the lighting on the Evelyn Moakley Bridge is
one of the permanent installations from
Illuminale Boston (
five-day festival that ran in October. The search
lights in the distance are part of the installation
at Rowe’s Wharf. Just beyond the bridge is the
red glow from lights on the Northern Avenue
pedestrian bridge. Organizer Lana Nathe stands
in front of South Station (below right), another
Illuminale installation site.
Photography by Tim Gray
➻ When a sewage pipe backs up and water floods Lana Nathe’s office just days
before the opening of Illuminale Boston, the citywide outdoor lighting festival
that Nathe, the principal of Light Insight Design Studio in South Boston, has
been championing for almost two years, her response is both spirited and
spiritual, much like Nathe herself. “It’s a sign that I must really be shaking
things up,” she says. “The universe is responding.”
Universe, buckle your seat belt. Originally trained in architectural interior
design, Nathe was attracted to lighting design during an apprenticeship in
Germany with renowned lighting engineer Hans T. von Malotki. She views light
as the central nervous system of architecture;
without it, a structure becomes lifeless. “Lighting
design is technology and art and energy,” she says.
“To be a lighting designer, you have to have
passion.” With passion aplenty and the energy of a
160-watt bulb, Nathe seems particularly suited to a
career dedicated to illuminating the lives of others.
She loves to learn about people — their stories,
how they got where they are — and attributes much
of her success to asking those she admires for
advice about how to get to the next level.
Having designed the lighting for hundreds of residential projects, as well as
everything from corporate offices to houses of worship, Nathe might think that
her career had finally reached a comfortable plateau. But never one to sit still,
she recently pushed herself even farther, uniting politicians, building owners,
the business community, and artists to bring what she says is the first-ever
outdoor lighting festival in America to Boston. And she shows no signs of
stopping. “There’s always ‘What’s next?’” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
Universe, hold tight. — jennifer blecher