The Occupation: Lighting Designer

Published:  September 15, 2011
The Occupation: Lighting Designer

A recent speaker at TEDx Amsterdam and recipient of the British Lighting Design Awards ‘Lighting Designer of the Year’, Rogier van der Heide has set new standards for innovation, and pushes the boundaries of design and technology in projects across the world.

Started out: Like many lighting people, I took drama/theatre in school and operated the lights. I wanted to study lighting, but that didn’t exist at that time, so I studied film and cinematography – which is very close to lighting. I worked for some time for a design studio before starting my own practice, which I had for nearly 10 years.

Big break: I would have to say that when you start your own practice and get your first big project – that is your first big break. You realise you have to do it right, because it is not just a break, it is a make or break. In 1997, I was based in Amsterdam and approached the National Museum of Science in London. I got in touch with the architect, Sir Richard MacCormac, and we built a great working relationship. He gave me the job to do the lighting design for the museum, which was a big job at that time. This project gave me some good exposure in London, which of course has a big design reputation.

Swarovski Crystal Palace - Dream Cloud by Rogier van der Heide

Current project: Philips is working with the Black Eyed Peas at the moment on some outfits for their upcoming tour. The project is quite complicated because it incorporates digital lighting, LED (light-emitting diode) and OLED (organic light emitting diode), wireless controls and battery-powered electricity that is linked with a video stream and the stage lighting. We are also currently working with the National Museum of the Netherlands on its lighting system, which is extremely exciting. This museum houses a lot of very famous paintings such as the Vermeers and Rembrandt’s Night Watch. At the moment, our team is also busy with a number of exciting projects in the Philips studio in Amsterdam. We are working on new products for road lighting, retail lighting, service concepts, LED architecture and solutions that are really design driven and backed by the latest technology.

Favourite project: My favourite project is always the last project I’ve worked on. I really try to do my best for every project that I take on, because I don’t want to feel disappointed that I didn’t give 100 percent. More recently, the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi was a great project to be involved in – it is amazing that these visions can become a reality. At the moment, I am very excited to be working on a new concept at Philips for urban lighting with new street lights. I enjoy this because I feel I am really contributing to how a city feels and how people feel when they visit that space.

What’s next: I would have to say that embedded lighting is the next big thing. LED technology means that you can make ceiling tiles luminous, that you can integrate light into the shelves of shops and that you don’t have to add luminaires to a façade because the façade itself will light up. Ultimately, embedded lights will open up so many new design and collaboration opportunities.

From desktop magazine.

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