For Corinna Kretschmar-Joehnk and Peter Joehnk, husband-and-wife founders of the Hamburg firm JOI-Design Innenarchitekten, lighting design is akin to being a conductor —navigating a spectrum of sounds and knowing when to have one instrument take center stage while the others are quiet.
Similar, says Corinna, to the way a good designer lets light and shadow play off each other: “You have to have indirect light and direct light and something that guides you through the room and surprises you at a special point.” It’s about playing with the contrast between them, “underlining it and emphasizing it.”
As an architect, Peter combines aspects of a scientist and an artist, both which he considered becoming at one point. He sees lighting as two independent elements: light itself, which can be visible or invisible to the eye, and a fixture, which is the design piece.
This is a more nuanced view of lighting than when they were in school. “Lighting design didn’t mean atmosphere for the room,” Corinna explains. “It was only decorative.”
For her, creating atmosphere is paramount. “It’s not about the chosen chair or fabric. It’s the emotion that embraces you, which is only possible with atmosphere rather than special design features.”
To that end, they are careful to choose only what truly belongs into a space and to be “courageous” in their outlook.