Lighting of the Tammerkoski rapids granted the 2021 Lighting Design of the Year award

The illumination of the Tammerkoski rapids has been named the best outdoor lighting design of 2021. The adjustable lighting solution designed for the unique factory milieu along the Tammerkoski rapids in the centre of Tampere covers the entire stretch of the river running from Näsijärvi to Pyhäjärvi. The Lighting Design of the Year competition is the most prestigious lighting-sector competition in Finland.

Commissioned by the City of Tampere, the lighting solution for Tammerkoski, which was completed in 2020, covers more than a kilometre of the river from Vuolteensilta to Neulapato. As part of the project, the river and the walls on either side of it, the central powerplant, the rapids, the bridges and the façades in the area of Finlayson and Tampella and elsewhere were illuminated.

The jury of the Lighting Design of the Year 2021 competition praised the project’s meticulous design and strong lighting expertise that resulted in a harmonious illuminated cityscape and scenic riverside routes. The electrical and lighting engineers of LiCon-AT, which is part of the AINS Group, and WhiteNight Lightning teamed up with the City of Tampere to create the lighting solution.


The adjustable lighting solution illuminates the entire stretch of the river running from Näsijärvi to Pyhäjärvi.

− One of our main goals was to highlight the unique factory milieu and create a space that invites people to linger. Tampere has worked systematically to maintain and enhance the unique industrial milieu of Tammerkoski and now spaces, routes and scenic spots that used to be closed have been made available to the public. Visitors and locals can now also admire the red-brick buildings along the entire river when it is dark, explains Markus Joonas, project development manager at the City of Tampere.

According to the competition jury, the lighting designed for Tammerkoski highlights central details and utilises lighting directions and colours in an elegant manner.

− We strived to achieve a harmonious and elegant lighting design with carefully considered solutions and ideas. One of the solutions that worked particularly well was the purpose-made luminaires mounted on the walls, which create beams of cold and warm light that cross one another, recalls project manager Pentti Putaja from LiCon-AT, who was responsible for the project’s electrical and lighting engineering.

Tammerkosken valaistus yläjuoksu Marko Kallio Skyfox 750

In the illumination of the rapids and their surroundings, the lighting of interior spaces has been integrated into the lighting solution in a successful manner.

− The electric blue interior luminaires that illuminate the large windows of the powerplants lining the river provide a common theme for the lighting solution, explains WhiteNight Lightning’s Arto Heiskanen, who was responsible for the project’s architectural lighting design.

Adjustable lighting creates the right atmosphere for weekends and weekdays

The control system, which is situated in the central powerplant and controlled via a remote connection, allows adjustments to every part of the lighting solution. The powerplant and the rapids, which can be seen from Hämeensilta, are almost the only locations where coloured lights and special effects are utilised.

− The lighting of the powerplant and the rapids can be changed to suit the situation. The entire lighting solution can also be made a feature of any event, as was done for the Tampere Festival of Light, shares Markus Joonas.

The lighting solution can be controlled at the level of an individual light source – with more than 300 light sources mounted on the façades alone. The atmosphere of the lighting is slightly different on weekends and evenings compared to workdays. At 6 pm, the light illuminating the walls is adjusted for the evening.


The lighting of the powerplant and the rapids, which can be seen from Hämeensilta, adapt to suit the situation.

− Tampere as a whole was built around Tammerkoski. The first eclectic light was switched on here in 1882, powered by electricity from the powerplant, notes Arto Heiskanen.

− The route along Tammerkoski has been illuminated for decades using the technology available at the time. Now, the emergence of LED technology has enabled us to create a solution that can be controlled via a single system, explains Pentti Putaja.

The jury also praised the designers for the careful consideration of the luminaire locations and lighting directions to prevent glare and distracting light.

A design competition was arranged in 2007 to select the lighting designer for the Tammerkoski project. The project was realised in three stages between 2015 and 2020. It was recently elected the winner of the international LIT Lighting Design Awards competition in the category for lighting of a historical environment.

− It is brilliant to receive recognition for years of your work from professionals in your field. But it is even more heart-warming to hear praise from local residents and to know that people who live and spend time in the area get joy from your work, say Markus Joonas and Pentti Putaja.

The other projects that made the final in the outdoor lighting category of the Lighting Design of the Year competition were the lighting of Imatra’s power station and Kajaani’s lakeside park and ruined castle.

In the other category of the competition, the best indoor lighting design was awarded. This recognition was granted to Kirkkonummi’s main library Fyyri.

The Lighting Design of the Year competition is arranged by lluminating Engineering Society of Finland, the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients, the Finnish Association of Interior Architects, the Finnish Association of Architects, THE Electrical Contractors’ Association of Finland, the Association of Finnish Electrical Designers and the Association of Electrical Wholesalers, Manufacturers and Importers. The competition is aimed at promoting Finnish lighting designers and developers by recognising well-executed lighting projects. The winners of the previous Lighting Design of the Year competition in 2019 were Saariselkä Ski Resort’s Aurora Experience and the West Metro in Helsinki and Espoo.

For further information, contact:

Markus Joonas, project development manager, City of Tampere
Tel. +358 50 345 0705

Pentti Putaja, project manager, electrical and lighting engineering, AINS Group / Licon-AT
Tel. +358 40 377 3840

Arto Heiskanen, lighting designer, WhiteNight Lighting
Tel. +358 40 583 5666

Photos by City of Tampere / Marko Kallio Skyfox


'It is heart-warming to hear praise from local residents and to know that people who live and spend time in the area get joy from your work.'

Markus Joonas project development manager
City of Tampere



  • Client: City of Tampere
  • Lighting designer: LiCon-AT Oy / The AINS Group & WhiteNight Lighting Oy
  • Electrical engineering: LiCon-AT Oy / The AINS Group
  • Electrical contractor: Tampereen Vera Oy & Eltel Networks Oy