Jan Fabel about his project Tower of Light | GLOW Special

Did you marvel at the light show on the Blob last year? Well, the makers are back and this time they will bring another icon of Eindhoven back to life. In the category Head Light we talk with Jan Fabel about his project Tower of Light.

Sometimes everything just falls into place. When personal history and current interests meet each other in a very good idea. It is exactly what happened to Jan Fabel last year. And he decided to share his idea with the director of GLOW.

So back to the beginning of 2017. Or let's start from the very beginning. It was 1956 when Jan Fabel was born in Haarlem. Shortly after that the family moved to Eindhoven. Dad was transferred by newspaper Het Parool to the south and Jan grew up in a city that was almost entirely dominated by Philips, literally being the only kid in his class without 'Philips parents'. But the heritage of the city also left its mark on the boy from the Randstad.

In his teens, video is the latest thing and Fabel starts experimenting. Video technology continues to be a huge theme in his work as an artist, teacher and owner of event and media companies throughout the years. He specializes in video mapping, with which he can project 3D animations on buildings and large objects (an airplane for example) in a spectacular way. For Fabel, now a citizen of Hilversum, it is the ultimate way of telling stories.

Back to 2017. Jan Fabel, now 'over sixty', has the feeling that it's time for something new, something fun and preferably 'on Eindhoven's most beautiful cinema screen'. He decides to simply present his idea to Ronald Ramakers, director of GLOW. ‘Why not do something with video mapping on the Blob this year?’ The two don't know each other, but the proposal is received enthusiastically. Together with Dirk van Poppel and Erwin Steijlen, he pays a wonderful tribute during GLOW 2017 to the light bulb, which is slowly disappearing from our lives.

"It's time for something new, something fun"

Jan Fabel

This year the trio plays with the story of one of the city's most famous buildings, the Lichttoren. The place where the incandescent lamps used to be tested, which withstood the bombardments of World War II and later became the headquarters of the Philips Lighting Division. For Fabel, too, it is a beacon of his youth. ‘When I saw the orange light looming from the Light Tower in the distance, I knew I was back home.’

During GLOW, Fabel and his team will recollect old glory and reveal visions for the future. What happened in the Light Tower over the years? And what could the future bring? Music, light and shadow build a magical illusion together. Six huge light projectors will be placed across the street and make this monument appear as light as a feather one moment, later weighty and almost majestic. 'A fascinating ode to what shadow and light can create.’

When we talk with Fabel, on the ground floor in the Lichttoren, he tells us about the meeting planned with the residents of the building the next day. Last year they could enjoy the lights on the Blob from their apartments, this year they are part of the show themselves. He doesn't expect any problems but still likes to discuss his plans. ‘Also to involve them and to prevent someone from opening his window during the show.’