There is light and there are lights. From the mundane to the bizarre, the strictly functional to the ostentatious, a panoply of objects has been created in the response to the desire of artificial illumination. The possibilities afforded by new materials and technologies, coupled with the lyrical potential of working with light, have resulted in the most exciting and innovative products in recent years. Manufacturers create solutions to a demand for lighting products. Designers explore the associations that light brings, and make imaginative use of the lexis of artificial illumination.
Lighting is a poetic medium in which to work. Light itself has a myriad of lyrical associations, and the physical nature of light-objects gives them great potency. Lights radiate with energy; they transform places and faces when switched on, and can both banish and create shadows.
Light itself is a powerful shaper of space. The manipulation of natural and artificial light effects within designed spaces is a key component to stage design, and lighting design has become a much more integral component of stage design.
Light is one of the most difficult physical properties to pin down – it can be thought of as a ray if we are speaking of lenses; as a train of electromagnetic waves of varying length if we speak of colour; as a flow of energy particles (photons) if we are dealing with photoelectric cell.
There is now a wider range of light sources than there has ever been, and this has tended to liberate designers in their approach to lighting.
LEDs are a form of low-voltage lighting that is being developed for a widening range of applications. Initially used for computers, car indicators and and other electronic products, at first LEDs could only provide mainly red-coloured light, but now green, white and blue have been produced. LEDs are now very much used in the development of flat lighter screen panels and battons with an ever-increasing degree of flexibility and luminescence.
Vince Foster is a lighting, set and video designer in the live entertainment industry.
His aim is work to the highest visual standards, technical expertise and integrity creating interesting work involving all forms of lighting and materials.