‘People smile when seeing a sad building dressed up'

Daniel Knipper

Jane Hanks meets a lighting expert who brings Lyon to life for the Fête des Lumières

Every year, for four nights in early December, over 2 million people visit Lyon for the Fête des Lumières, when a variety of different artists light up buildings, streets and parks with over 50 light installations which create a magical atmosphere. One of the lighting designers is 59 year old Daniel Knipper, who has been creating light shows all over France and the world since the 1980s. He told Jane Hanks what effect he wished to create for the public:

“I want to open people’s eyes to see the building I am lighting in a new way. When people are walking in a town they look down at their feet or at their smartphone and I want people to break out of the bubble they live in, look up and see new horizons. I use lighting, rather than video which means I don’t impose an image on a building, but I reveal what is there in the building itself, and each one has its own story.

I work with methods which come from the theatre and I use spotlights, with different colours and different qualities and I work with shadow as well as with light.

Strasbourg Cathedral

The ...

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