ILM Lighting, a lighting design that excites and tells the story of a place

Federico Ognibene reveals the concept of light at the bottom of the activity: an element of language

From the deep knowledge of light, a fundamental element of our everyday life to the point where it is taken for granted, comes the desire to reveal its secrets to those who benefit from it, sometimes without the right awareness. This is because, as Federico Ognibene explains, light in itself is something quite obvious, or at least we are often convinced of it, but instead the reality is different. And those who, along with their brother Luca, represent the second generation of a historic reality in the world of lighting in terms of results and innovation that have been brought to the sector and who have literally given birth to pieces of the history of Italian costume, can say with good reason .. ILM Lighting, based in Velletri in the beautiful surroundings of Castelli Romani, was actually born in the 70s on the initiative of Marcello Ognibene.

From the early years, when the lighting technique was unexplored, the first results began to arrive with passion and perseverance, leading to a fruitful collaboration between its founder and the planners of the Italian RAI Radiotelevisione. In the years when the company is engaged in the construction of lighting systems for the TV’s greatest successes, the two children grow up in a context where the light is always present.

Their father’s passion inevitably spreads to them, and since the early 90’s they have combined their desire for innovation in a way based on the then unknown LED technology. it is thanks to a conference on LEDs that Federico meets Marco Frascarolo, the internationally acclaimed lighting designer (his lighting project for the Sistine Chapel), who involves him more and more in important projects, such as the lighting of the Basilica of San Francesco d . ‘Assisi or, just completed, the lighting of the frescoes corridor by Andrea Pozzo in the residence Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. Today, ILM Lighting also illuminates many of the most beautiful monuments, historic buildings and high-profile structures in Italy and abroad. But above all, it is this know-how that enables Federico Ognibene, who is not only committed to the company but also at an academic level in the design world, to spread a message about what light really represents to him: an element of language.

The concept

Whether it is the lighting of the interior of a religious building, such as the papal basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, or the study of television programs such as the Porta a Porta, or the residence of Italian athletes at the Olympics, Federico Ognibene perceives light as one of the narrative elements that are able to evoke emotions, sometimes even contrasting, in those who perceive it. In this sense, it is none other than the pen, metaphorically speaking, while the element to be illuminated represents the sheet of paper. They are therefore tools that allow the designer to write a story and tell the experience of the object through evocative images.

The many shades, determined by the color temperature (warm light or cold light), actually allow to give a precise meaning to the illuminated. All this in a job that, as the lighting engineer tells us, today requires the synergy of many figures, in a team effort involving lighting designers, architects and universities, for a process that combines art and technology at a high level. And it is in this way that light can become a starting point for cultural enrichment, and that it is characterized not only by the effect it has on the enlightened object, but by the feeling it creates in the subject observing. .


Velletris guard post shines again

An example that is particularly dear to Federico Ognibene of how ILM Lighiting perceives the use of light in contexts of high historical value is represented by Torre del Trivio in Velletri, a project prepared together with Arch. Giorgio della Longa. Built in 1353 and built by Comacini Magistri with the function of the bell tower of the church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo, the tower historically represents the city’s sentry. And it is precisely to recreate that sense of security that the designers chose warm light in the double-glazed windows on three floors, and cold light instead of highlighting the bells. That is, two different color temperatures, in a system designed to give three-dimensionality to the structure.


A designer with a versatile soul

On the one hand the family business, on the other hand a constant mediation activity. Federico has worked for years as a Master of Lighting Master at La Sapienza University in Rome and is a lecturer at the Italian Academy of Art, Fashion and Design, where he is dedicated to teaching and developing the lighting design culture. The academy is international, with students coming from all over the world, with bilingual education to facilitate the students’ cultural connections. Federico Ognibene has been designing lighting solutions for more than twenty years for complex and fascinating projects, fully manufactured lighting fixtures installed worldwide in his Velletri factories. And on June 18, the designer will be awarded the SamPietrino d’Oro Marguttiano.


Innovative and unique ideas: a success over time

ILM Lighting today boasts the design and production of lighting fixtures whose light highlights art and architectural jewels in the world. This is thanks to a path made up of innovative ideas, such as the de facto invention of Marcello Ognibene by the cold cathode tricolor process (the ability to mix the red, green and blue colors of light to generate infinite shades of color). Federico, on the other hand, devised the first LED display used on TVs (Telethon 1993) that passed through the first TV broadcast illuminated with LEDs (Sanremo 2004), or as the first RGB full-color LEDs. units (Beijing Olympics 2008). ) employed on television.


Avant-garde: the basis of all creation

The particularly technical aspect of this sector has led ILM Lighting to focus strongly on the research and development department. Innovative machinery, for a constantly equipped and updated production department, a photometric laboratory, to personally control the light emission of the products. And finally, highly skilled technicians, who also come from the school desks of ITIS G. Vallauri in Velletri, are the foundation of a passionate and constant in-depth work with lighting technology.
All in synergy with the largest manufacturers of lighting systems worldwide.

Leave a Comment