A truly powerful tool: Designing with light

TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | PHOTO © GABRIELE ALLENDORF LIGHT IDENTITY GMBH

Gabriele Allendorf and her Munich-based company Light Identity create stunning light concepts for both interior and exterior spaces. Allendorf shows what a crucial part light plays for our well-being and how it can be used effectively to enhance or develop corporate identities.

Gabriele Allendorf discovered her passion for lighting design early on in life. As a child, she was a ballet dancer and when the time came for the dress rehearsal, Allendorf was amazed how an otherwise dark and empty stage could be turned into something truly magical just through lighting.

“I remember how everything inside me went ‘wow’ when the lights were finally switched on and this black box in front of me was suddenly turned into a proper stage,” Allendorf remembers with a smile. “Just imagine the visual poetry of a tiny white feather illuminated by a single spotlight following it whilst it floats gently down to the floor. It’s simply beautiful.”

That passion remains unchanged and Allendorf is nothing short of an artist. Only instead of paint, she uses lights. Allendorf’s enthusiasm and love for her craft is genuine and her successful projects stand testimony for it. The company’s portfolio is accordingly extensive: from administration, public buildings, office buildings, showrooms and trade fairs to light art, gastronomy and private buildings – Allendorf’s team welcomes every challenge. Finished projects include prestigious clients such as the European Patent Office, BMW Group Classic and the Pariser Höfe, to name but a few.

Lighting that matches corporate identities

Her services are structured into three main areas. The first one is light consulting and planning. Often, it is Allendorf’s first step to explain the impact of light in general. “It might sound trivial to discuss the effect of daylight or of compass directions,” Allendorf explains. “But we often find that most people are not very aware of it. During those first conversations we also try to really get to know our customers and understand what matters to them individually.”

In order to do light planning, the team conducts in-depth research, as Allendorf points out: “We examine all aspects that are connected to the location, the company or the person. From history to existing branding and special features of the surroundings, we take everything into account. The reason for this extensive research is based on my own experience. If we truly understand our clients and their projects, we are in a much better position to create something meaningful together.”

Light planning includes the entire package for realising a project from start to finish, with Allendorf’s close supervision during all stages.

Exploring the potential of light together

Allendorf and her team also design custom-made project lights. For example, if the office building of a company needs lights and there is nothing available on the market which can match the building’s specific architecture, Allendorf designs the lights herself. These custom-made lights reflect the client’s corporate identity and continue the existing architectural signature. “It’s important to me that the lights contribute to a better representation of a company and that they form the framework for the communication of the people who meet in that particular environment,” Allendorf says.

The third service component Allendorf’s company offers are workshops, and it is an aspect she values dearly. The workshops are designed for companies and employees who want to understand the potential that lighting holds. Instead of Allendorf simply telling them how lights can be used to their advantage, she has developed these practical workshops. They provide the framework for clients to experience on a first-hand basis how big an impact light actually has.

“We look at all the senses. How is light perceived by us? How does it affect my mood? Light is also a dialogue with the used materials,” she adds. “If, for example, you hold a red piece of silk and point a blue light at it, it will create a very cold effect. But if you shine some candle light onto it, there will be a vibrant fiery effect. In my workshops we also experiment with various materials and let our clients experience the power of lighting. Once we have kindled people’s enthusiasm, there are so many more possibilities and it is a sheer joy to work together on concepts for their projects and brands.”

Allendorf not only designs beautiful light concepts, but with her lights, she also brings people together and encourages communication. “People unfold their potential when they feel good,” she says. “And lighting plays a major role. Take for example a ride on the underground. Nobody feels good in that light. With our light concepts we create the opposite setting and hence encourage people to thrive.”

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