manufacturers able to provide certain pioneering products and tools to meet the design brief. We were impressed by their availability, helpfulness, and innovation throughout our collaboration.

GVA were able to provide all the details we needed throughout the design phase. We were particularly impressed with their 4 degree optics and the specialist tool they developed to enable us to precisely focus the luminaires.

The extreme climate conditions required heated glass on the luminaires to avoid snow and ice build-up. GVA was the only manufacturer which could provide these revolutionary products.


This project is winning awards – how does this make you feel?

We are incredibly proud of this project. It is a milestone achievement for us, eight years in the making.

Tana Bridge is an iconic landmark in Finnmark and Norway, and is a landmark that marks an era. An ambitious public project aimed to develop road infrastructure in the North with functionality and grandeur.


How would you summarise your work on this project in three words?

Pride, precision, and iteration. Also cold, as we spent so many hours on mock-ups, programming, and installation on site.

Are you working on any other similar projects you can share with us?

At the moment we are working on another prestigious landmark project, involving the harbour area and heritage waterfront facades of Bergen. This row of facades is often the first image that comes to mind when you think of Norway, featured on postcards and magnets.

We are thrilled to be bringing our skills and expertise to another infamous landmark project, and similarly to Tana Bridge, precision and luminaire integration is crucial to this project.

Project credits:

Lighting Design: Zenisk

Partner: Rebel Light

Client: Statens Vegvesen

Control: Rebel Control