‘If there is no contrast, which helps to create the forms
and shapes, everything is flat,’ argues Jiřičná. ‘Light is a
tool and you work with it and once light is controlled
you can do wonders. This is why a good lighting
designer can still create something superb out of
a miserable space.’
Jiřičná is adamant that professional lighting designers
are integral to any project. Without them and the
other consultants, she says, ‘architects are useless’,
acknowledging, however, that ultimately it is the
architect who pulls the strings.
An interior where Jiřičná has fully exploited the
skills of her team is the Bollinger Jewellery Gallery
at London’s V&A Museum. Illuminating jewellery
and understanding the different effects that light has
on jewels is extremely complex, she says. Some 3500
jewellery pieces had to be displayed, each with varying
light levels ranging from 500 lux to 1200 lux.
‘We had to design lighting that was flexible enough
to respect the different types of jewels,’ says Jiřičná.
‘If you light pearls they die, but if diamonds aren’t lit
they look terrible because they need the reflection
produced by the light.’
Working with lighting consultant DHA Designs,
the project entailed a huge amount of research and
hundreds of mock-ups. The solution involved using
fibre optics outside the top of the display case and
directional LEDs on the ceilings of the case interiors.
A very subtle slant to the vertical mount angles the
jewels towards the light source so they are lit as much
as possible from the front.
‘Like Tiffany’s, people are only aware of the effect of
the lighting and don’t see the lights,’ she explains. ‘It’s
been ten years since we did that project and they have
asked us to upgrade the gallery as the Bollingers have
subsequently bought more objects. We are redoing the
lighting, which will be better as the technology has
changed. We are also making a special case for a £5m
coronet that was given to Queen Victoria by Prince
Albert as a pre-wedding present.’
Lighting designed by Jiřičná for Hotel Joseph, in Prague’s old town.
She designs luminaires when she can’t find anything she likes
‘Light is a tool and you work
with it, and once light is
controlled you can do wonders’