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Light Hearted. An Interview: With Kristian Krogh from LDC (Lighting Design Collective)

29.10.2014 /  Lighting designers

Q: In your opinion, what do you think are currently the most important and exciting topics in the lighting industry?

A: The role of digitally connected lighting, the ability to connect to a single, series or whole installation of luminaires and not only control them, but send and receive information to them simply and as a user at all levels is an exciting prospect. The ability to do so and for this to be available in a format that is an open source platform, that will change the way we look at and use light. We held an event in Silo 468 in September in conjunction with Helsinki Design Week, thinkinatank.com. We invited 11 guests from Finland and the UK to discuss the role of light in architecture, it was interesting to hear from all parties how when light was discussed, that it was on a very personal level. The guests talked about natural light experiences, their desire to be able personalise light and embody these experiences.


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Q: As one of the directors of the Lighting Design Collective (LDC) you’re heavily involved in light art. How do you feel light art communicates and relates to currently relevant issues in lighting?

A: Light is a medium that is transcends language, that communicates across cultures and is routed within ourselves; our bodies depend on light to regulate our most vital biological functions. Light can make us happy, trigger memories, surprise and delight us. Our light art pieces allow us to look at light for what it is, wondrous, invigorating and fascinating. Regardless of how we approach light, be it in the form of light art or architectural lighting from the same principles, it should be an extension of the light that we as humans have evolved under, there is no such thing as static natural light. While these principles are widely accepted in the scientific world they’re not widely utilized within the lighting industry. As we spend more time indoors and surrounded by artificial light, we must embrace these principles to ensure our well-being and ensure that our light, is beyond light.


Light Fantastic


Q: With the abundance of light artists – and growing accessibility to equipment and technologies – how do you feel about the quality of light art you see around the world?

A: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, far be it for me to critique what is of merit and what is not. We recently assisted House of the Nobleman with their exhibition Light Fantastic for the London Frieze Art Fair. This featured artists from Conrad Shawcross, Cerith Wyn Evans, Troika, Random International, Lia Chavez and Tim Noble & Sue Webster. The exhibition also included a content design piece we had done for Philips and the collection of these works demonstrated that what ever medium, what ever the complexity, simplicity or message that the pieces intended to give, that all without exception captured peoples imagination. Art in what ever medium is an expression of a thought process and ideation, when we discuss art, we should not discuss its merits, we should look to understand what it is an expression of.


Fantastic 1 Fantastic 2


Q: Lighting vs. projection: the latter seems to be the most popular media at light festivals, in your opinion, how has it influenced the expectations and impressions the audience has about lighting and light art?


A: Projection has indeed seen a resurgence, with the prevalence of 3D mapping. Its application has started to become more common place and we’d certainly enjoy seeing new applications and indeed combinations of both.

Q: Do you have a favourite LDC project at the moment, and if so, what about it do you find special?

A: Definitely Silo 468. Since I joined LDC at the beginning of the year, there has been excitement, media attention, articles and awards that continue to surround this project. Given it’s been completed since 2012, it would seem it has captured and will continue to captivate more than my admiration for some time. There are many current projects that have the ability to equal and surpass the Silo, but I think it will always serve as a benchmark for us.


Q: What is the most significant lesson you learned while working with the LDC, and which you wish you had known earlier in your career?

A: I think the main element is to have fun, after all, we may not be curing cancer or saving lives, on a daily basis! There is a danger that the process, external and previously internal pressures of co-creating, which is what we must do in working with others, can sometimes make us think that we are. This perceived self importance and pressure can make our work devoid of merriment, meaning we can get caught up in the process rather than enjoying the creative process. If we don’t get excited about our work and have fun in doing so, no one will enjoy the output.

Q: In your experience, have the rapid changes and developments in LED lighting helped or hindered consumers understanding of this technology?

A: LED has been its own worst enemy for some time, unfortunately unscrupulous vendors sold it is the answer to everything, whilst exaggerating or even omitting to impart crucial information about what its limitations where. I think we are now finally reaching a critical point where users feel empowered and knowledgeable and the lessons of the past are now learned.

Q:  What advice do you have for a young architect or designer seeking to gain a better understanding of using light as a material?

A: Get out there and start experimenting with light, get your hands on as many different types as you can, use colour, use filters, make mistakes, use light how ever you can and experience it for all that it is. There is a great deal of people who get to doing this far too late, spend their time straining over a computer, creating calculations, electronic drawings and pretty diagrams and visuals. There is plenty of time to learn the office skills behind creating a scheme, but precious few hours before you will be asked to create visually engaging projects with light, something that requires a great deal of learned hands on experience.