Niklas Pohlman is a freelance lighting designer based in Sweden’s two largest cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg – both buzzing commercial and cultural centres – on the east and west coasts of the country. He focuses on lighting artworks and fine art installations, a highly specialized field for which his eye for detail, precision and imagination for how light can bring drama and effect to different materials… is in huge demand. Recently he specified Anolis ArcSource 4 MCs LED fixtures to illuminate “Do You Go Here Often?”, three striking pillars ‘swooshed’ with a bronze fabric effect created by sculptor Yvonne Thornqvist … outside the Göteborgs Stadsbibliotek (Gothenburg City Library).
The bronze treatment is actually a wrap of the pavement-to-first floor level sections of three concrete structural pillars running through the front of the building, which is one of the busiest public facilities in the city. Fulfilling many roles, the library is a hub for literary vibrancy and learning, a meeting place and a lively community and social space.
The work was commissioned by HIGAB a community based provider of public buildings like libraries and schools. The columns have a paint finish which is unusual for bronze, and because they are in the shadows of the first floor overhang above the entranceway, the artist was particularly keen that they were lit and therefore able to be enjoyed and appreciated after dark. Each pillar is highlighted with five ArcSource 4MC units which are concealed in the false roof void immediately above, which has been added to stop birds congregating.
Niklas has worked with Yvonne before including lighting of her “Out of the Wall” public art installation at Axel Dahlströms Torg in Gothenburg, and he was delighted to be asked to make a creative contribution to this one. “Lighting can add real character and depth to sculptural elements like this” he commented, explaining that Yvonne’s brief was to make the texture of the fabric stand out “as well as to introduce a very slow and subtle – barely perceptible – movement” to the bronze ‘fabric’ which is suggested and accented by the Anolis products.
Originally, the installation didn’t involve lighting, but it was added when it became apparent that this would trigger a whole new dimension to the work. It was Niklas’s idea to add the kinetic movement. On two of the pillars this slow fading chase progresses in a clockwise direction, and anti-clockwise in the third … for a bit of anomaly!
It was the first time that Niklas had used Anolis fixtures in his work. They were specified after chatting to Fredrik Wideman from Bellalite, Anolis’ Swedish distributor and also considering a number of options. He sought a flexible, reliable small fixture with a bright output that was easy to install … and Anolis ticked all the boxes, together with its smooth and superior colour mixing.
The units are RGBW, so the colours can be changed for events or special occasions. For the standard installation each pillar has its own bespoke signature hue which slowly creeps around the surface of the column. Niklas comments on his satisfaction with the fixtures and the “excellent” support that they have received from Fredrik and Bellalite, a service underlined by the company which strives to offer quality product sales with additional value. Bellalite is also well-known and respected for its technical sales department which can bring a veritable fund of information and experience to any project as required.
Bellalite’s Björn Arnason sees art lighting projects like these as an interesting development that is “completely off the scale” when it comes to lighting requirements. “Artists think totally differently about how to light an object or a space, bringing a refreshing and invigorating take on the process”. Niklas first became fascinated in lighting art and exhibition pieces early on in his career, when working as a museum lighting and AV technician, and also in the local theatre and conference centres. He later worked at the University of Performing Arts in Gothenburg as a lighting designer / sound engineer. He is completely self-taught in the discipline of lighting design but has a talent for how to interpret and enhance different art forms and artefacts with light and flamboyance.
He always has a number of fun, funky and interesting projects on the go, and when he’s not busy lighting artworks, he’s following his other passion in life … riding a Harley Davidson and planning cool and exciting long-distance road trips around the world on the back of one!