Having designed outfits covered in LEDs for Rihanna and ‘the most advanced piece of millinery in the world’ for Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay, designer Moritz Waldemeyer’s latest project is an emotive installation of light at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour for Focus/18.
ELLE Decoration: How do you describe what you do?
Moritz Waldemeyer: That’s a difficult question! I’m a curious creator of sorts, I go in directions that aren’t limited to a single discipline, borrowing strands from art and design and photography and fashion and just being just very free. I hesitate to use the phrase ‘Renaissance Man’ but perhaps it’s the closest. Polymath, perhaps?
ED: Light features prominently in your work – what materials do you prefer to use when design?
MW: I started out in my career alongside the rise in the innovation of the LED bulb – I was working at Phillips from around 2000, when LEDs were just little signal lights on radios. We had the sense they would become twice as strong and half as expensive, and the beauty of them for me is that they can be easily interfaced with electronics, easily controlled, used to create amazing effects and an incredible ambience. You can use them to tap into people’s emotions. You see, fire is something that is programmed into our beings, and we have an instant response to that. With LEDs I can find a way to mimic that, but make it look more curious than flames, amplifying the response.
ED: What was the brief that Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour came to you with?
MW: They wanted an installation that would be site-specific, would attract people, be a talking point, interactive and photogenic. I love the building’s octagonal domes, so was inspired by them to cover two walls in octagonal frames that will shine lights around the space. The Design Centre is all about decorative elements and full of wallpaper and fabric samples, so people will be able to bring swatches up to a camera by the lights and it will read their colours, turning the LEDs into that specific shade. It means the installation will be led by the curious, and we’ll be able to see which colours are the biggest trends of the season by which ones get shown to the camera most.
ED: What do you hope people will get from it?
MW: At the moment, nothing is more necessary than positivity – we are being overrun with negativity every time we open a newspaper. Design needs to counteract that and bring balance back to the world with positive vibes – that’s what my practice is all about.
Waldemeyer’s installation ‘Journey of Colour’, a 12 metre long walkway of light, will be open 16 – 21 September;