In praise of shadows is an exhibition on new European lightning curated by Jane Withers. It will be running during the London design festival, September 19–27 at the V&A.

In Praise of Shadows showcases works by 20 European designers who imaginatively explore not only the potential of low energy lighting and alternative energy sources but also the way we think about light and darkness.

The catalyst for ‘In Praise of Shadows’ is the EU directive to phase out low-efficiency light bulbs (from September 2009 through to 2012). It is rare that a design issue affects us all as directly as the switch to low energy lighting and as well as stimulating experimental design the changeover is provoking controversy and confusion around environmental

issues. And yet this should be an opportunity to do more than just change a light bulb, it’s a chance to explore new thinking about lighting and sustainability.

In Praise of Shadows aims to add spark to the debate by raising questions not only about how we use energy for lighting but also how we illuminate our lives – challenging the modern obsession with ‘brighter is better’ that has held sway for the last century.