What is Dennis Parren up to now?

August 19 2016
CMYK Up 2013
CMYK Up 2013


In 2012 Dennis Parren was nominated for a Dutch Design Award under the category ‘Product’. His CMYK lamp shines through a steel construction that interrupts the path of light. As a result, the colours Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black) are separated.

The committee stated: “The CMYK lamp is an intelligent and rare crosspollination between pure industrial design and conceptual-researching free design”.

What has happened since then? We catch up briefly with Dennis Parren about his past, present and future.

How have you been fairing since your nomination for a Dutch Design Award in 2012?

Things are great! We have been busy since the nomination. I have learned more since Ieaving the Design Academy than when I was studying there. Through lots of experimentation I have developed multiple products and projects. After my nomination for the CMYK lamp it was produced in various designs. For example a 3D printed wall and table lamp was made. The CMYK lamp sold very well in Asia, the United States, France and Germany. We were really taken aback by the success abroad. We had a lot of great opportunities and have seen a lot of the world. Art and beauty seem to unite people, from San Francisco to Russia. Beauty is appreciated everywhere, irrespective of culture or norms and values.

Would you tell us a bit more about the projects you have been involved with since 2012?

In 2013 the first CMYK bulb was created. This bulb is used in various lamps, and it projects coloured shadows. The Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein added our work to the Lightopia Collection in 2013. And this was also the first year we participated in GLOW, the Eindhoven art light festival. In 2014 we developed multiple products and I was a guest on the children’s science programme ‘Klokhuis’. I really enjoyed that experience.

In 2015 we concentrated mostly on projects. We created three light projects for Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015. This allowed us to raise our work to the level of art. It was a stronger version of the work we had made for GLOW, which we participated in again in 2015. Lowlands commissioned us to make an 18-metre high tower from scaffolding, which can be found on the festival site. And for the Carmel College Salland in Raalte we designed Serendipity, a lamp that evokes wonderment among the students. I really enjoyed that. The students can look at lighting that poses new questions every day. And sometimes the questions that are posed have more going for them than the answers.

“Sometimes the questions that are posed have more going for them than the answers”

What is the highpoint for you and Studio Dennis Parren and why?

The highpoint has to be the ‘Lift’ for Lowlands 2015 (and 2016). The cooperation was great and we were given all the space we wanted to experiment. The organisers were open minded and that provided a lot of freedom. What struck me most was that the project took on another function when the gates opened. Our work became a meeting point for festival visitors. The shadows cast by the lamps going up and down drew in the audience. They crept towards the tower as it were. It also appeared to have a kaleidoscopic light effect that we had not realised beforehand. It was a fantastic project to be a part of.

Why have you opted for a different path?

I think my job is the most fun that I have ever had, it was a great and educational period. I have seen a lot and got to know a lot of people, but I am ready for something new. I have turned a corner in my life in which I attach more value to continuity, also for my children. Stopping at the highpoint seems like a good way to see what else I would like to do.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I had never expected that I would become a light designer. This happened by coincidence. But of course you do need to notice coincidences. I have noticed that I really excel in this. But I cannot say much about the future. Very likely it will be even better than I can now imagine. First of all I want to criss-cross through Europe with a camper, for a whole year. Who knows what could all occur on that journey.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’m leaving that open. I would really like fun work in which I can channel my creativity. Working for a company like LEGO really appeals to me. My life will be more focused on bringing up my children. I want to give them the freedom to learn from life. And who knows what I will stumble across. For the time being, we are off on a big adventure!

The Lift, A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise 2015
Serendipity, Carmel Collega Salland 2016
Gradients, Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2015
CMYK, Colorful mysteries of light 2011