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What does such a dark city look like? What are the design principles for urban planning, street lighting and architecture? What does it contribute to our physical and spiritual health? Studio Monnik immerses you in a theatrical future in which the city has recaptured the view of the stars. Think along and embrace your inner urban astronaut.

The Dark City is part of the programme in the context of I See That I See What You Don't See. This exhibition takes the complex relationships between light and dark, between seeing and not seeing, as a starting point for an exploration of their conflicting effects on humans, the Earth and other organisms.

Edwin Gardner

Edwin Gardner is a futurologist and partner at Studio Monnik which helps organisations to innovate, think strategically, and develop their vision on speculative futures. With Christiaan Fruneaux and Marjolijn van Heemstra, Edwin founded the Academy of Urban Astronauts, and led the Night Lab.

Iris Dijkstra 

Iris Dijkstra is founder and director of Atelier LEK, an independent design agency specialising in light for public spaces and the interior and exterior of buildings. She has developed a lighting design approach for the dark city. 

Like Bijlsma 

Like Bijlsma is an architect, geographer, and founder of the architecture firm SUB Office. She has developed a dark housing typology for the dark city.

Thijs van Spaandonk & Gerjan Streng 

Thijs van Spaandonk and Gerjan Streng founded Bright, a research and development laboratory using different scenarios to explore spatial questions. They have investigated the urban planning instruments, laws and regulations that could make a dark city a reality.

Sander van Iersel

Sander van Iersel is a photographer and filmmaker with a background in biology. His 'objective camera' maps the differences between natural darkness and our brightly lit cities.

Piet Vollaard 

Formerly the director of Archined, Piet Vollaard co-founded Stad in de Maak to manage emptiness in an alternative way, and De Natuurlijke Stad, a collective of ecologists, urban planners, city gardeners and architects. He organised a night walk to map the nightlife of Rotterdam from sunset to sunrise.

19:30 – 21:30
also this evening

18:00-19:30 Thursday Bite 

19:00-21:00 Guest Programme: Work landscapes as playground of the future

The museum is free of charge from 17:00-21:00 


Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Standard€ 7,50
Students, CJP, Friends and Members of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3,75

Thursday Bite

Before the Thursday Night you can grab a bite to eat with the speakers and staff of Het Nieuwe Instituut. At 18:00 Het Nieuwe Café will serve a light vegetarian meal. Dinner vouchers are available for € 7.70 up to a day before the particular Thursday Night event via the Tickets link. 

Become a Member

Become a Member of Het Nieuwe Instituut and you’ll support our mission to navigate the vast and evolving field of design. You’ll also be inspired by our special program of Members’ events, meeting up with other like-minded people as we invite you to reflect with us on design’s changing role in technology, economics, culture and society.

Guus Beumer, artistic and general director, Het Nieuwe Instituut
Angela Rui, Marina Otero Verzier, Francien van Westrenen
Rudy Guedj
Olivier Goethals