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Happy 80th, James Turrell!

“I am interested in the physicality of light.” The world's most influential lighting artist, James Turrell, has changed our understanding of light forever. To mark his 80th birthday, we are dedicating this special section to him and to everyone fascinated by light. We have gathered insights into James’s approach and technologies, quotes from leading players in the lighting industry and an essay about light art's influence on new automotive interiors.

James Turrell’s medium is our perception.

When I first saw James Turrell’s Elliptical Glass at feno, I had never seen anything like that before. I was a bit upset that I had to leave it and go to a meeting. I was sitting in front of it for a bit taking it in. I felt like I have to reach my hand in to find out where it’s ending. I'm connecting with the art. It’s a strong pull and inspiration that I transfer to my daily work. Even if you have an engineering background, you ask yourself: How did James put this together? It’s sorcery. The emotional experience that his light brings has the power to completely change the way we understand automotive interiors.

Happy birthday, James. Please keep going.

Mohamed Abd El Ghani, Automotive Engineer Electrical UI/UX, OEM

James Turrell is one of the world’s greatest living artists, famous for working with light and space in the interplay between architecture and nature to create wonderful immersive experiences. These concepts can be transferred directly to automotive interiors where light can play a key role in creating new visual and emotional experiences in combination with technology and materiality.

Dr. Johannes Burtscher, Chief Financial Officer, Novem Group GmbH

I like the way James works with light. His arts have a great impact on people’s understanding of light.  I’m extremely proud to see Nichia’s LEDs being used in his exceptional works around the globe. It is a perfect symbiosis between high-end LED technology and the emotional dimension of light.

Xavier Denis, Head of Technical Marketing, Nichia Europe GmbH

James Turrell is one of very few people who know how to use light to shape and disassemble spaces and change their perception. His installations turn light into a defining part of the architecture. By changing the colors and brightness of the light from light sources that are hidden from view he conjures up moods and triggers emotions that remain in the memory for a long time. His ideas encourage me to rethink and revise everyday lighting designs in order to create spaces for the user that are exciting and inspiring.

Martin Reuter, Head of Realization Center, OSRAM GmbH

James Turrell opens up visual and emotional spaces that absolutely fascinate me as a physicist.

Stefan Rohrmoser, Chief Sales Officer RIDI Leuchten GmbH

Monochromatic light is virtually absent in nature. What happens to our perception when rooms are bathed in blue or red light? Mystical interiors are created that play with our perception and completely undermine our ability to orient ourselves. James Turrell is a true master of creating these sensual experiences. I am very grateful to him for these visual experiences. I look forward to many more and wish James Turrell many more creative years. Happy 80th.

Christian Bartenbach, [B]ART light-design-planning

We enjoy and appreciate every single experience when visiting your work, James. Especially when light comes to matter and transforms an architectural space into something new. There are so many aspects to realize. There’s a lot of information about personal perception and emotions. And there is this outstanding aesthetic experience, which we think comes from your perfectly shaped architecture and all the fading colours that come from your experience and imagination together with the refined invisible light technique behind. When we by chance looked at a „naked” platine from a glass piece at fenos production space this was already beauty itself for me.

Katrin Rohr & Cosima Frohnmaier, Lighting Designer and Architects, luxophil lighting

Thank you, James, for taking me on the journey. You taught me to focus less on the technical and more on the emotional. You have vastly heightened my awareness of perception and where its limits lie.

Karl Weinhold, Founder and Managing Director of feno GmbH

Turrell’s light art is inspirational not only in the academic context. Thanks to his implied perception of light in its interaction with the environment or architecture we can recognize natural light phenomena in everyday situations. Artworks with artificial light, such as Lightshaft II in Frankfurt, allow for a playful or even illusory interaction with the medium, creating new approaches to art in (semi) public spaces.

Katarina Haage, Art Historian, Frankfurt am Main

„James Turrell has opened my eyes!“

Learning from James Turrell: In his interview, Karl Weinhold reveals how collaboration with James Turrell has changed him and his company feno forever. The Managing Director intends to use this experience to “add lighting of a higher quality to automotive interiors and give drivers a greater sense of calm and wellbeing.”


The feno technologies behind the light effects

How do they do that? We take a look behind the scenes at three Turrell projects: Zug Station„Werk Light Transport“, Glass Works „Elliptical Glass“ and Skyspace Houston "Twilight Epiphany".

Project Zug Station: „Werk Light Transport“
Project Glass Works: „Small Glass Piece“

The sky comes down to us when it likes the light.

Projekt Skyspace Houston: "Twilight Epiphany"

Light can breathe new life into cars

“There will be massive changes in interior automotive lighting in the years ahead, giving the car a completely new value,” says Lars Raith, CEO of wontec, a consulting and service company for the automotive industry. In this personal essay he describes how OEMs will emotionalize their brand experience with applications derived from light art.


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