Lightfair 2006: Basic Instinct
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

Residential Lighting: What will you address during your seminar at this month’s Lightfair 2006?

Sergio Orozco: I think we have been extremely technical about lighting for a long time. Everybody is becoming an intellectual or an engineer about it, and to some extent that’s wonderful. Technology that can make better environments is always welcomed. My theme, however, is to bring back elements that we often forget in today’s over-engineered life. We need more room for a romantic approach to lighting.

RL: How does lighting relate to romance?

SO: Most of us have a huge daily relationship with lighting. We go to sleep, and we experience the absence of light. We wake up, and the sunrise creates inspiration for another day. We go to a restaurant, and lights sparkle off our loved one. The shadows, the angle of reflection, the level of the light—all make for romance. Artists have known this for centuries. Vermeer and de La Tour were masters at using light. So were Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Correggio and da Vinci.

Several architects have lived this experience. Louis Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright used light brilliantly. Among contemporary architects, Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava have done great work sculpting with lighting. But we need more of these kinds of elements. We’ve used enough fluorescents, enough high hats, enough halogen and enough track lighting. The home is starting to look like a showroom.

RL: What is your approach?

SO: When I walk into a room, the first thing I do is turn on the lights. Most of the time, you see a huge amount of light coming from the ceiling—so much light that you almost feel that it is midday, and midday is the most unromantic time of the day. Too much light can really hurt the “architecture” of a face. It can create so many shadows under the nose and eyes. It’s great to have recessed lighting—in areas where you need it to make a space seem larger—but definitely not on top of a bed, over a sofa or above a dining room table. The idea is to have a “sunset” in the home—the feeling of comfort from a well-lit interior.

RL: Can you share some of your ideas?

SO: Wall sconces are great in corridors. Torchieres are fantastic in living rooms. Mini-pendants are awesome in kitchens. But please use dimmers. When you have too many sources in the ceiling or too many halogens in the room, a space can become overwhelmed with light. I like to bring in fabric shades—real silk—to soften the look. I use accent lamps in bathrooms, but track lighting works well there, too. You can even use crystal in the bathroom and the bedroom. Am I crazy?

RL: Not crazy—but definitely romantic.

SO: You need to know how lighting affects people before you start placing lights in a home. The idea is to add a human touch. That’s how you find harmony. And once you have harmony, you have romance. What I treasure and strive for most is to balance the relationship between human beings and their objects. I use technology only when it adds spice. Design, architecture and technology should have one goal: to make our homes pleasant.

Sergio Orozco is a home furnishings designer based in New York. He has won both ROSCOE and ARTS Awards.



Seminar: The Drama, Romance and Magic of (Residential) Interior Lighting
Date: Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Time: 2-3:30 p.m.
Place: Las Vegas Convention Center

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