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DETAILS Pic: Herbert Cybulska


Pic: Paolo Pozzi


Pic: Marco Agorri


Above Formula 1 Shanghai International Circuit completed in 2004; Top right ‘Museo e Tesoro del Duomo di Monza’. Iannone has started work on the Chapel of Teodolinda (or Zavattari) in the cathedral; Left The lighting masterplan for the lakeside in Ascona, Switzerland.


“In every organisation there are positive and negative phases. Most of the negative ones coincide with periods of great change that are very rarely painless.”


When Francesco Iannone was asked to once again head the Professional Lighting Design- ers’ Association (PLDA) following concerns about its presumed lack of transparency and democracy, the Italian was only too pleased to take on the peacekeeping role until the new President, Herbert Cybulska, could be elected in April. The outcome, according to Iannone, has been very positive. “In every organisation there are positive and negative phases,” explains Iannone. “Most of the negative ones coincide with periods of great change that are very rarely painless. PLDA is like a restaurant that has became so popular it has to employ more specialist chefs to work in different sections of the kitchen to keep up with demand. Some from the old guard may resent this and suffer from it for a while, that is some- thing I regret, but in the end this is proof of the association’s success.”


While playing down the gravity of the situ- ation, he has underlined the prospects of a possible alliance with the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD). It is an alliance that could overcome the in- evitable competition following the enlarge- ment of ELDA (then renamed as ELDA+ and now as PLDA) beyond European borders. Some years ago a failed attempt was made


to merge the two associations. Today an agreement seems very realistic, its foun- dation being the global recognition of the lighting design profession.


Now that Iannone has carried out his mis- sion and led the PLDA to a stronger position there will be “less politics and more proj- ects” at his lighting design studio Consuline, based in Milan, co-founded by Iannone and his partner in business and in life, Serena Tellini.


Iannone was born in Bari, Italy in 1951. He holds a Degree in Architecture and has been involved in lighting for over 30 years. Lately he has deepened his interest in the neurosciences and the possibility of apply- ing the founding principles to lighting works of art. His studies and its applications were put to good use at Vincenzo Bellini’s exhibi- tion in Rome in 2008 and, last year, at an exhibition of works by another Renaissance master, the Venetian Lorenzo Lotto. His work relates to the discovery of the ‘mirror neuron’ in the ‘90s that is based on the idea that we actually see things with our eyes but we “look at” them with our brain. This has enabled an interesting set of theories about the human perception of shapes and colours. Iannone’s research started from these suppositions and with the continu-


ous progress of LED technology. Collabora- tion with Italian lighting company Targetti allowed the application of these principles to the exhibition in Rome. This led to the development of white light LED projectors that stimulate the tridimensional percep- tion of the works of art in the neuronal area.


“I do not consider Lorenzo Lotto’s exhibi- tion to be the end of my research,” explains Iannone, “but rather another step in a journey that began many years ago.” Everything started with a coincidence: “I was in Stockholm in the same hall where a few days earlier the Nobel Prize ceremony had taken place. At some point, a colleague of mine told me that I was sitting on the same chair as the Italian neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolati, the man who had been a candidate for the Nobel Prize for having dis- covered the mirror neuron. I was intrigued by this and I have pursued these studies ever since.” Apart from the Rome exhibition and the experiments Consuline is carrying out with Osram and the Gaiani Foundation on the 400 frescoes of Zavattari’s Chapel in Monza, the neurosciences’ principles can be suc- cessfully applied well beyond the arts field. To modify an environment with lighting,


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