All the World’s a Stage!

Lunch and Learn
  • January 18, 2023
    11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

An Examination of the Architectural Application of Theatrical Design’s Five Controllable Qualities of Light.

Architectural and Theatrical Lighting design were born of the same place about a hundred years go and have diverged considerably as time’s gone by. As they’ve diverged, one has focused on establishing a sense of reality and emotion for the imaginary with little to no attention to measure and metric where the other, perhaps more focused on quantity over quality, on the effective illumination of that which exists. In the last few years as digital lighting become the standard in Architectural Design with LED luminaires and networked controls, coupled with an expanding understanding of the effects of Light and adoption of Human Centric design practices – coupled with COVID’s Work From Home orders quickly followed by Return to Offices everywhere, never has there been a bigger need for a reconvergence of the two disciplines and an embracing of the effects of Theatrical approaches offer within Architectural design to effect the response of the end-user.

So, with these established measurements and metrics how can Light address the emotional qualities of a space?

Whether establishing the passion of a tango or the sadness of a soliloquy; recreating the warmth of a Bob Cratchit’s hearth or the cold and steely nature of Scrooge’s bedroom, a theatre lighting designer’s tool kit is the five qualities of light: Form, Colour, Direction, Movement and Intensity used covertly or overtly in the hopes of triggering universal emotional responses from the audience to reinforce the action or scene on stage.

Beginning with an exploration of the universal themes and their intended or unintended effects, we will take an in-depth look at these five qualities of light, their definitions, common effects and applications off the stage. How considerate choices made through concept, design development, and commissioning to craft the response to every space.

Speaker: Ian Martens

Ian MartensIan’s award-winning design career straddles the Performance and Architecture domains. Beginning 20 years ago, a fifteen-year year theatrical design career took him from stage to stage designing for over a hundred productions and garnering professional awards and nominations along the way. In 2014 his focus shifted from Stage to Architecture – expanding his understanding and use of light and its design. A challenge he’s embraced building a portfolio spanning hundreds of projects – using Light to enhance the human experience on and off stage.

His work has been recognized with an IES Awards of Merit for Calgary’s New Central Library and Glenmore Dam Rehabilitation and recognized for his contributions as part of Award the design teams for award-winning projects such as West Eau Claire Park and the Royal Alberta Museum Giftshop. Holding a Master’s degree in Theatrical Design and Production from the University of Calgary he has been an active member of the IES Calgary Board of Directors, heading up the Education portfolio from 2017 to 2020, teaching Fundamentals of Lighting from 2017 until the present. Additionally, he has instructed on Production design for Redd Deer College and guest-lectured on Architectural Lighting Design for the faculties of Engineering and Environmental Design at the University of Calgary.

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