Lighting : February 2014 Lighting (v2-HR)
February/March 2014 | LIGHTING MAGAZINE 61 they were able to communicate readily with these designers. They responded to the architects’ expectations and had the ability to bring the magic of theatrical experiences into their creations. It was a symbiosis, and it is important to recognize that it was not that these designers raised the standard or quality of lighting design: they redefined its purpose. In 1952, Richard Kelly set out his design philosophy in a lecture delivered at a joint meeting of The American Institute of Architects, the Society of Industrial Designers, and the Illuminating Engineering Society, in Cleveland, Ohio1. He identified “three elemental kinds of light effect”; these he described as: ambient luminescence, focal glow, and a play of brilliants. If any words could be said to have initiated the emergence of lighting design as a profession distinct from illumination engineering, it surely has to be these. Up to his death in 1977, Kelly developed close, almost intimate, working relationships with several of the leading architects of the era and was acknowledged to have made significant contributions to a number of major architectural projects. It may be asked to what extent can the balance of these three kinds of light effect be applied for describing current lighting practice? Contemporary photographs of Kelly’s work mostly comprise rather grainy half tones, so I have reviewed my own collection of photographs for examples which, I think, characterize dominance of each of the effects, even though Kelly had no connection with any of them. They appear as Figures 2 to 4. Since that time there has been an uneasy relationship between lighting designers who see themselves to be involved in the process of architectural design, and those who design lighting installations to comply with all current standards and recommendations for best practice. For the remainder of this paper we will refer to these two types of lighting practitioner as ‘architectural’ designers and ‘best practice’ designers. No pejorative is intended by these terms: they are proposed only to describe two legitimate approaches to designing lighting installations. Of course there are other individuals who plan lighting installations without ever rising to the standards of either of these categories, but that is another issue. It might seem that the difference between these two designer groups is irreconcilable, but the aim of this paper is to suggest an alternative outcome. 60 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | February/March 2014 APPEARANCE AS THE PURPOSE OF LIGHTING While the first illuminating engineering society had been founded in 1906 in New York, it was also in that part of the world that the first clear signs of an alternative faction emerged. In the years following World War II, leading architects were turning to a new breed of lighting professionals. Often these were individuals who had acquired their skills as stage lighting designers and who found themselves able to establish close rapport with architects. The pioneers of this development are now legends; designers such as Richard Kelly, Abe Feder, and Stanley McCandless in the USA, and JM Waldram in the UK; and architects who sought to arouse emotional responses in people entering their buildings found that Figure 2. ‘Focal glow’ dominant. This photograph is offered as an example of the first of Richard Kelly’s “three elemental kinds of light effect.” Grand Union Station, Washington DC, USA. Lighting design: William M.C . Lam.
April May 2013
Lighting April 2014 - Vol 34 Issue 2