The Magical, Illuminating World of Christine Hope & Focus Lighting

Meet Christine Hope, Principal Designer of the award-winning architectural lighting design firm Focus Lighting.

After graduating from NYU with Bachelor’s degrees in Drama and Art History, Christine joined Focus Lighting in 2001. Since then, her team has tackled a range of internationally acclaimed projects. From museums to restaurants to hotels and more, Christine and her team use lighting to create dynamic, magical, one-of-a-kind spaces. With collaboration at the heart of their work, they bring technique and artistry to every project.

Multiple projects have earned Christine the recognition of the Lumen Award of Merit, including the 2008/9 New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball. Additionally, she was named one of the “40 under 40 Lighting Designers” by Lighting Magazine in 2019 and was accepted as a member of the IESNYC’s Board of Managers in 2023.

Join us as we take a peek inside the creative mind of Christine Hope in this edition of Love Happens’ Design Questionnaire.

Meet Christine Hope of Focus Lighting in the Lh Design Questionnaire

Christine Hope of Focus Lighting
Christine Hope, Principal Designer of Focus Lighting

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness for me has been an ongoing journey based in learning the difference between having fun and feeling truly happy at my core. I believe happiness is feeling a quiet inner peace and being curious enough to find joy in the ordinary aspects of life.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement (so far) is the balance I’ve struck between my professional career and my role as a mother. It isn’t always easy, but demonstrating to my kids what it means to be a creative designer who is passionate about their work is invaluable. They know that I am here for them to cook dinner together or support them at their school events, but they see I’m also traveling to keep pushing our project goals forward and they are hearing me discuss design concepts or doing construction coordination on Zoom calls. I’m proud that I can expose them to the many facets of life as a lighting designer, and hopefully, I am inspiring them to pursue their own passions. I’m dedicated to teaching them that anything is possible when you have passion and energy!

New Years Eve 2008 Times Square Ball by Christine Hope
Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball 2008/2009

What profession does your alter ego have?

My alter ego is an event planner! I love the idea of creating special, celebratory spaces that look and feel spectacular. I would love to organize all the little details, feel the anticipation building up to the big day, and orchestrate an unforgettable experience for my clients.

Tavern on the Green lighting by Christine Hope and Focus Lighting
Tavern on the Green, New York | Photo by Ryan Fischer

The project you will never forget.

Tavern on the Green was one of my favorite projects and one that I will certainly never forget. Having the opportunity to work on such an iconic space in the city that I love was really incredible, and the team on the project was comprised of some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. It makes such a huge difference when you have a collaborative team that believes in cooperation and has a unified vision of what we are trying to achieve.

Your favorite business tool or resource.

My favorite resource is nature. It may sound cliché, but it is consistently where I turn to for inspiration. The vivid colors of a sunset, the surprising lavender color in the shadow of a tree on a snowy hill, the texture of rustling leaves in the moonlight…it all speaks to me and helps me catalogue a series of visual images that I can draw on in my design work.

Salone di Mobile Milano lighting design by Focus Lighting
The Diner for the Salon di Mobile, Milan | Photo by Michele de Candia

The most timeless design.

A simple, handsome, and understated crystal chandelier. I feel like it could fit into just about any kind of space and feel like a classic statement, whether it’s a restaurant, an industrial loft, or even a log cabin.

The biggest design faux pas.

A huge design faux pas with lighting is trying to light a space with only one layer of light. It never works and always feels too flat or too glary. Lighting needs to be considered, composed, and balanced to feel good and natural. A decorative fixture must fill a room with soft ambient light, while accent lights highlight the special elements, and millwork details fill in the nooks and crannies with warm glow. The result is a scene that just feels magically perfect, and it is impossible to achieve when there is only one lighting element.

Hard rock hotel and casino by Focus Lighting
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida | Photo by Cheryl Stieffel

Your design motto.

My design motto is a quote by artist Chuck Close, written on a little note that I have pinned to my computer monitor: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” It sounds a bit unromantic, but to me, it summarizes exactly what I do. Trust the process. Even when you don’t know where to start, just start. Look for the images that spark your imagination, find the words that support the concept. Develop the layers that support the vision. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, just start working, and the ideas will form themselves.

Our publisher, KOKET, makes statement décor. If you were to design a room around one of their pieces, which would it be, and why?

I feel inspired by the entire Spellbound line. I would love to explore how light could interact with the deep textures of those metallic flowers.

spellbound cabinet read & shop koket
spellbound bar cabinet read & shop koket metal lace nature inspired furniture

Love Happens when…

You open your heart and mind to possibilities.

Explore more from Christine Hope of Focus Lighting

Feature Image: Koma Restaurant, Singapore. Lighting by Focus Lighting | Photo by Warren Jagger – All Photos Courtesy of Focus Lighting

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