Artificial Light: The Exhibition "Lightopia"

The Vitra Design Museum Displays Path-breaking Light Design with Examples from Architecture, Design, and Art.

The electric light has revolutionised living space as virtually no other medium has in the last century. It changed cities, created new forms of living and working, and became an engine of progress. Sparked by new lighting technologies, a profound change is becoming clear today in the world of artificial light. Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein is dedicated to this development with the exhibition "Lightopia" that runs until March 16, 2014. Vitra – furnishings specialist and exhibitor at the imm cologne 2014 – is presenting the comprehensively designed show at its location using examples from art, design, architecture, and many other disciplines.

"Lightopia" covers some 300 works, among them works by numerous icons – for example, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Achille Castiglioni, Gino Sarfatti and Ingo Maurer – from the Vita Design Museum's lighting collection that up until now has never been publicly displayed. Other exhibits illustrate the performative energy of light, such as the famous "Light-Space Modulator" by László Moholy-Nagy or the spectacular reconstruction of a 1968 disco that is completely made out of translucent Plexiglas. At the centre of the show however are designers and artists like Olafur Eliasson, Troika, Chris Fraser, Front Design, Daan Roosegaarde, Joris Laarman, realities:united and mischer’traxler, who exemplify the new possibilities of designing with light. Among the exhibits are numerous interactive and accessible installations in which visitors can experience the archaic power of light for themselves.

A panorama of lighting design arises out of the dialogue of the exhibited works – from the beginnings of the industrial society to the visions that will determine our future. If nothing else, the look back at the history of lighting design sharpens the view towards today's radical changes. If new synthetic materials, coloured light, or halogen lighting were the driving forces for new designs in the last 100 years, then today it is digitalisation and OLED technology. In the last few years, they have led to the fact that light has ever more strongly detached itself from the classical object of lighting, become integrated in textiles and façades, and taken on a completely new importance as a space-shaping force. Based on these changes, the exhibition also considers the questions that are coming into focus today. How can architects, designers, and artists use light in such a way that it protects our resources? How can the problem of light pollution be addressed? With its interdisciplinary approach, the show demonstrates how lighting design has shaped modern living spaces, investigates the contemporary paradigm change, and places it in the larger context of cultural history.

"Lightopia" is accompanied by an extensive supporting programme of lectures, discussions, symposia, and workshops with renowned artists, designers, and scientists. Among the guests will be Winy Maas/MVRDV, Troika, realities:united and mischer‘traxler, among others. A comprehensive catalogue with articles by international design and lighting experts accompanies the exhibition that will be shown in further museums following the presentation in the Vitra Design Museum.

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