What Do Brad Pitt and Lighting Designers Have Up Their Sleeve?

Lights are a big part of Hollywood, not only used to illuminate the infamous sign, but also to power the cameras, and deliver the images that the industry runs off of. It should come as no real surprise that the titans of the movie-making industry are intrigued with what it takes to illuminate our world.

Now enters the story of Brad Pitt and the Château Miraval. The 17th century estate outside of Paris, France had a lighting system installed that drew rave reviews from the design and architecture community. Formerly the residence of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, the Château Miraval’s design concept is being claimed by both Pitt and Odile Soudant of Lumières Studio.

Soudant was the head of the lighting department in the French design firm Ateliers Jean Nouvel, and Pitt is said to be a “design aficionado.” The lighting concept used in the Château was so impressive that a costly legal battle has kicked off over who has intellectual property rights over it. As Soudant said: “‘I am an artist and this is my work. When someone tries to steal my work, it is something else.” There was also a dispute over the payment for the lighting display.

A French court recently agreed with Soudant’s assessment, to the astonishing degree of $756,000. Work on the lighting of the Château Miraval went on for three years and at one point employed 17 people full-time. The revelations of the court case show the levels of importance simple lighting design can have on a property.

Pitt is appealing and has made only one comment through a lawyer. All parties involved seemed to at least agree that light, in both design and use, is very important. Look for this trend to continue as people become more conscious of the health effects of good (and bad lighting), and the emphasis on energy usage becomes more acute.

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