Theater de Lampegiet A Local Tradition Inspires New Light Art Design
Many say that art in public places starts with the place itself. What unique stories were lived here? What memorable happenings have occurred? These are the exact questions that Tamar Frank asked before finalizing her design for a new light art installation at Theater de Lampedgiet. Located in the artist’s home country of the Netherlands in a town called Veenendaal, the theater takes its name from local lore. In the days of oil lamps, long before electric lighting, a “Lampegieter” refilled and lit the lamps of the city. Associated with this practice is also a celebration with lanterns, the same form Frank references within the pillars outside the theater.
The installation itself consists of 7 pillars of different colors with circular cutaways in the middle of the metal forms that reveal a radiating light within. Approaching the theater, there is an upward motion in the light art design from the slits being higher, closer to the theater. Receiving commissions from iconic cultural institutions and city councils is a responsibility that Tamar Frank takes quite seriously.
“The starting point in my work is defining the architecture and/or urban space and surroundings. Here I try to discover what is specifically unique about the location and sense how one physically moves through and around it.”
Working side by side with architect Johan Huibers, Frank could more closely echo the specific eccentricities of the building within her light art. For example, as opposed to the usual quadrangular shape of most architecture, there are many curves present in the 2004 Huibers remodel of the theater. So, the positioning of the pillars also arches, while the rising motion of their luminescent apertures presents another curve. Thus, parallels are drawn between the light art design and the building’s aesthetic.
This light art is not only beautiful, but functional urban art as well, as it leads patrons from the parking lot to the theater hall. It’s one more example of the symbiotic relationship that art in public places can have with architecture.
“Light can also work as a beacon”
In this case light indeed does function as a beacon. Because of the piece, much more attention is given to the front entrance, guiding people inside. Even in such a fast-paced world loaded with visual information, light art designs have the power to attract attention almost like magic. Incorporating them into an architectural site ensures that local people will take the time to notice the beauty of not only one building, but the whole city.