Photographers are well aware of the importance of the right light on a set, but the growing interest in lighting design proves that it’s not only artists to benefit from the lights. Lights are one powerful tool for creating beauty, as well as conveying a meaning. They can be magical, or make people feel uncomfortable. Sometimes the atmosphere plays a role in our emotional interpretation of the lights, but many atmospheres are neutral enough to leave the lights themselves the honor to provoke the emotions in the spectator.
More and more artists and designers make lights the centre of their installations. Maurice Brill is the person behind the renaissance of Finsbury Avenue Square in London, Uk. Now considered one of the most exciting public spaces in the city, this square before the lights were a dull space in the office area around Liverpool Street Station, which while being in the arty East London is an un-arty business area.
Maurice Brill and his team have a more minimalistic and classical approach to lighting design than another British designer, Philip Oakley.
Oakley’s installations are inspired by the kitsch atmosphere of carnivals and fairs. His creations range from rather innocuous writings that suit nightclubs as well as shops in Shoreditch and bold homes to irreverent installations that would feel at place in an exhibition with Damien Hirst and Maurizio Cattelan, passing by big plastic lamps in kitsch (in its positive connotation) shapes.
Lights, however, can be part of the structure of the house itself, like in this wall that irradiates a bright light, strengthening the minimalist and anti-septic appearance of the room.
Lower and warmer lights would be a better choice for a bedroom, as they relax, while cold white lights wake up the senses and are a perfect match for areas like a studio or the kitchen.
Those LED lights come with discrete patterns, for instance floral or geometric, transforming a necessity into a piece of decoration.
The decorative intent may be, however, bolder than this. It can turn the light into proper sculptures, like this modern revisitation of the most classics of lights, the Quarts chandelier, made by craft artist Kristen Hassenfeld.
Or the Hanging Lamp by Rodrigo Alegre and Carlos Acosta, more minimalistic but not less interesting as a piece of design (they are a MoMa exclusive).
Simon Karkov and Normann Copenhagen created lights in the shape of a flower, made to look like an origami. The result has a peculiar quality of delicate beauty and minimalist strength, and not as feminine as the choice of a flower may suggest.
Nature has been the inspiration of Brooklyn designer Daniel Goers, who reused glass jars with moss terranium to create scenographic suspended lights.
Glass is the foundation also of the lighting designs by the Danish Marie Repten, creator of the Melted Light lamps. On suggestion of the artist herself, they can be shown alone or in a group. The group is very suggestive.
However there is no need for complicated designs to make of lighting a piece of art, as it is shown by this chandelier made with Victorian Edison-style light bulbs. The lightened serpentine against the darker glass creates a gorgeous effect, and the lower light gives a hint to the past compared to the futuristic white bright lights we see nowadays.