Lighting design style
Perth, 18th November 2013
Some people don’t understand that you need a light to create lighting. Today I had a minor communication with one of my clients who told me he did not really wanted to see any lights, yet wanted the area to be lit…we get that from time to time. I know we are sometimes called lighting magicians, but I am not Chris Angel (from Mind Freak fame) who can make light appear or disappear out or into nothing. I wish I could… 🙂
While his statement is probably not meant to be that he wants no light, he just want the area to light up without being able to see any lights. Specifically because it is an outdoor area, the physical daytime appearance of any poles or floodlights is not appealing nor would be any poles with floodlights at night. I can fully sympathise with that and in fact our design approach is always centred on that principle.
I guess every lighting designers develops his or her own style and while principles may be largely the same the execution really seem to vary per individual. I have honed my skills over the last 30 odd years and while I am not necessarily aware of my “style”, one of my clients (one with whom I had not worked with or met for a long, long time) recently did make me (in-advertently) a big compliment by saying that when the lighting concept was presented to him he had recognised my style of design. I thought that was nice to hear.
While I am not sure how to describe my style, I do know that my guiding principle in lighting design is that I do not want to see the light, but the lighting effect it creates. In other words as much as possible I want the origin of the light to be concealed and the space to come alive with the light as if mysteriously appearing out of “nowhere”. Lighting points are to be as inconspicuous as possible, with the resulting lighting effect to integrate and harmonise as much as possible with its surrounding. As naturally as possible, to the extent that lighting is not really the focus of attention but the space is. Easier said then done…
Light Watch 4-197: Sometimes light can be all encompassing and we lose total visual control about space…we still don’t know where the light comes from though…