Febo Design’s ingenious founder says lighting’s impact is often overlooked.
As an industry, we need to see lighting with new eyes and create relationships that help us better enjoy its creative potential. Most people’s exposure to lighting effects is in conjunction with music, but there’s so much more to the medium. For example, great lighting effects can be used in a quiet environment when you just want to relax or create friendships.
I studied three-dimensional design, which involved learning about plastics, and materials such as wood, metal and ceramics, so I had a good grounding in understanding the limitations and potentials of those materials. Later, I specialised in lighting, allowing me to better explore my life long obsession with lights and the potential of lighting technologies.
Ever since school I was fascinated by lights. I was weaving fairly lights through my sketchbooks. Nowadays, I’m looking into material research, and what we can push boundaries and excite people.
It is proven that different colour wavelengths have a relationship on us, and this has obvious potential to be exploited at events and in experiential. Without light we cannot survive. For some reason, however, we often see lighting as an add-on. It’s the big elephant in the room, an overlooked element that can deliver on the goals of the event. It’s a shame that the only time we get saturated with lights is at a concert, which is primarily a musical reflection of the artist.
I worked with Burberry in 2015 on a Christmas Tree at Claridge’s that used lighting technology creatively. Christopher Bailey’s creation featured over 100 umbrellas, each finished in bespoke gold and silver metallic fabric, and thousands of motion-sensor lights, programmed to sparkle and glitter as guests walked by the tree.
We have a naturally inquisitive nature as a species. We want to crawl into something, or climb onto something. Even if you walk into a café, and there’s one booth and a load of seat, you’ll choose the booth. Even if you put a spiral staircase into a room, people will want to climb up it. Events should be about tapping into our curiosity, and lights are a great tool for that.
One criticism people have at events and festivals is how people are used to guide or direct you, and maybe actors are used as part of an experience. However, a person can ruin the mood, and break you out of an experience, whereas cleverly using lighting as guidance can pique our curiosity and immerse us in an experience.