Welcome to our interview with Eleftheria Deko, the force behind Eleftheria Deko & Associates, a renowned lighting studio specializing in architectural, stage, and event lighting. With extensive experience in diverse projects, Eleftheria and her team provide tailored lighting solutions for a wide range of spaces.
Eleftheria Deko, the founder, not only leads this creative studio but also imparts her knowledge as an Assistant Professor at the Theater Department of the School of Fine Arts at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Having designed lighting for over 450 theatrical plays, operas, music events, multimedia shows, dance performances, and architectural lighting schemes, Eleftheria has earned acclaim and awards globally. We’re here to discuss her recent success at the LIT Lighting Design Awards 2023, where her project “Persephone Reconsiders Her Fate” was honored as the Entertainment Lighting Design of the Year. Join us as Eleftheria shares her insights into the creative process and the significance of lighting in shaping artistic and architectural experiences.
What was your inspiration behind your artistic rendering of the myth of Persephone through lighting and projection?
This specific myth served as our inspiration. Analyzing the story of Persephone, who was abducted by Hades and descended into the underworld before returning to the upper world again, we saw it as a symbolic journey into our inner selves, navigating the realms of the conscious and subconscious. Our challenge was to visually depict this journey, enhancing the intention of the choreography and using lighting symbolically.
Can you tell us how you used lighting to portray the living world and the underworld?
Varied hues and intensities distinguished the living world with warm, vibrant tones. The underworld was draped in cool, shadowy lighting, employing contrast to evoke distinct or unknown feelings. Beams of light coming through the inside of our set/wreck boat or moving from the top downwards created a supernatural atmosphere. The video projection sometimes followed the choreography, while at other times, it created a second depth – a deeper layer of interpretation.
Were there any challenges you faced while developing the projection and lighting design, either technical or conceptual?
The major challenge was time…: to be ready on time.
Technical challenges involved the mapping of the boat for the projection. Also, to place the lighting equipment in positions that would not create a visual nuisance, sometimes even sacrificing a good angle position.
Can you tell us more about the backdrop of the projections and performance, the ship Logos? Was it always meant to be a part of the narrative or did you have to adjust the lighting design to include it later in the design process?
It was our deliberate decision to position our stage directly in front of the ship Logos. Logos was a significant partner and the ideal set, it was chosen for its decadent ghostly appearance, symbolic name, and its proximity to the sea and its surroundings. Additionally, the ship’s textured surface served as the perfect projection screen. At times, the lighting created an illusion of emanating from within, giving the ship a supernatural vitality. In other moments, video projections on the ship added a multi-dimensional aspect to its personality or provided a serene backdrop, creating a darkened depth for the choreography.
After winning the “Lighting Design of the Year” in 2021 with the new lighting of the “Acropolis of Athens and other monuments”, congratulations on receiving the “Entertainment Lighting Design of the Year 2023. What does it mean to you personally to be awarded for this project?
Two years after that incredible honor, receiving the 2023 “Entertainment Lighting Design of the Year“ is another great honor, and it holds personal significance due to its strong emotional connection to Eleusis, the ancestral home of my father’s side family. The project was unique in many ways, addressing both personal and universal issues, and it marks a new cycle of artistic expression for me alongside Mystery 89, a Light Art Installation. I am immensely grateful to LIT and the jury for this amazing recognition!
How do you see the future of stage lighting design evolving? Do you have any advice for young lighting designers who would love to follow in your footsteps?
Stage lighting is poised to integrate more advanced technologies, and digitized realities, elevating immersive experiences, and illusionary spaces.
I would advise the young generation of lighting designers not to blindly follow technology or use it solely to impress, but instead to harness technology to create magic with light, emotionally move the audience, inspire people mentally, and elevate their spirit. Because lighting has the power to do such things! Light is a universal language that connects us all!
Last, what should we wish you for 2024?
I strongly wish for peace and for the enlightenment of the people who govern the world. I also wish for the inner light of each one of us to stay lit, guiding us away from darkness and into the beauty of life.
Photo Credits: “Persephone Reconsiders Her Fate”. Gavriil Papadiotis / John Stathis.