Text: Howard Brandston, FIALD, FIES, PLDA
Photo: Schréder, Grand Place in Bruxelles/BE

05. Nov 2011

Lighting Design is an art
The application of science and technology – not a mere meeting of prescribed lighting codes and standards

I assume most of us reading this are educated, a member of a profession, have a university degree, which assumes we have certain tools – we can read, we can write, we can do some math, we can speak, we can communicate – we’ve learned the practices, codes and standards of our profession. This is the bare minimum of what you should know. But so what? Beware of education – lest what you have received is training. And beware articles which sometimes are mere advertising propaganda which may cause you to become brainwashed. What happens is we lose faith in our subjective judgment capacities. We become focused on supposed tools – codes, standards, and whatever the latest practice buzzwords or fads are in vogue. This is a myth, but unfortunately the way a lot of people practice their profession, a thought-free methodology.

First and foremost – Lighting Designis an Art. In practice preparing a design may include the use of technology or science but primarily theart is concerned with producing what it is you wish to see. In the following I will wander randomly around and through some of my life’s experiences and thoughts on lighting as an art and creating lighting art as what it is you wish to see. First of all, what is art? The Web-ster dictionary defines art as: “Skill acquired by experience or study: an occupation requiring knowledge or skill: the use of skill and imagination in the production of things of beauty…” A ‘work of art’ so to speak. From my perspective, a work of art is an original conception, a thing of beauty, a demonstration of mastery in the realization of a work requiring creativity. Art is the fundamental nature of intellectual achievement in the work of life. And what is Design? Again Webster: “To conceive and plan out in the mind: to conceive and draw the plans for: to devise for a specific function or end: ”These definitions definitely suggest that a design is a plan conceived in one’s mind that is in-tended for subsequent production. Therefore, a design is not a copy; copies do not spring forth from the mind. What is Lighting Design? […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 79.

My opinion:

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