April 4, 2022
This article was originally released as a news story on Lightemotion’s website
Lightemotion’s consultative approach makes it unique in the field and, during a pandemic, they helped pioneer a remote team approach to lighting that further polished an already remarkable exhibit.
The 2017 exhibit Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, launched at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs of Paris then presented at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, is now at Shanghai’s Long Museum West Bund. The timeless elegance and avant-garde chic of the House of Dior are displayed in their full glory thanks in part to Lightemotion’s lighting treatment, bathing the glorious experience in a glow befitting the iconic brand.
The extraordinary scenography, laid out in a series of 14 very unique thematic universes, stages exceptional pieces including more than 270 haute couture dresses. Complex dynamic lighting interacts with each item, and an ever-changing video environment enhances the visitor’s experience while many different complementary ways invite interaction between the visitor and the exhibit. This exhibit—the first big international exhibit put together after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020—is even more inspiring in that it was set up and directed remotely, which presented an opportunity to create a ground-breaking approach.
Lightemotion was in position, at the beginning of the pandemic, to revolutionize the lighting process. At its core, the company is built on the principle of consultation; combined with a feedback process throughout the lighting design and setup, Lightemotion uniquely aligns its vision with the client’s’, making a huge difference in the final product. The process is simple yet revolutionary, and helps the work seamlessly come together.
Professional cameramen, using high-resolution cameras, helped get the exact feel of each room—the colors, the warmth, and the space. They installed a number of cameras on tripods to give the team simultaneous views of each room from various angles, and of each item that needed to be lit. At the same time, other cameras moved at eye level through the room and around the specific item being lit in order for the team to experience the overall visitor experience around each piece set within the room.
The remote lighting team was connected to the museum staff through a Zoom link, open during specific times; the link and the schedule were shared with all the other exhibit teams. Although this link was specifically for lighting work, any member of any team could pop in at any time. When they did, they were invited to share their thoughts on whatever was being worked on at that time.
The lighting team’s Zoom link was also used to bring specific individuals into the decision-making process. For example, while working on the lighting of a specific dress, Lightemotion would see a handful of possibilities, each highlighting a different aspect of the dress; members of the other teams would be invited, through their preferred instant messaging platform, to pop in and contribute to the consultation. Twelve hours over Zoom daily for a month brought together almost everyone, allowing for unmatchable attention to detail. This unique installation process allowed for the creative genius of each team to come together like never before. The scenographer, Nathalie Crinière (from Agence NC), was able to hone her vision in unison with not only Lightemotion, but also with La Méduse, who is behind the exhibit’s video environment. Through constant conversations over the open Zoom link, the Lightemotion team was able to align its vision completely with that of the curator, Oriole Cullen, and the scenographer. The House of Dior’s story was thus not just illumined; it was illuminated. The visitor’s eyes are now directed, through curation, scenography, and lighting, to where the story wants it to go. One just needs a few moments in the room dedicated to the New Look to see this. To help visitors better reflect on its far-reaching influence, they are invited to contemplate the similarities and differences between the endless iterations through, amongst other, a lighting treatment enhancing various features and embellishments.
The unity of vision developed through constant conversations over the open Zoom link helped craft an exhibit that also masterfully embraced the unusual and unique architecture of the Long Museum. The environment created by this consultative process was imbued with generosity of time, quality feedback, a spirit of inclusivity, and a continuous strengthening of team spirit despite the remote work situation. Lightemotion has always been about truly understanding what the client wants, and through this project, was able to further hone its unique, ground-breaking approach.