Peter Hugh

    It’s important to understand the human psyche or motivation when we talk about how clients want people to feel in a space.”

    Interviewed by Nick Bleeker and Chere Griffin

    Peter Hugh © TVSdesign
    Peter Hugh © TVSdesign


    Born and raised in the Virgin Islands, Peter Hugh majored in theater and psychology at Marquette University, Milwaukee, USA, becoming a master electrician on set. He credits Candace Kling as being an invaluable mentor in his career, who enriched his passion for architectural lighting design. Then he founded his own firm.

    What makes light magical to you?

    I love the idea of magic and creating worlds. The concept of making someone like or not like a space, or gravitate towards one side of the room, or enter a store; these aren’t absolutes, but I can certainly influence them. It’s not measurable, it’s intangible; and you’re affecting people subconsciously. That’s the magic. And now, with all of these versatile lighting tools, technologies and controls, it’s like having a total spell book instead of a few pages of spells. I can make all sorts of magic now.

     

    How do you use or apply what you’ve learned in theater and psychology?
    I refer to theater a lot. For example, one key theater rule was to have one or two special effects, and let everything else support that. Not everything has to be a ‘wow’. I use that same logic on a project, and encourage my clients to prioritize all the elements they want to play up so we can layer accordingly. Also, it’s important to understand the human psyche or motivation when we talk about how clients want people to feel in a space. We use the term “feel” a lot here. We don’t use “look” as often as one might think.

    What typical challenges do you encounter?

    We always battle time and money. Strangely, at this point, I think time may have bypassed money; which I never thought I’d ever say. Projects have incredibly tight timeframes, and while technologies like email, CAD and WebEx conferences are convenient, my mind still thinks at the same speed. A big challenge for me is overall coordination. It’s about getting along, and in lighting, that’s a tricky balance.

    Hyatt Regency O’Hare – Rosemont, IL, United States – Lighting designer: Peter Hugh © Hugh Lighting Design
    Hyatt Regency O’Hare – Rosemont, IL, United States – Lighting designer: Peter Hugh © Hugh Lighting Design
    Two Brothers craftsman Cocktail lounge by Two Brothers, Naperville, IL, United States – Lighting designer Peter Hugh © Hugh Lighting Design
    Two Brothers craftsman Cocktail lounge by Two Brothers, Naperville, IL, United States – Lighting designer Peter Hugh © Hugh Lighting Design
    This is an excerpt from our exclusive interview with Peter Hugh in Luminous Spec Newsletter

    You may also like

    • Andrea Hartranft

      Andrea Hartranft

      Andrea Hartranft, Principal at Hartranft Lighting Design, doesn’t back down from a challenge. Read about her journey through the lighting industry, her thoughts on its future and much more in this exclusive interview.

    • Steven Rosen

      Steven Rosen

      Steven Rosen, President and Creative Director of Available Light in Salem, Massachusetts…

    • Nancy Clanton

      Nancy Clanton

      Lighting designer Nancy Clanton earned an architectural engineering degree with an illumination emphasis when lighting design as a career was in its infancy