The pull of light for Agapeh Allahverdi


“On your 15-minute break, go sit under the sky,” says former astronomy student and practicing designer, Agapeh Allahverdi. The newest LUMA member, an Iranian-Armenian native and Los Angeles local of 24 years, recently talked painting, photography, and the emotional impact light has on the human psyche. “Middle Eastern architecture is very different. It’s built around the pools and courtyards. I’m very aware of how sunlight interacts with these spaces and how it informs your day.”

Her background makes her very aware of light, where it comes from and how it’s refracted and broken to create the illusion of the sky’s color. “The big blue light hovering over our heads is fascinating,” Allahverdi says. “It’s inherently primal to want to bask under its soft vastness.” She contrasts this to feelings from the built environment. “Compare how you feel sitting inside under a gyp ceiling versus a vaulted cathedral.” At a base level, her interests lie in our physical and mental health, how light relates to mood, and how color can change your state of mind. Her analysis of these ideas manifest in a multitude of ways – a passionate painter, oil is one of the many mediums she uses to explore light.

At first glance, Allahverdi’s paintings have a portal-like pull, evoking varying emotions with their abstract form. “It takes you away, not physically but mentally. Light has that type of power; to take you somewhere,” she says. Her collection of light abstractions not only captures the physical essence of light through layers of color and texture but pulls on the viewer’s emotions through their individual experiences. “Paintings are a way of bringing back memories - capturing them in an obscure form.”

Similarly, Allahverdi’s photographic endeavors help her pause space and time. These practices are easily translated to architecture and the development of space through light and shadow. Allahverdi credits her time living in Europe to her simplistic “less is more” design style, always simplifying to the lowest common denominator.

“The light traveling through the lens at that very moment can be frozen forever. Photography is about being present and taking in the light - painting is about contemplation and abstraction of the literal.”

Allahverdi looks forward to the future of her design career. “My high-end residential work has always come from a place of comfort and coziness – moving that mentality into LUMA’s workplace projects will be an exciting challenge. I’m thrilled to work with people from three totally different cities and see what perspectives we can all bring to the table.” Her expertise in installation art along with commercial and residential design are a welcomed layer to the evolving LUMA team .

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Agapeh’s Book Recommendations:
Lumitecture by Anna Yudina
Light Show by Cliff Lauson