lighting design

Can We Really Define What Is The Perfect Light?

The perfect light represents the experience you have, at the moment you find yourself.

It recently took one of the Michael Grubb Studio team on a lighting pilgrimage, 6,000 miles away to help determine the perfect light.

Stuart Alexander, our senior designer, alongside two other people were selected to be part of ‘The Perfect Light Experience 2018.’ This is an initiative from the Light Collective, led by Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton.

The Perfect Light Experience

This originally started as a documentary, The Perfect Light where 30 leaders within their professions, from professors in neurology to interaction designers, provided their insight. The next stage was ‘the experience,’ a research project in Japan, from 4th to 8th June 2018.

The opportunity was won by creating a short film for the competition, that was selected for The Perfect Light Experience

The trip to Japan included a stay in James Turrell’s House Of Light, a walk in a beach forest, and also a trip to Citizen HQ at Mount Fuji.

Stuart was selected alongside theatrical designer, Alejandra Escobedo and Franceso Anselmo, a lighting designer from Arup. This was alongside judge Florence Lam, head of lighting at Arup, Nayan Kulkarni of NK Projects and hosted by Atsuro Ijichi from Citizen.



Stuart’s Perspective

How was the experience? What is the perfect light?

Stuart found that in searching for the perfect light, it was the journey and learning, rather than the end result or the ‘glory moment.’ He said, ‘I am someone that believes in the journey of life being the thing that helps enrich us all, not a photo, a statement, or a Facebook like.”

“There was a moment when the team walked up Mount Fuji. The mist cleared and then we saw the mountain in all its glory. This was where the light reaches through the mist and gives a crystal clear view. This is what the perfect light is all about.”

“We can help create the best lighting and use lighting technology to enhance a space, but to me, it is the experience you have on a personal level.”

“What we interpret as individuals, goes far beyond what is created from artificial lighting. The moments in our life are accentuated by the light around us.”

“The perfect light is something that makes your day better. We can’t live our lives via a Juno Instagram filter. Social media is the wallpaper to cover the real world. For instance, when staying at the House Of Light, I’ll never forget waking up at 3.05am after going to sleep at 1am to be so mesmerised by a square cut in the roof showing me the sky. Sometimes it is the most simple and beautiful things you take for granted, that when presented differently it makes the most poignant experiences.”

Hold The Mirror Up, Not The Selfie Stick

Stuart believes that rather than spending our lives looking at a screen, where we record and share every moment, it takes away from appreciating the real world. He commented, “The shadows of the rooftops where the light catches the chimneys, to the light shimmering on the sea, the small moments in the everyday, this is the perfect light.”

Stuart recalls a part of the trip he remembered fondly. “Staying at James Turrells house was a great experience. He based his house on the seminal 1933 book by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows. At the House of Light I discovered that the opening page had a rectangle with publishing information on it, I cut this out and we viewed the sun setting over the hills in the distance. We observed how light scatters in between them.


Let’s Bring To An End 

Stuart’s journey and trip to Japan highlighted the importance for us all to take a look around the spaces we are all part of.

The perfect light is down to what you see and how you translate it in your own way. As Stuart concluded, “It is time to hold the mirror up and not a selfie stick. The phone is about pushing messages outwards, the mirror is about being reflective and looking back within the moment we find ourselves and the space around us.”

“In the world of lighting design, we can make the real world more colourful, more vibrant and more interesting. It is up to the individual to interpret and fit into their life.”

The perfect light is in front of us all.