Interview with Brad Koerner

To give you a snap-shot of things to come next week, we have conducted a few short interviews with some of the key speakers and workshop leaders. We caught up with Brad Koerner, principal at Koerner Design, former director of Philips and a Harvard graduate.  Brad is now focused on the development of interactive experiential environments for retail and hospitality brands.

TiL 2018 is about stepping outside of comfort zones and learning about, and experimenting with, light from a different prospective. Where have you looked for your inspiration?

Brad Koerner: I love fusing multiple worlds together.  I follow how parametric design and digital fabrication continue to dramatically impact architectural construction technologies.  I follow how today’s social media and mobile device cultures are driving fashion trends in architecture and interior design.  I follow how integration of advanced media displays continues to push the “edge of the envelope” for theatrical and concert touring projects.  I follow the state-of-the-art in interactive experiences created by multimedia art studios or R&D groups like MIT’s Media Lab.  Most recently, I find tremendous inspiration in the steady advancement of digital display and media management technologies in the A/V world, especially how these are making huge impacts throughout the hospitality, retail, and transportation markets.

You coined the term ‘architectural media’. Can you explain what this is and why ‘architectural lighting’ is no longer correct?

Brad Koerner: UX (“user experience”) design is a hot field.  But this is traditionally limited to the confines of the little black mirrors on all our devices.  In the real world, we need to think of comprehensive AX (“architectural experience”) design that incorporates all the areas of modern technology systems that impact guest experience.  We need to fuse together architectural lighting, digital displays, building management systems, and even the concept of architectural surfaces into one unified design concept – which I term “architectural media.”

What needs to change in the lighting industry and why?

Brad Koerner: Narrow categorizations like “architectural lighting” are antiquated and holding back the advancement of architectural projects in general. We need to break these traditional technology silos to advance holistic architectural experience design. For example, “smart” lighting, sensing networks, building management systems and advanced digital display technologies are all converging on cloud-connected, IP-standard networks.  The hardware barriers to interconnecting these systems are disappearing.  It will soon cost the same to turn on a single light bulb as it does to feed media to a 4K projector.  The entire building becomes a unified interactive media system, which opens up the opportunity to design the comprehensive spatial experience.

If you could design an experience for a brand, who would it be and why?

Brad Koerner: It is not necessarily one brand, but I think the transformation that is happening to retail centers holds tremendous opportunity.  Traditional malls are diversifying from strictly retail to mixed leisure concepts, which offers many opportunities for fresh new experiential concepts that blend physical spaces with architectural media experiences.

Brad will be at TiL 2018 for his session “From architectural lighting to architectural media”, Sept 26, 08:30.