The annual Amsterdam Light Festival is a magical time in the Dutch capital. From November to January, 30 artworks light up the centre of Amsterdam and visitors can view the sculptures and installations on foot, by bike or by boat. The festival celebrates artists from around the world and this year, one of our own is included in the line-up. Gali Lucas is a Senior Designer in our Amsterdam Studio and will be exhibiting her sculpture, ‘Absorbed by Light’. We caught up with Gali to find out a bit more about the idea behind her work and the exciting process to come…
Hi Gali! How do you feel being one of the 30 artists selected for Amsterdam Light Festival this year?
Surprised! For two reasons: firstly, because I mostly work in 2D and secondly, because my idea is very literal, as you’ll see.
Why did you enter?
I’ve wanted to get involved in the festival for some time. When I started chatting to our Creative Directors about entering, they encouraged me to pursue it. As a Designer, I think that it’s important to diversify the work you do to keep yourself inspired, and it’s also important to immerse yourself in your environment – for me, the unique tempo of Amsterdam. Part of our work at Design Bridge is designing brand experiences, and you can’t get a better example of experiential design than the Amsterdam Light Festival.
Tell us about your concept for ‘Absorbed by Light’.
The idea for this piece came very naturally – almost like I’d been thinking about it unconsciously for a while. Cycling to work in the mornings, I see people lost in the light of their mobile phones. On park benches, on the tram, in restaurants – no one talks to each other anymore. The white light and white noise is a bit eerie if you look at it in a certain way – and you’ll see this come through strongly in the final work.
I also wanted to create something that everyone could relate to. In the past, works in the festival have been extremely abstract. I didn’t want to have to explain the idea – I wanted people to get it instantly, so I went for something more cerebral. The idea felt like a good fit for using light as a medium, too.
As well as being intriguing to look at, I wanted my sculpture to be interactive. There will be an opportunity for visitors to experience the work and become part of it when they sit in amongst the figures.
Who will be creating the sculpture and how will you be involved?
Initially I explored 3D printing to execute the work, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a cost-effective option. I took to Instagram and came across Karoline Hinz, a sculptor who works solo from her studio in Berlin who seemed perfect. She was eager from the start. It’s also kind of cool to have a female artist creating the sculpture. I’ve been visiting her studio during the creation process to see the work in progress.
We know the theme for this year’s festival is ‘The Medium is the Message’. How does this feed into your daily design life?
Most of my designs are quite literal – I don’t believe in convoluted design for the sake of it. In some way, I suppose this keeps me quite loyal to the medium and simplicity of the message.
Why is the Amsterdam Light Festival important for Amsterdam?
The festival was initially launched to boost tourism in the winter months, but it’s become so much more than that, especially for those of us who live here. It’s a celebration of the canals and the crucial role that water plays in the design of the city, even when there are many hours of darkness and the temperatures drop.
Events like this are also important because they challenge designers. In my opinion, it’s important to make design a part of life outside of work. I try to always have a personal project on the go, even if it’s just designing a tattoo for a friend, portrait photography, or some sign painting on the side. I’m always surprised how a project that’s completely personal and not work-related can spark ideas to solve problems for client work.
What was your journey to Design Bridge?
I interned at Design Bridge in 2013 whilst I was studying in UK. A few years later, I entered the Dog’s Bollocks Student Awards and then started chatting to the team about a position in the Amsterdam Studio. I wanted a change from London, and Amsterdam was the start of something new. I’m not Dutch, but this city has become my home – which makes participating in the festival all the more special.
Home sweet home. Thanks Gali!
The Amsterdam Light Festival runs from the 29th of November 2018 to the 20th of January 2019. We’ll be sharing updates on Gali’s artwork – and the design magic of the event itself – throughout the festival, so keep an eye on our blog and social media.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.amsterdamlightfestival.com.