All photo credits: Christann + Planck from their other projects.
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We sat down with Chris and Paul, two brothers who own Christaan+Planck, and who are specialists in the lighting world. Here are our 5 questions for this dynamic duo.
1. How did you get into lighting design?
They initially started a company that sold a standard line of lighting products, but in 2009 they got a request to do custom lighting; since then, their business has snowballed. Before getting into business on their own, Chris did his undergraduate degree at Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) and a Masters in Industrial Design at University of Alberta (UofA). Paul also studied Industrial Design at UofA at the same time. They both graduated in the early 2000’s and kicked their already blossoming business into high gear right after completing their studies.
They ended up in Calgary because of the opportunities plus the fact Chris was already living in Calgary while commuting to study in Edmonton. As Paul put it: “[Calgary] is a great city to do business in.” At first, they filled a huge niche in Calgary in designed lighting. Word spread fairly quickly throughout Western Canada, followed by Eastern Canada and then into the U.S. Their success comes from word of mouth as they’re now a well-known custom lighting design company.
2. What inspires you when it comes to selecting design pieces for your clients?
Christaan + Planck work with their clients to get inspiration for their projects. With the Skyline project, proximity was initially the main reason as they are located within walking distance of Simply Elegant, the Catering and Event management company that operates Skyline. They like to collaboratively work with their clients.
The real inspiration with Skyline came from a key concept that Robert Vidra [owner of Simply Elegant] mentioned when they first met with him. Robert said he wanted the lighting to look like stars. When Chris and Paul saw the space, they recognized that was a clear direction they could take. They designed a few options, which is what they typically do for their clients. There were a few revisions, which is common with most of their clients, so that the final concepts meet what their clients envision.
As Chris stated: “Because Skyline is such a big open room with floor to ceiling windows that has the cityscape as a backdrop, the lighting will make a huge difference.” They focus on lighting with two primary goals in mind: one, it acts as a decorative object and two, it lights the room. It’s functional and meant to give the room style.
3. Can you share photos from a couple of your other projects?
Throughout this article are photos from other projects that show the atmosphere of their lighting designs.
4. How do you feel lighting design impacts a project / space?
This is a question they get asked all the time because clients are making a financial investment in their lighting projects. For Chris and Paul, lighting has transformative potential, especially when the space has windows where the lighting can be seen from the outside. “It almost acts as a beacon; when you’re driving down the street and you see a place that has bright and fun, it’s more appealing.” To them, lighting design is a significant element that enhances and elevates how someone experiences the space.
5. What were your thoughts behind the Skyline project?
They are excited to be a part of Skyline which is a greatly distinctive new venue for Calgary. The scale of the operation certainly impressed them when they walked into the space. They commented it was exciting to see a new unique venue that’s able to service the city. What they think is so unique about the Skyline space is that “it’s a beautiful space that feels like you’re standing in the sky because of the cityscape on one side and the mountain tops on the other.”