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035
“I DON’T DO LIGHTING
FOR BUILDINGS, IDO
LIGHTING FOR PEOPLE.”
Words: Robert Suc hPhotography: Michael vanOosten
... so says Rogier van der Heide, Global affect human perception in train stations. humidity and sound. Why do we put people
Leader of Arup Lighting. Well known for his And whether it’s eliminating ambient light- in buildings that are 20 degrees centigrade
glowing iconic works for starchitects and big ing in favour of accent lighting in a luxury all the time, 70% humidity and 300 lux of
fashion labels, the Dutch lighting designer bag store, or punctuating a railway platform light?” It’s a holistic design view, taking into
takes a people-centric view towards lighting with pools of light and dark, van der Heide account all environmental aspects of the
interiors and exteriors around the world. eschews uniformity in lighting. Coming from building interior, and aims at making people
The thirty-something lighting designer’s cur- a musical background, he says it’s “like feel comfortable and at ease.
rent projects vary greatly in scale, budget music that is the same tone for five minutes What characterises van der Heide’s work
and prestige. They include lighting the Louis or an hour.” is his collaborative approach in the design
Vuitton Flagship Store in London and the Born into a musical home—his parents were process, and putting forward ideas for
National Museum of Modern Art in Amster- musicians—near Amsterdam, van der Heide lighting “embedded in architecture,” he
dam, but van der Heide is also working on went on to study the audiovisual arts in says. It’s not an add-on layer, rather there
more modest, but no less rewarding, light- Brussels. Before moving into architectural is a seamless integration of building and
ing schemes. lighting design, he lit the stage in the lighting. “The boundary between light and
For a hospital in the north of The Nether- theatre, but there he found it “hard to architecture is a diffuse one,” he says.
lands, he’s looking into how lighting can establish a close chemistry between the Under the skin of an architectural work, the
help patients to sleep better, and thus professionals,” he says. Working closely technology managing the lighting may be
speed up recovery times—he recently had with architects from A to Z on a project, complicated and taking a bigger slice of the
four operations, so brings some personal however, he had “more fun,” he says. In the budget compared to a decade ago, but van
insight to this particular project—and mid-Nineties, he started his own company, der Heide still looks for visual simplicity. He
how better to illuminate train platforms. Hollands Licht Advanced Lighting Design. wants people to take away memorable im-
Drawing on research that claims people’s The company later merged with Arup and he ages, and for him, one such memory is the
perception of time moves more slowly took up the lead role at Arup Lighting. lighting of the old postal sorting centre in
while waiting on a platform, compared to Van der Heide says his work boils down to Amsterdam. It was “a really good example
when travellers are on the train, Arup is respecting people. “Making 500 lux uniform of good lighting,” he says. It had a frosted
also studying how weather, perceived risks, wall to wall light is not very respectful,” glass facade of white light and “intriguing
safety, furniture design, and lighting could he says. “It’s the same with temperature, shadows” reflected in the canal.
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