Esteemed creative producer and lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus shuns the spotlight, despite a career atop a creative spectrum that cusps theatre, fashion, art and design – without question – Thierry remains a leader in light!

The Paris-based maestro began with stage lighting, assisting the Strasbourg Opera lighting designer in the 1980s, later reflecting that his  theatrical tutorage bred an inventive approach to working with light.

You have no money in the theatre so you used to work on the efficiency. In the theatre, you learn to emphasise in a discreet or a baroque way – BBC


Approaching each project with fresh creative vision – Dreyfus’ first fashion show for American designer Patrick Kelly, where the debut collection showcased in Kelly’s apartment, harnessed candle power for dramatic affect.

A rapid career trajectory followed 17 years working with Helmut Lang prior to embarking on the pivotal long term collaboration with Thierry Mugler – going on to create innovative runway  lighting for some of fashion’s biggest names; among them Yves Saint Laurent, the house of Dior, and Ann Demeulemeester.



We Find Wilderness visited Dreyfus’ inaugural solo art show in 2010, held in a former New York dog accessory factory now art space – describing the work of the lighting maestro as follows :

Thierry Dreyfus doesn’t hang his art on the gallery wall, but instead splits it.  His Rupture installations use the white box gallery space as a starting point.  The pristine walls seem to have cracked and slightly seperate as if it were a tectonic fault line.  Inside is the craggy masses of wall bathed by a warm golden glow or a cold silver light.  

The fissure encourages the imagination to speculate on what lies beyond the walls.  It is interesting to notice how the color of the light colors the imagination in connection with the ruptures.  While the golden crack nearly conveys a fairy-tale like curiosity, the silver rupture has a menacing sort of undertone.



BoF reports Dreyfus approaches his work as an artist as opposed to a technician, despite Thierry shunning that particular creative monicker, his artistic bent is openly apparent.

For Helmut Lang, it was the purity of almost non-existent lights; for Jil Sander, the crystal of light that goes with the skin, the textures. For Raf Simons, it’s about precision, softness, colours and details. And with Comme des Garçons, it was the discreet poetry associated with an about-to-break tension, creating the right balance ~ BoF


TSA_ART_light_Thierry_Dreyfus_notredame_01-Notre Dame Nuit Blanche Lighting

Commissioned  by the French Ministry of Culture, Dreyfus was charged with lluminating the Grand Palais for its reopening in 2005, and has since collaborated on many notable public and institutional art projects, including the series of vertical light beams he elevated in the Gardens of Versailles. The City of Paris commissioned Thierry to light the interior of the Notre Dame Cathedral for Nuit Blanche, collaborating with many creative lunimaires including David Lynch, and will soon unveil a work aligned with Anish Kapoor for the Istanbul Biennale.


Thierry Dreyfus Art Basel / Design Miami 2010 – image (c) Core 77 by  Mertixell Mir

The sculpture above from the Wall Rapture series was further interpreted as a product for iconic Italian lighting brand FLOS – where the internal schism, lined with gold or silver leaf, is illuminated by a warm LED light source, the affect in reality somewhat ‘force of nature’.

Dreyfus aims to emotionally connect with the viewer – and expresses little care for intellectual or the need to interpret his work.

Speaking to Wired.co.uk Thierry said:

I‘ve seen hundreds of hurried people stop in front: they try to look inside, feel the warmth of the light, and let go of themselves without questioning the light source. I think they all react to the feeling that something exists inside the walls, some kind of beauty.

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Thierry’s advice for aspiring creatives per BoF


Study the work of people you admire and then go knock on their door. But do it with generosity. People use to knock on Giacometti’s door, on Beckett’s door, and they would meet them. If people refuse, it’s because they don’t have anything to say and perhaps they’re not as interesting as you thought they were.

BoF text by JULIEN NEUVILLE – full article HERE