Posted in From the Editor
on September 12, 2016 11:14 am EDT
The Power of Light
How do you as church designers create with light, helping your clients to channel it and control it?
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 (NIV)
The SeptOct 2016 issue of Church Designer is all about light and design. How do you as church designers create with light, helping your clients to channel it and control it? How do you help them use light so that attendees focus on and feel what’s happening in worship?
“ … we wanted to add depth by casting the light against the very natural texture of the pine, fir and spruce wood of the CLT [cross laminated timber panels].”
—Susan Jones, FAIA, Principal Designer, atelierjones, Seattle, WA
Church Designer gave the floor to Long Beach, Calif.-based David Martin Jacques, professional lighting and stage designer and head of stage design at Long Beach State University, in our SeptOct 2014 issue. Jacques reported then that his initial lighting consultation with church clients includes conversations about styles of worship, technology needs, and user operation: “Big questions and considerations include: How is the church utilizing video? Do they only use IMAG [image magnification on video screens] or will they also be broadcasting? Are there musical presentations during the services? What is the style of these musical presentations? Will there be events like pageants that need specialized theatrical lighting? Does the worship space also require improved house lighting that integrates with the stage lighting? Answering these questions will lead me to [understand] the extent of lighting design [that is required, as well as] the appropriate fixture and control specifications,” Jacques reported.
First Congregational Church, Bellevue, WA. Image courtesy of atelierjones.
Fast forward to 2016, and light is called upon to act as a key “material” in the design of First Congregational Church, Bellevue (BFCC) in Washington State, Church Designer's SeptOct issue feature. Principal Designer Susan Jones, FAIA, of Seattle’s atelierjones, notes, “ … we wanted to add depth by casting the light against the very natural texture of the pine, fir and spruce wood of the CLT [cross laminated timber panels].” Here, the strategic use of electric and natural light helps to reinforce the relationship between light and other materials.
Whether light in worship refers to theatrical lighting on a rock ‘n roll stage or some ethereal combination of natural light mingling with pendants suspended through custom rings, as in BFCC, light is inextricably tied to the divine. And what better place to showcase it than in sacred space?