New lighting technologies are currently bringing about profound changes in the domain of artificial lighting. This development is the subject of the Vitra Design Museum’s exhibition Lightopia, until March 16th. “It is the first exhibition that not only examines partial aspects of lighting design – such as light art or the design of luminaires – but also looks at the different facets of lighting design and places it in the context of current debates” points out the curator Jolanthe Kugler.
Lightopia is the first comprehensive showcase (300 works) on the topic of lighting design, featuring examples from the realms of art, design, architecture and many other disciplines. Over the past century, electric light has revolutionised our environment unlike hardly any other medium. It has transformed our cities, created new lifestyles and working conditions, and became a catalyst of progress for industry, medicine and communication. It encompasses roughly, including numerous iconic artefacts. Other objects demonstrate the performative power of light, like the famous “Light-Space Modulator” by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, or the spectacular reconstruction of a discothéque from the year 1968, made entirely out of translucent plexiglass. The primary focus of the exhibition is on works by contemporary designers and artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Troika, Chris Fraser, Front Design, Joris Laarman, realities:united and mischer’traxler, who illustrate the scope of new possibilities for designing with light. Among the exhibits are many interactive and walk-in installations that give visitors a direct experience of the archaic power of light.
A true panorama of lighting design – from the beginnings of industrial society to the visions that will define our future – emerges from the dialogue between the works displayed in Lightopia. The historical review of lighting design also places a sharper focus on the radical changes occurring today. While novel plastics, coloured light and halogen lamps were the driving forces behind new designs during the past century, today this role has been taken on by digitalisation or OLED technology.
Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun Project (Lecture of Felix Hallwachs) 13th February.
UNStudio (Lecture of Ben van Berkel) 20th February.
1,2 Daniel Rybakken, Andreas Engesvik, Colour Light for Ligne Roset, 2011© Daniel Rybakken and Andreas Engesvik, photo: Kalle Sanner and Daniel Rybakken.
3 Ingo Mauer, Lighting concept for the subway station Westfriedhof, Munich, 1998 © Ingo Maurer GmbH Munich, photo: Markus Tollhopf.
4 Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation 2010 © Carlos Cruz-Diez & Adagp, Paris 2013 Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation, 2010 © Carlos Cruz-Diez & Adagp, Paris 2013.