An Interview with Light Artist Liz West

Lumenpulse luminaires used for latest installation: “I’m an LED convert.”

Frankfurt, Germany

A stunning art installation of moving coloured light wowed designers at Light + Building in Frankfurt last week.

And the whole thing was done using Lumenpulse's Lumenfacade colour-changing LED luminaires.

Light artist Liz West, whose work has been described as "the closest thing to walking through a rainbow" created the dynamic installation for the lounge area at the IALD's Lighting Perspectives conference, where lighting designers relaxed between sessions.

The piece featured washes of vivid complementary colours on opposite walls, which change very gradually over time. The smooth effect that West wanted was made possible by Lumenfacade's asymmetric wallwash optic, which creates an even distribution of light from the top of the walls to the bottom, with no "hot spots".

Perhaps surprisingly, it's only the second time West has used LED. That's partly because she enjoys using the form of fluorescent tubes in her work, and partly because her first experience of LED wasn't the best.

"I'd not really considered LED until a couple of years ago when I got some very cheap LED tape, just to play with," West said. "I like products where the light is even, and it wasn't. Also, I often use the lighting product itself as a sculptural form in the work, so it really matters to me that it's a slick, contained light. Anyway, I managed to use it out of sight on the back side of a structure that I made, so you couldn't see the dots."

Now, though, her mind has been changed, and the Frankfurt installation uses only LED luminaires from Lumenpulse. "A lot of people in the last year or so have been trying to convince me of the merits of LED. When I visited the Lumenpulse office I was surprised in a nice way at what they could do, and that was because of the quality compared to what I'd experienced before," she said. "Now when I'm looking at LED products, I'm looking at the positives - the colour control, the fact that they're incredibly eco-friendly."

Visitors to the installation at Light + Building "used the room just how we wanted them to", said West. "For me and others it was a welcome break from pounding the halls. People were relaxing and using it as a space to reflect, which I think colour and light are good at doing."

"Each time I create something I'm surprised at the audience's reaction. People are so uninhibited in a coloured environment because it's not something they experience on a day-to-day basis."

West - whose formal education was in art, not light - says she has now become "like a sponge", absorbing knowledge about LED lighting. She's now working on a major commission for a museum in London - using LEDs, of course. "It's just about knowing the right light sources for the impact you want to have on the viewer," she says. "The more I learn the better."

The Lumenfacade Interior luminaires were specified with RGB LEDs and all-white casing and cables (matching the walls, floor and ceiling in the room, which have all been made white for West's installation).

Lumenfacade is also available as an in-ground or pendant luminaire, and with white LEDs - including tuneable white versions.

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