ART & DESIGN
COLLECTIVE SPIRIT Light Collective are a bit of an enigma. Deliberately so. When they started out six years ago they thought it best to be cagey as they hadn't quite worked out what they planned to do - they always knew what they didn't want to do but that’s another story.
Light Collective consists of Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton and is based in the UK, but their unique philosophy has seen them travel to most corners of the globe. Referred to variously as the ‘Daft Punk of Lighting’, ‘Light Collectors’, ‘Light Evangelists’ and (less flatteringly) ‘the Kirstie and Phil of lighting’, it’s hard to pin down how the practice works but work it does, as the pair pop up in the most unlikely of places, initiating the most unusual of projects. However, in their own words, they still undertake some conventional lighting design: “When we set up Light Collective, we decided that we would continue to undertake architectural lighting design projects but that we wouldn't publicise them. After fifteen years talking about architectural lighting, we wanted to ensure the other stories we had to tell took precedence.”
Despite a secret portfolio of design work that spans private houses, shopping centres and hotels in the Middle East, Light Collective are much happier to talk about projects that see them providing opportunities for their peers or spreading the word about light in the wider design community and amongst the general public. “When we set up Light Collective we took a deliberate decision not to work in the way other lighting consultancies work. We wanted our company to give us opportunities to collaborate with other designers and friends around the world. We looked at the conventional model for a lighting practice with its typical pyramidical hierarchy and decided to do the opposite. We decided not to have an office and not to expand. People said it would never work... but six years on there are still just the two of us, working wherever we travel.” The kind of projects that unite the lighting
community are ones where Light Collective create an opportunity for other designers to showcase their work and create a platform for the lighting industry to talk about light not just to peers but to the wider world, something that is often lacking. One Beam of Light was a photography competition that allowed 350 designers to be involved, resulting in a public exhibition at the ICA, London and Play of Brilliants was an exhibition in Paris that presented thirteen pieces of light art in a three month show. “Curation and initiation of ideas of this type allow us to present the work of others and show the public that what we know about light as a professional community is worth sharing.” Light Collective are also big on community engagement and have produced projects where the general public help present a project based on light. This style of working has led to guerrilla events all over the world