Intersecting retail lighting and art? Answers at EuroShop 2020
Art and retail? Philosophy of economics and lighting? Retail trade fair and wine? How does all this go together? Marcia Helen Sander reveals the theoretical concept behind these aspects. Meanwhile, you can get hands-on experience by visiting the “Light Art goes Retail” special area at EuroShop 2020 in Düsseldorf in Hall 9, Booth A75-B76. Düsseldorf artist Udo Sander – the father of our interview partner – collaborates with elan Beleuchtungs- und Elektroanlagen GmbH and will set up a light art production at the event.
Ms Sander, what do you want to achieve with your special area at EuroShop 2020?
Marcia Helen Sander: We are essentially staging a mini ‘revolution’. At the outset, art was not meant to be bound by purpose or function. This is commonly accepted as the factor that distinguishes art from design.
We now dare to take the next step of making art acceptable as a shopfitting component. Some art aficionados may scoff at this and express doubt or derision. But we see it from a different perspective: thanks to the intense competition from online businesses, brick-and-mortar retail must be open to changes and accept the task of making its stores uniquely interesting and attractive. In our opinion, shopfitters should create small art galleries. Retailers win customers if they produce store layouts and retail designs that inspire and offer a great experience.
And you show EuroShop visitors how it’s done?
All these thoughts and considerations prompted our idea of combining art, light and store design. As a lighting design company – mostly focusing on the shop segment – shopfitting stores comes naturally to us. Examples of this include Chanel in Stockholm, jewelry stores on Königsallee in Düsseldorf and numerous office spaces that require product staging.
We are now using my father’s exhibits to serve multiple purposes and functions, and to create synergies. On a space that covers 400 square meters, we will set various scenes to provide inspiration for a number of retail segments. The main scene features mannequins to appeal to the fashion industry. Also included are actual show elements combined with show lighting – of course!
We will also organize a culinary event to create the perfect backdrop. We paired up with Claudia Stern, the famous sommelier to host a wine tasting. Our goal is to appeal to all senses using taste, art, lighting and so much more.
Speaking of “appealing to the senses”: What makes light so fascinating and unique?
The fascinating aspect of light is that it gives substance to things. The targeted use of lighting allows you to produce certain moods and turn the humblest of stores into a definite eye-catcher.
Given that light is a key part of your job, does store lighting always stand out to you when you go shopping?
I recall one experience in particular: I was at a jewelry store and suddenly thought my own rings and my watch looked especially beautiful, making me wonder if I had cleaned them but had forgotten all about it. The store successfully chose the right lighting to elevate the sparkle of jewelry pieces. This is just one example that illustrates the highly important role lighting plays in a retail store.
I studied philosophy of economics at university and at first, was professionally not in my element when I initially joined the company. However, our associates who are all lighting designers made me acutely aware of the many different moods you can create with lighting.
What prompted the collaboration between Messe Düsseldorf and your father Udo Sander?
There’ s a long history to this: My father was a master student under Norbert Kricke at the Kunstakademie (academy of arts) Düsseldorf and has been exhibiting in Düsseldorf ever since his days as a student. There has been a cooperation between my father and Messe Düsseldorf for over a decade. We have already exhibited several times at the fairgrounds and the fair has already bought and exhibited several sculptures, including the life-size figure Raumzeittanz (Space-Time Dance) in the North Entrance.
Sculptures by Udo Sander
Paintings by Udo Sander
Interview: Julia Pott, EuroShop editorial team