Trends in Lighting asks 20 Questions to inspirational lighting industry minds to mark the end of the decade
Name: Rogier van der Heide
Job Title: Lighting Designer
Where will you spend the holidays? At home.
What is your favourite Christmas food? It’ll be a dinner with just the two of us this year: Malika and I. I love the cookies in the tree.
What are you most excited about for 2020? Our new company… Stay tuned!
What do you most want to see from lighting manufacturers in 2020? Recovery from their crisis. I truly wish them more success than they had the past years. I also think we should help them, I’d love to at least.
Have you already booked your summer vacation? No… We don’t really book anything in advance. But hopefully, it will be Greece again.
Who is your industry inspiration? Oh, there are so many… Where should I start? There is the generation before me that gave me tremendous inspiration: Charles Stone, Stefano Marzano, the late Richard MacCormac… Great designers and moreover great storytellers. Of our generation, I sympathise with those who do not make a fuss about “the profession”, its independence and its certifications… But instead just make great lighting: Koert Vermeulen, Juliette Nielsen, Sjoerd van Beers, Bob van der Klaauw, Giulio Antonutto, Emily Dufner and many more… I hope the time we spent together was worth it also for them… For me it was rewarding.
Which product has inspired you in 2019? The most inspiring product in 2019 has been laser light.
Which project are you most proud of? I am most proud of my last project. And I am proud that so many people still ask me to do lighting design, all over the world. Now there are so many great new lighting designers around, why would you ask me?
Can you name another reindeer besides Rudolph? Of course. Rudolph is not even that important, there was just this silly song in the late 1940s or so, that somehow has put him in our collective mind. No, in 1823 the poet Clement Moore clearly named the eight reindeers of Santa Claus. They are Comet, Vixen, Dasher, Dancer, Cupid, Blitzen, Prancer and Donner. The poem was called “The night before Christmas”.
Do you own a Christmas jumper? What kind of lighting designer you think I am?
How is sustainability changing your job? It has changed everything, already long, long ago. More than 10 years ago, at Arup, we made Greenpix, the solar-powered LED media facade of the Xicui Entertainment Centre in Beijing. And even before that, we did so many projects with a focus on sustainability. Anyhow, I do not believe that tech-based energy savings bring the biggest gain though. 2011 I did a talk at TED about the beauty of darkness, because I believe that we will make much greater steps towards sustainable lighting if only we could consider the role of light in our lives differently.
What is your most listened to track this year? I do not really listen to music, ever…
What was the last good film you watched? I watched at least 20 good films in 2019, and that is entirely because Malika loves movies. I only watch films together with her. The problem is, I do not remember them… To remind myself gently I glanced at the Rotten Tomatoes 150 best films of 2019 list but hell I did not recognize one single film, so I guess my thoughts sometimes drift away when we watch movies… It’s more about spending time together: you do not always need to talk (although that does not sound very Dutch) and watching a film together on the sofa with tea, the fireplace, the curtains closed… Is simply a great thing.
Have you already booked your flights to Trends in Lighting 22-24 September 2020? I do not fly, I come by bicycle!
Where was the most interesting place your job took you this year? That was Chengdu. It’s not China as we know it from Shenzhen and Hong Kong; The province of Sechuan has its very own culture that goes much beyond the 600 panda bears, and it has its distinct and delicious cuisine of course.
Will Brexit happen? I deeply hope it will not.
What is your favourite Christmas song? I already said I do not listen to music… So you think I do sing?
How do you say Merry Christmas in another language? In Iceland, the people say “Gleðileg jól”
Do you prefer LED Christmas lights or the traditional incandescent bulbs? In my job, I love LED… But it ain’t Christmas without candles in the tree!
Can you remember the job/course you were you doing 20 years ago? I was a lighting designer. 20 years ago. And of course, I remember what I was doing! We were working on the Millennium Dome together with Zaha Hadid. Bob was my on-site supervisor, we squatted the McDonalds within the Dome and we made it our site office – they were anyways moving in one week before opening. We controlled thousands of fluorescent tubes with analog control signals, and we used gel sleeves by Rosco (“calibrated color”) to create many different grades of “gaslight green”. It was wonderful.