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Spotlight on Notting Hill Neighbour, Dominic Harris, interactive light designer and artist
‘ And the winner of this year’s best lighting dimmer switch goes to…’
Dominic Harris has just won the 2014 “Best Luminaire’ Award at the Lighting Design award (the Oscars of the lighting world, for those of you who aren’t in the know), yet he is still not satisfied. He won the 2008 ‘Breakthrough Talent of the Year’ at the FX International Design Awards, the FX ‘Best Bar and Restaurant Design’ award in 2009, the 2012 ‘Small Projects’ and ‘Small Retail’ awards at the Lighting Design Awards, and multitudes of other awards and accolades, yet he is still not satisfied. How much more ego-stroking does this artist need to finally be satisfied?
It is probably this perpetual dissatisfaction and quest for perfection that has made him such a brilliant, innovative and unique artist. The Oxford dictionary’s synonyms for artist are ‘creator, ‘originator,’ ‘designer,’ ‘producer,’ and he fits the bill. His art combines lighting, architecture, electronics, motion graphics and a number of other disciplines to create small-scale pieces of art to large-scale interactive commercial and public events, products, and exhibits. He founded his studio, Cinimod Studios, in 2007 and has already moved offices once because it has grown so quickly and is currently looking for new space to expand his workforce and workspace. When you enter his studio, it looks more like a trading floor than an art studio, with rows of tables and computer screens in a large open space, but it’s not until you enter his workshop and viewing room that you understand the balance of art, design, and technology.
I am sure you still have no idea what Dominic does, but for those who live in London, you will most likely have seen his art in a commercial or public setting. The ITSU butterflies, particularly the T5 Heathrow butterflies, are my personal favorites. For those who like frozen yogurt, his studio is behind the SNOG outlets, winning him ‘Best Bar and Restaurant Design’ award in 2009. In 2012, he created a 50 ft., 3.2 ton ‘Halo’ illuminated by 200KW LED light flown over the Thames by a helicopter, making an illusory effect of a flying UFO, for the launch of the Halo 4 Xbox 360 game. The V & A commissioned an exhibit for their Exhibition Rd tunnel entrance that allowed the visitor to control the light through their movement. In Peru, he illuminated the Peru National Stadium with the crowd’s cheers by creating a mood analysis system that processed sound in real time and translated it into changing lights on the outward façade of the stadium. EDF Energy commissioned an interactive art installation in the London Eye where a viewer could change the lights on the London Eye with their heartbeat. It is with cutting edge motion graphics, electronics, thermal tracking devices, industrial design and architecture fused together that he manages to create groundbreaking art.
His smaller pieces have become a must for wealthy design collectors. Billionaires, pop artists, entrepreneurs, and fashion designers have one in their homes. He exhibits in art fairs all over the world, from Art Basel in Miami to art14 London just last month and it was at a Kinetica show that he met Ron Dennis, CEO and chief executive of McLaren, who has now become his principal investor and mentor. It was with Ron Dennis sitting by his side that Dominic accepted the ‘Best Luminaire’ award this year for his Moon OLED chandelier. The moon OLED chandelier can be commissioned with any number of spheres, each sphere made up of a flat light layer in a polished acrylic sphere rendering the light source invisible when viewed on certain angles or made to look like a moon crescent from other angles. He is currently working on a second, more perfect version of the Moon OLED chandelier, being the consummate perfectionist, and a sculpture at Heathrow T2 for the Caviar House on top of many private commissions for famous people who are too famous to mention here. Ron Dennis, his most famous public collector, saw the potential of the rising star a few years ago, but this star has now clearly already risen.