Katja Heinemann

As members of the fourth generation in one of the few remaining independent lighting companies, it wasn't assumed that twins Edwin and Martin Rambusch would join the family business. Their father, Viggo, asked his sons: Why do you want to work here? Their answers to that question influenced which of the company's divisions each now oversees: lighting for Edwin and crafts for Martin. Edwin's liberal arts education and his Master of Lighting from Parsons make him a skilled problem solver. Connecting with clients and attention to detail are the hallmarks of the company's working methodology, and the name Rambusch remains synonymous with experience and quality.

What are the challenges of working in a design-related field? Synthesizing the experiences everyone brings. It comes down to communication. One of the few international means of communication is a drawing. A good drawing leaves nothing open for interpretation.

What represents innovation in lighting? You have to be cognizant of what is out there; you always have to be learning and educating yourself.

Is craft in danger of disappearing? It's in greater danger of disappearing for lack of knowledge rather than due to economic pressures. As long as there is an educated buyer or consumer, quality and craftsmanship will remain.

How do you see the economic situation impacting lighting? We're facing the perfect storm—a triangle of energy issues, codes, and lamp technologies. How will the different entities within the industry—design, manufacturing, lamps, and sales—respond to these pressures?

Do you feel pressure to incorporate LEDs into fixtures? Of course, but it was the same with previous technologies. My greatest fear is that metrics of quality are being lost in this drive for performance.

What makes a great lighting design? I was lucky enough to meet the architectural critic Brendan Gill. He said, “Light is like the bagpipes. You may never have heard them in your life but when you hear them, you have an instantaneous reaction.” Light should be like that—the “a-ha” moment when the space becomes alive.