Kevin Cawley

Have you ever walked into a store and felt so comfortable and relaxed that you have walked out having spent much more than you intended?

Have you wandered in one of the world's great cathedrals filled with a sense of awe and wonder, gasping at the stained glass windows and the grandeur of the columns soaring into an arched roof high above your head?

Have you ever wondered what exactly it is that has made you react like this?  What was the magic ingredient that led to your comfort, to your awe?  

Chances are it was the lighting and that is why I am proud to be the lighting designer that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.

School was not for me, so no surprise that I farewelled my secondary education with no regrets. 

It took time to find what would ultimately be my passion.  The show was Godspell, and I was an apostle treading the boards on the world stage, well, Invercargill’s stage,(NZ) actually, and it was the fascination of being in that big beautiful spotlight that helped me find my true vocation. I would be a lighting designer.

Finding the direction to follow was only step one. Everyone knows that Rembrandt did not pick up his brush and paint a wonderful masterpiece of light and shade at his first attempt. Over many years he learned his craft and the basics, from the work of others. Only then could his genius and innovation bloom into inspired art.  I do not pretend to be the Rembrandt of the lighting world but the pathway was the same. I needed to learn the fundamentals of the craft to become the artist I knew I wanted to be.

First came an electrical wholesale business, selling the components that let the magic happen. The time spent learning the basics of lighting design from other experts was invaluable and allowed me to create my own lighting business, Total Lighting Ltd.  

With the basics on board I could begin to explore the art of design with a return to stage work, this time behind the lights not in front of them. Miss Saigon, Les Miserable, Evita and the list continues.  Just as the lighting of the stage creates the atmosphere and mood for the cast and audience alike, so the lighting of public spaces, inside and out, captured my imagination. It is this that has led to my international renown and awards as a creative lighting designer and inspired my educational work with Massey University teaching the next generation.  

The power of lighting design is something that is frequently overlooked. The creative process is complex and involves truly understanding the spaces themselves, their purpose and the desired vibe. Town planners, architects, store owners, home-owners all have within their power the ability, through intelligent, creative use of lighting, to create a world we all want to live in; a world of calm and peace, a world that is purposeful and productive.

In my presentation I want to use my knowledge and experience, and examples from my past work, to help you think creatively as we explore the key elements of lighting design, colour, and colour temperature and the impact these elements have on our public and private spaces. We need to design lighting that is good for us and the earth we live on. Lighting that lets us see the stars; protecting our dark sky from light pollution.  Lighting that will support wellbeing, creativity and innovative thinking for the future.

To misquote the Bard, if the world is a stage, then I’d want better lighting!

Get in touch.

 +61 1300 870 195 / +61 3 9020 2684


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