Interviewer: Angkana Kongchatri
Tan:Today we will have a light topic talking about home lighting, I chose this topic because last month (May 2016) I and Singapore staffs had a chance to visit Mr Mende’s new house in Tokyo during company trip.
Mende: Ahhhh… what time did you come, at night right?
Tan:We came around 9.30pm or 10pm. I think most of us have a same feeling that your place is very impressive.
Firstly about atmosphere has a very warm welcome feeling with wood finishing, furniture, all decorative stuff and also lighting helps to enhance atmosphere be more warm.
So today I would like to have Mr Mende to share some of your experiences about home lighting.
Mende: My house you know, I and my wife don’t like to decorate so much, we do prefer on the simple way of living and keep all stuffs in storage.
For my new place, I am quite proud of use real material finishes like wood and stone, paper and plaster.
But this topic is quite difficult to say because home lighting is very particular for each family.
Each family has different comfortable feeling and value of life, such as Japanese or Thai may have much brighter perception of brightness comparing to European people, right.
Tan: How about you and your wife, do you have the same or different perception?
Mende: We have slightly different perception, like my wife is much more natural.
For my home, I will just setup the comfortable level, brightness, light & shadow or lighting intensity and then finally it is completely depend on my wife.
I asked ‘is this ok?’ ….hahahaha. Then I did a final tuning or preset for her.
Tan: I also have a different perception from my family; they do not prefer to be under warm light as feel too warm.
Understand that Mr Mende just moved to new house.
Mende:Yes, for 1 year and I did renovated lighting mainly at living room, dining room since this house used to belong to my very close friend and I did lighting design for them.
Tan: And one more thing I like when visited your house is the oil lantern, you use at outdoor terrace.
Mende: It is a present from my American friend; oil lantern can give more comfortable level as it can be dimmed not like a candle.
Tan: Do you still want to do anything for your own place?
Mende:In future when I have more free time, I want to design a special customized lantern or fitting in Japanese style only for my place.
Doing home lighting for other people is very difficult, you know.
Nowadays we are doing a private resident project in USA. They respect my sense of lighting; they said ‘Mr Mende, you can propose anything as you want’.
But I am quite afraid if they can accept 100% my proposal. This is very challenging!
Tan:Can we say for private resident is the most difficult project?
Mende:Yes, it is very difficult to design to fit to some person’s desire. For commercial or public space, we still can have some design logic that can be accept for the public or many people.
But still there are many lighting designers who work only for private resident project.
We, LPA don’t have so many private resident projects because we need to be very carefully to select client. Private resident is quite important but also quite difficult for both lighting designer and owner completely accepted design idea.
Tan:Or we can design for close friend.
Mende: Yes yes, very close friend. One time I had very bad experience to design lighting for private resident for my parents’ house.
Tan: Oh!! What was happened?
Mende: hahaha…. that is a small house for my parents and elder brother, they asked me to design lighting for them. At that time I was very young and used many downlights with halogen lamp and of course with dimmer.
They never used dimmer as they said ‘it was a bit too hot sometimes in summer and lamp was very often burnt.’ But my parents never said anything only my brother, he doesn’t like…. hahahaha. I have learnt so many things, my parents just love me and respect me but I believe that their experiences are different. It was a very bad experience!
Tan: In your opinion, which area of your house is the most sensitive area?
Mende:Usually it would be living or dining area, but for me it is toilet and bathroom.
Bathroom in luxury hotel is a bit too bright, my question is bathroom main function is more to wash body or relax to do a meditation. I prefer relax feeling in bathroom so lighting should be in a very low position and level. I prefer to use a candle in bathroom rather than downlight.
And you know, for Japanese toilet used to be a very spiritual place located in north side of our house. Spending time in toilet for me is not only to take out something but this is much more to purify my spirit and have some contact to nature.
Sometime is just for hear dropping water or raining sound. Toilet is not only a function!
Nowadays lighting in public toilet is bright and white, cannot spend too much time there.
Tan: I saw basin light at your old house, there is a combination of cool white and warm white fluorescent lamp.
Mende:Oh yes. We have completely different atmosphere in morning and night time in wash room.Light has to say ‘good morning! Mr Mende, wake up’ in the morning. But at night time is opposite, light should say “ otsukaresama, today you did well ”. So light will be a low colour temperature, low intensity and come from a low position.
Every part of house has a different function, bedroom as well and sometime bedroom can be a very exciting for a young couple that colour changing might be used but i didn’t do that …..hahaha.
My wife spends sometime to sleep but I need just 3 seconds; lighting is just simple and gentle.
And at entrance is quite important for meeting point and to welcome guests.
Tan: I understand from Mr Mende that light should have some conversation to user in different kinds of space.
Mende:And lighting can change different mood in the same space, this is quite important that one room can be flexible for multi-function.
Like a sense of Japanese tatami room that can have multi-function for living room or bedroom.
Nowadays lighting also can change a mood or activity.
Do you have any experience on private resident project?
Tan:Yes I do. When I worked in Bangkok, I had chances to design private resident for rich people. But their requirements sometimes are different from what Mr Mende just shared.
Some people do not spend time much as frequently travelling, so house mainly to use for meeting, party gathering or welcome guess or friends.
Then lighting atmosphere will be in opposite way.
Mende:Usually home is just only use for private family, now home is not to be used only for family but to use for friend gathering or business meeting.
Tan:Thank you very much for today sharing some interesting experiences.