The Darren Orrow Interview
Director, Into Lighting


Darren Orrow is a Director at into lighting. Judging from the amount of high profile projects this company has been involved with its hard to imagine how Darren has the time to do anything else. He has however agreed to a 9 question interview for illumni. These are his thoughts:


Pullman Hotel, London

The number of projects into lighting has been involved with is startling. What is the thing that motivates you most when sizing up a project’s potential and how does the creative process unfold?

We try to approach every project with the same passion and enthusiasm whatever the size. For me it’s about getting close to the client team and making sure they are involved in the creative process from brainstorming sessions through to mock ups and scene setting. The creative process is very much a partnership, sharing and developing ideas together to achieve the best possible end result within budget.


Hutong Shard

There are few buildings in the world with the ‘horizon impact’ of London’s Shard. into were responsible for the lighting design of Hutong Restaurant on the 33rd floor. The client, David Yeo is credited as contributing to the lighting design. How did this come about, how did the process work and was the client pleased with his efforts?

Again it’s about getting the client involved in the creative process; some clients get more involved than others. David Yeo already had a successful Hutong restaurant in a skyscraper in Hong Kong and he gave us a very tight brief on what he wanted to achieve for his Shard restaurant. We were engaged to realise his vision. We reviewed the restaurant in Hong Kong and assessed how we could further develop the lighting concept for the Shard project. During the design stages we reviewed every visual, lighting drawing, detail, light fitting and mock up together. The client was on site for all the scene setting at the end.


Asics, Stockholm

Your work has graced so many different environments but hospitality appears to be a particular speciality. Are there any unique considerations that need to be taken into account when lighting such venues?

We work across all sectors and are just as busy with retail and commercial office projects as we are with hospitality. Hospitality projects just seem to get more press as they photograph so well and there is less restriction on photography use than with commercial office projects. The considerations are specific to each project and client. Each project and client is very different so we avoid a formulaic approach or house style unless we are working on a rollout for a retail brand for instance.


Fold7  London – ad agency

You have been quoted as saying “into had to take on a technical manager to keep tabs on LED technology. We have never had to have someone like that before but things are moving so fast that our designers need that sort of support.”

New technologies are providing exciting opportunities for lighting designers both creatively and technically however we need to fully understand these technologies and how they work with each other. Our technical manager works across a range of research projects from getting into the detail of analysing the compatibility of leds with drivers and dimming systems/ checking if a fixture manufacturers published data really stacks up/ producing energy studies for projects/ keeping up to date with new legislation/ analysing new products.


La Chapelle, London – Galvin Restaurnats

If things are moving so quickly now, what does the future hold?

With new technologies continually coming to the market and increasingly stringent regulations, the lighting design field is becoming ever more specialist and lighting designers are in great demand. The days when architects and interior designers would be comfortable putting together a lighting scheme are becoming a distant memory. The lighting design profession is growing fast and we need more lighting design courses in colleges, universities and industry to train and encourage the next generation of lighting designers, both technically and creatively.


Il Milione, Hong Kong

What mechanisms or means do you employ to get an idea out of your head and into the clients so they can appreciate and enjoy it before it actually exists?

Naturally we produce visuals, mood boards and CGIs as required to convey our ideas but we do a lot of mock ups either in our studio or on site with the client. We love nothing more than getting a bit of foam board and creating replica lighting details or getting a plate of food and reviewing with a chef what light source best displays their food. We spend a lot of time with retailers reviewing different light sources and how they light their particular merchandise. We also carry out research trips with our clients to review the good the bad and the ugly of what their competitors might be doing.


Roka Aldwych, London

You have also said, “the initial reason we started using LED’s was their reduced size, reduced energy consumption, reduced heat output, reduced maintenance costs, all in comparison to light sources traditionally used in retail”. What’s the downside?

For me, in retail, LED doesn’t give the sparkle on merchandise and shop fixtures that you get with halogen or metal halide. There is also a flatness to LED light when you compare it to metal halide. Also from a maintenance point for retailers with a huge portfolio of sites with many in out of town retail parks they find when a LED light source fails the downtime whilst they wait for a replacement unit to be delivered and fitted means they can be without light on a retail display for some time. With metal halide shop staff can change the lamp the same day it fails. We spend a lot of time with retail clients reviewing metal halide and led lamp types and assessing the pros and cons specific to them. In hospitality we use led extensively but we have yet to find an LED source that we or our clients are happy with to light food well and create the right ambience in very high end restaurants.


Jitrois, Paris

into lighting has partnerships in Germany, Hong Kong, Dubai and the USA. How does the language of lighting design travel?

It’s a visual language so it very travels well. Our partnerships in these regions are predominantly based around technical support and project management and also to provide same language communication to contractors on site. We generally produce all our design drawings and specifications in English but we have the resources to produce an entire lighting design package in another language. We delivered the full lighting design package in French for the Pierre Marcolini lighting concept for their flagship store in Paris for example.

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