Profiles - A Light-Hearted Look at Industry Personalities
Managing Director, G-LEC Europe
No. 137 in a continuing series
A son of the famous Black Forest in Germany, Lars Wolf discovered his love for lighting design early when he started his professional training as electrician within a company that designed and supplied discotheques. At this time, in the early eighties, he also enjoyed working as a DJ in local clubs, and this led to his continuing passion for ‘good old disco music' through to today.
He soon started his own lighting rental company called "Hell Begeistert" (The name is a play on the German language, and the meaning can be translated to "absolutely delighted".). He and his partner Martin Bruckmayer developed the company very successfully, and today Hell Begeistert is still one of the major lighting rental companies in the area.
Lars has always been regarded (and regards himself) more as lighting designer and artist than a business man. For him, the most important feature of any event is not to rent out as much equipment as possible (what he hates most is "Design by Stockhouse"), but to create a unique and fascinating lighting atmosphere.
"The role that music plays for the ears light plays for the eye - sometimes rock, sometimes classical music," says Lars. "The spectrum has almost no limit, with endless variations and combinations."
His search for new, creative and unique designs duly led him into the world of LED in 2001. He discovered that LED's cannot only be used in big TV-screens or videowalls, but can be lighting tools in themselves. And when trying LED applications with wider pixel distances, Lars discovered that bigger pixel distances could also allow transparency between the pixels.
With this in mind, and with the idea of creating a new lighting tool, G-LEC was born - with the help of a group of international engineers and designers. And with Lars as a recognised designer, he was the perfect person to develop, promote and bring the idea to fruitition. The idea of "transparent imagery" was born.
Since then, Lars' life has only turned around LED's and G-LEC. The growth of the company has been immense and truly international, and he has had to move away from his ‘cozy' life in the Black Forest and travel the world.
He is very proud that his search for new designs has created an industry trend, even though many other manufacturers and designers have become inspired by the idea of LED's as lighting tool. "The transparency innovation, without any doubt, is G-LEC's ‘trademark', but many other people now have created other interesting and nice LED devices," he says. And when he mentions that this has given an enormous economic kick for the whole industry, it sounds as if he has now become a very serious businessman as well.
But not too seriously so. In 2003 Lars - almost secretly - passed all the necessary examinations to become a German ‘Master of Event and Entertainment Technology', and takes the time to teach ‘Lighting Basics' and ‘Lighting Design' in the two major Event Technology Academies in Germany. One of these academies, the ‘German Event Academy' is owned by the trade association VPLT, and even here Lars takes time every year to get himself involved in working groups, especially when it comes to education and training. "When I started, it was impossible to get a proper education in our industry. This has changed because of our Association work, and it leads even more highly motivated and great people into the world of Entertainment Technology," Lars affirms.
Any spare time remaining? "I've always loved to go windsurfing and swimming, but my main target for the years ahead is something different. I want to get more involved with flying aeroplanes," he explains. "Due to the many charter and Lear jet flights we have to undertake with our work, I have fallen in love with the idea of flying small aeroplanes." Lars as a pilot? Don't bet against it!
Look out for the next subject in our Profile series...
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