• Marc Langlois

Masters of Light: Marc Langlois

June 2018 - by SORAA

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Meet Marc Langlois, lighting designer at Detroit Institute of Arts. From illuminating some of the world's most recognized art to innovating lighting design techniques, Langlois is irrefutably a SORAA Master of Light.

While we were visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts, we met with Marc to discover how he illuminates the museum and its exhibits with SORAA. Read our interview with Marc to learn more about his exhilarating career as a museum lighting designer, along with an exclusive Spotify playlist curated by Marc himself for boundless inspiration.

SORAA: What career advice would you give other young lighting designers seeking to make their mark on the industry and grow a professional profile?

ML: Allow yourself to become obsessed. Don’t settle for things that you think look ‘good.’ Make every project something you’d be happy to see every day because someone is going to have to see it every day. There is a greatness that can come out of every project and your job is to push through and find that greatness to make something you are proud of.

Which project are you most proud to have led?

ML: Lighting "Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume" was one of the largest and most successful projects I have worked on. Being able to display and illuminate some of the most iconic costumes and drawings in modern pop culture was a dream of mine. Being able to light things that I grew up watching, like R2D2, was a real highlight in my career.

Secondly, I always refer to my first project I ever worked on at the Detroit Institute of Arts when I was just getting my feet wet into museum lighting. In “Ordinary People,” I had the incredible opportunity to work with Robert White at Illuminart who became a mentor to me and provided me a standard of what I wanted to become as a lighting designer. That has always been a very special experience for me and I continue to look up to the work Bob does.

If you were to work on a dream project, what would it be?

ML: I would love to start creating works of art involving lighting and controls. I see so many opportunities to merge these two fields of lighting together and make very interesting and interactive works of art. Bringing lighting design to sculpture is something that has always interested me and could be something I begin to pursue in the very near future.

As more parties enter the architecture and design phases of a project, lighting design becomes more challenging. What do you envision as the ideal ecosystem of the interaction between the architect, contractor/project manager, lighting designer, manufacturer and client?

ML: Having great relationships and communication with all parties of a project is huge, and using those relationships to talk through difficult parts of your project is an essential function to the success of a project. I hope that as technology grows, there will be some form of project management infrastructure built into a lot of the software we all use to help us maintain communication on all aspects of a project.

We are seeing software grow at a rapid rate and as more becomes available, I see it becoming a tool that could encompass all aspects of a project. Rather than using multiple pieces of software, for example, one large, integrated “home base” piece of software would make things a bit more seamless. As our use of controls becomes as important as the light sources themselves, being able to integrate ourselves a little more with the architects and engineers on a project becomes even more crucial.

How do you see the lighting design industry evolving in the next 5-10 years?

ML: Everything we spec will be connected to a control system and the Internet in some way, making lighting more accessible and interactive for the user. The development of controls is growing at such a rapid rate and integrating with luminaires so seamlessly; I believe the idea of a dimmer and wall switch will soon be behind us. Once the commercial application of these systems normalizes in all construction, we will see a shift into the residential side of things, making controls a must in new housing so that lighting can change with the user.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Notice lighting in every aspect of your life and build your style and persona of lighting design from that. Let your environment show you how to create and add your own flare to it. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to do something different. Use your vision and make something original.


Fun Facts that Make Me Who I Am

  • I have never lived more than 30 minutes from Detroit.

  • I am a very early riser and would rather be at work at 5 a.m. than to be seen there at 5 p.m.

  • I’m an avid cyclist, and I love to be in and surrounded by nature.

  • I have a 6-year-old Siberian Husky.

  • I fell in love with Iceland as a 16-year-old and finally got to visit 2 years ago. I will go back again this year.

Favorite Podcasts & Music

Read more lighting wisdom from Marc Langlois, an ongoing contributor to SORAA.com


Listen to Marc’s Spotify Playlist


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