Designer lights up the glamorous life

Thu May 19, 2011 10:51am EDT
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Whether illuminating a celebrity wedding at the Plaza Hotel, a runway show for Victoria's Secret, or Yoko Ono's birthday party, designer Bentley Meeker knows he's got it right when his lighting sings to his soul.

"There's a moment at every event where we adjust the light levels, and we all look at each other and we all know that's it," said Meeker, who has been transforming venues with light for 20 years.

"It's not a technical thing, although we do highly technical installations," he said. "It comes down to one thing -- does it sing to you? When it sings to you, that's the moment. That's transcendent."

The 200 photographs in Meeker's coffee table book, "Light X Design: 20 Years of Lighting," showcase the work of the designer who has shined his cutting-edge light on an array of high-end events, from a bar mitzvah with Aerosmith performing, to the launch of Oprah Winfrey's magazine, to Chelsea Clinton's wedding day.

"It's all about taste and there's no rehearsal," said Meeker, 43, who began his career as a photographer's assistant when he was 14, lit the New York City disco Palladium in the 1980's, and moved on to event lighting after a screenwriter's strike wiped out his film work.

"Every project has a different objective," said Meeker. "Do you want it to be serene? Do you want it to be romantic? Do you want it to be red? Do you want it to be timelessly beautiful? Do you want it to be restrainedly elegant?"

Often at today's multi-media events lights must also multi-task.

"For a fashion show you want a visually crisp environment for the clothing to be seen," he said, "but it's also got to suit the video. It's a tricky thing."   Continued...

 
<p>The Plaza Hotel&rsquo;s Terrace Room is illuminated only by candles in New York City in this 2003 photo. REUTERS/Light X Design/Bentley Meeker/Handout</p>