Across Magazine interviews Thomas Mark
Thomas Mark, MK Illumination’s president, was interviewed by Across Magazine for a special feature that formed part of their March publication. Continue reading to see what Thomas said, or click here to view the 8-page insert that starts with the interview (in English only).
“Through lighting and stories, we can engage with people and tap into their emotions” (Thomas Mark)
ACROSS: WHAT DOES FESTIVE DECORATION MEAN FOR MALLS TODAY? AND TO WHAT EXTENT CAN FESTIVE DECORATION REALLY GENERATE TRAFFIC?
Thomas Mark: Lifestyles are changing and today’s consumer wants a shopping ‘experience’. People go shopping to meet friends, enjoy restaurants, and to entertain the family. The successful shopping center must now offer an interesting, interactive and, above all, inviting atmosphere.
We are naturally drawn to what is visually attractive. Decoration and especially lighting play a vital part in sparking emotions. And it is creativity and originality in these decorative concepts that draw crowds and invites them to take the selfies that encourage their friends to come and share the experience.
Shopping centers now need their festive lighting concepts to become ‘festivals’. Decoration and lighting must be themed, seamless and inviting. Calling in specialists and creating an attractive, interactive concept can transform the festive season into a bonus year for profit.
ACROSS: WHERE DOES YOUR FOCUS LIE? AND WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GOOD DESIGN?
Thomas Mark: We are first and foremost a design oriented company that uses very particular technology to turn designs into experiences.
For us, the production of extraordinary lighting concepts is all about the successful combination of design, top-quality materials, and technology. Each element is critical. Light is an incredibly important design element for us, and it is essential if we want to connect with people’s emotions.
It is fantastic to be able to combine lighting with festive stories because festive occasions like Christmas awaken strong emotions in us all. Through lighting and stories, we can engage with people and tap into their emotions.
ACROSS: HOW RELEVANT IS INNOVATION IN THE AREA OF FESTIVE DECORATIVE LIGHTING?
Thomas Mark: For us, lighting, design, creativity, and innovation are inextricably linked. In order to continually engage people, we not only create exceptional lighting displays, but we constantly push boundaries and use new technologies and features that are innovative and, increasingly, interactive instead of static.
We did this recently in a shopping center district in Beijing, where we installed floating lanterns above an illuminated tree for Chinese New Year. By striking a gong, visitors triggered a wave of color that rippled through the lanterns and the tree, sending their new year’s wishes into the sky.
Innovation is not just about making everything interactive, though. Sometimes innovation is about presenting a traditional theme in a striking and memorable way. A good example of this is our herd of 18 flying deer in MyZeil shopping center, where we took an innovative approach to a traditional lighting display that attracted visitors and inspired them to get involved and take thousands of pictures that they posted on social media.
ACROSS: LET’S TALK ABOUT ORIGINALITY: YOU HELP MALLS TELL COMPELLING – AND UNIQUE – STORIES USING CUSTOM LIGHT MOTIFS. GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF THIS.
Thomas Mark: Master storyteller Walt Disney once said, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”
This quote is both our motto and our motivation. We live by it. We have become master storytellers ourselves, using lighting and festive decoration to tell our customers’ stories. Each location is different: each mall has a different history, a different demographic and a different message that they want to share, and we work closely with customers to help them tell their unique tale.
For example, in Dresden’s Elbepark we designed festive lighting for their trees using symbols from their city, like the “Frauenkirche” and the “Semperoper”. These symbols are unique to Dresden and by using them, we helped them tell a story that the people of the city could connect with and support.