Lighting designer Moritz Waldemeyer speaks to editor Hamish Kilburn about 2019 trends, the power of lighting therapy and how one moment in time can dramatically change the direction of a creative’s career…
Anyone who has had the pleasure to spend more than five minutes in the company of the multi-talented Moritz Waldemeyer will agree with me when I say that he is a breath of creative, fresh air. Despite having designed LED pieces for major players in popular culture such as music icons Ellie Goulding, WillIAm, Take That and fashion design hero Philip Treacy OBE, Waldemeyer’s head has always remained cool when working on many creative platforms.
Following a career-defining moment of lighting a costume collection for the closing ceremonies of both the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, Waldemeyer’s recent gaze in the hospitality industry saw him at the centre of many interesting conversations at London Design Festival last year. His personalised lighting installation entitled Journey of Colour at Focus18 raised eyebrows among designers from around the world on the potential of lighting within hotel design. “Timing is everything,” Waldemeyer says. “My knowledge of technology, which is an area that has always interested me, placed me in the design sphere with a unique skillset at the right time.”
Waldemeyer’s journey in the world of fashion, design and lighting started with an early interest for technology. Following his studies on mechatronics at Kings College London, Waldemeyer began experimenting with his passion for lighting – and after graduating, he gained experience working for Phillips in the product development team. It was at this moment in time, while other employees were working the nine-to-five, when Waldemeyer started to experiment with lighting and its boundaries. His forward-thinking attitude soon sparked the attention of the fashion world, which led to what was arguably his first major career break.
Paris Fashion Week 2007 witnessed Hussein Chayalan showcase dresses impregnated with servo-driven lasers that were engineered and programmed by Waldemeyer. With the aim to create a sensational atmosphere that captured the attention of the world’s media, Chayalan turned to Waldemeyer to emit laser beams from the dresses on the models who strutted spectacularly down the catwalk. “It’s a great, indescribable feeling to be part of fashion history,” Waldemeyer shares. “And it was after this show I realised just how revolutionary this was when figures in the music industry got in touch asking me how I could work with them to create visual experiences.”
“I am looking at animated lighting, which is super retro and exciting.”
Waldemeyer’s dip into the world of high-fashion, I believe, gives him a unique leverage when it comes to helping to transform lighting within hotel interior design spaces. But when it comes to looking ahead, it seems as if Waldemeyer is left wondering like the rest of us what defines a ‘trend’. “It’s really difficult to look at trends on a year-by-year basis, because I believe that the development isn’t that fast in lighting,” he comments. “However, from my point of view, we have yet to establish the limits of LED potential. I am looking at animated lighting, which is super retro and exciting.”
Following on from our insight into how the public areas of hotels are changing, there has been many debates about how the lobby and the guestroom can continue to evolve into new eras. Technology within lighting has unlocked the door to welcome in the opportunity of more atmospheric areas within the hotel, which is arguably the key to create the personalised hotel of the future. “Considering that the lobby is the first area that guests walk in to, I believe there is room for designers to be more playful,” he explains. “When it comes to the guestroom, though, I believe we as lighting experts need to ensure that we are creating intuitive lighting that works with the user. It’s a challenge to ensure we are creating seamless lighting experiences that don’t hinder the overall guest experience. It’s sometimes easy to forget when working on large pieces to view the experience from a guests’ point of view, but this is so important when it comes to the design of the lighting.”
“We deliberately use a lot of colour, which is arguably therapeutic with the aim to bring people back to themselves.”
One area within the interior design of hotels that continues to divide opinions is understanding the fundamental purpose of lighting in the guestroom. While designers aim to firmly establish lighting’s functional properties as well as its decorative qualities within the guestroom, there are questions rippling through the industry on how wellbeing can be incorporated within hotel design, and Waldemeyer may have the answer. He explains: “We deliberately use a lot of colour, which is arguably therapeutic with the aim to bring people back to themselves. Art pieces that use light to encourage calmness – similar to watching a roaring open fire – somewhat sedates the tone of the room and the guests’ minds. Using colour in this way has the complete opposite reaction to what happens when we as consumers stare mindlessly at our phones or devices.”
Waldemeyer strikes me as someone who is constantly looking ahead to establish new ways to be creative with lighting. “I’m excited about craftsmanship, which is really big on our agenda at the moment,” says Waldemeyer. “Travelling the world has allowed me to establish new avenues and my task at the moment is to understand how we can present traditional craftsmanship in lighting to a modern audience, which is challenging but also so rewarding at the same time.”
Waldemeyer’s own ‘journey of colour’ is, I believe, still in the very early stages when establishing what is possible within the future of commercial lighting. I leave the creative with focused lenses, now being able to zoom in to understand further the emotional links between our minds and how our hotels are lit. One of the largest conclusions, though, is seeing how outside influences, from areas such as fashion and popular music, can absolutely shed some light on the direction our industry should be heading when it comes to forward-thinking an innovation.
Main image credit: Moritz Waldemeyer Studio