From the moment I glimpsed an advance cover of Bentley Meeker’s
Light X Design: 20 Years of Lighting
I not only wanted to review the book, but to develop a series of stories around it. Light has such a profound effect on our surroundings, our moods, our memories-- our lives. And yet it's so often an afterthought, or not thought of at all. But for decades it has been thought about, played with, produced by Bentley Meeker. He and his firm, Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging Inc., have created the ambiances for celebrity weddings (Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones, Billy Joel & Katie Lee), luxury brand launches (Christian Dior's J’Adore perfume, Blackberry Bold), superstar charity fundraisers (with Elton John at the piano), extravagant bar mitzvahs (one recreated the Las Vegas strip), and much more.
When my review copy of Light X Design arrived, it delivered, at first glance, just what I expected: page after oversized page of lavish photos, a kaleidoscope of eye candy. At second glance, I noticed that someone had wisely arranged the book not by event type or chronology but by venue. And so you realize that the electric blue fairy tale forest of Melissa Rivers’ wedding existed in the same Terrace Room of the Plaza Hotel as a wedding that seems to float on clouds of soft candlelight. Or that a dizzying two-page spread features 36 shots of the exact same space lit 36 completely different ways. And yet despite the technical complexity that must go into these projects, according to Meeker the heart of every design--no matter what the occasion, the budget, the client—is to achieve one goal:
Make the space and the people in it look and feel incredible.
Frankly, I had not expected to find such straight talk in a coffee table book. And so I decided to head to New York City for the Light X Design book launch and see for myself just how this mix of simplicity and spectacle worked in real life. And perhaps see ifBentley would have a chat. How fabulous would it be to glimpse into the mind of this star lighting designer and translate some of his magic for our everyday lives?
Turns out, pretty fabulous.
(to be continued ...)
by Bentley Meeker. Published by Glitterati Incorporated.
Cover photo of a Cynthia Rowley fashion show by Roger Dong.
"Use the good china for breakfast."