Ever since the dawn of human civilisation, the relationship between lights and festivities has been intrinsic and ever evolving. Its symbolism may change according to cultures, with the West associating it more with warmth and comfort and the East leaning towards a more philosophical interpretation of light being knowledge andwisdom, but the metaphoric flame remains the same. Ifthere is a celebration, there will be lights.
There is another aspect to illumination which manifests itself in palaces and stately homes – lights as a representation of grandeur. If one were to walk intothe Ca’Rezzonico in Venice, the sight of the magnificent Murano glass chandelier is guaranteed to inspire awe. Or the breathtaking expanse of the chandelier at the Opera Garnier in Paris, which served as inspiration for one of the key scenes in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom Of The Opera, will surely take your breath away. Momentarily, of course.
It is this aspect of lighting which spoke eloquently to Prateek Jain. “Bespoke lighting is a concept that is centuries old,” he says. “I am not an authority on the subject. But while travelling round the continent, I have always admired the made-to-order lights I have seen in various palaces as a tourist.”
Prateek is the co-founder of Klove Studio, a multiple award-winning practice which he established in 2005 with fellow lighting designer, Gautam Seth. A journey which began as a quest for perfection to understand the form and use of light as a primary medium that could transform space design, Klove is now a brand patronisedby captains of industry, luxury consumer brands, five-starhotels and celebrities such as Karan Johar and Suzanne Khan.
The experimentation of the last nearly 15 years has been driven by a vision to transform spatial design into surrealdimensions and to redefine the way luxury lighting is designed and produced in India. This creative urge has led the duo to imbibe techniques from traditional Indian craftsmen and then translate them into a contemporary narrative.
Along the way, they found their unique calling card in creating lighting based around blown glass and it now forms the cornerstone of Klove Studio’s visual aesthetic. “We were drawn to glass because as a material, it is brilliant and very fluid,” says Prateek. “It allows the imagination to run wild.” Definitely. But does delicate blown glass pair well with the sturdy metals required to create an elaborate light installation? “When one becomes aware of the nature of the material and its properties, then it is easy to use the two together in harmony,” replies Prateek. “Otherwise, we might struggle and think of it as a contradiction.”
In any sort of lightning design, whether celebratory, functional or artistic, there is a play of opposing factors, a yin and yang represented by light and shadow. How important is this contrast in Klove Studios’ overall scheme of things? “Whenever there is light and object, there is illumination and shadow,” explains Jain. “A good balance between both creates a beautiful ambience and mood. A good lighting designer will always play with this.”
This festive season when deciding on a lighting design for your home or work area, it would be good to keep the following factors in mind. A lot, of course, depends on the budget butbeyond financial considerations, there areaspects such as the space and volume of the area that one is looking to illuminate. The aesthetics of that space are a tremendous factor because they will play a primary role in selecting the patterns and colours of lights which will createjust the right effect for that area.
Then, there is functionality. Any way that you look at it, this is one of the most fundamental tenets of any design created to serve a practical purpose. The most exquisite creation will amount tonought if it does not fulfil the purpose for whichit has been created. Prateek Jain and Gautam Seth have kept this tenet close to their heart in Klove’s journey and seek to seamlessly combine the two. It is like celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright once stated, “Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”