Light artist Angus Muir on Iceland and Scandi-Noir TV

It takes a great amount of skill to change the way we interact with our environment in an enjoyable and memorable way. This is the area of expertise for light artist Angus Muir and darkness his palette. An ‘architect of objects, spaces and experiences’, a fitting byline with his background in architecture, Muir founded award-winning studio Angus Muir Design in 2014 and today works with a core team of three, plus contractors and collaborators, to create some of the most incredible light-focused installations in New Zealand and abroad. Highlights (literally) include Auckland’s Bright Nights down in the Viaduct, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Jerusalem Festival of Lights where the team set up artwork in the Old City, tacking on a mission to the Dead Sea afterwards. “When we travel to a new place, we try and take something out into the wild, for a cool installation,” says Muir, who sat down to illuminate some of his inspirations for us.

My personal style is defined by: Yoga shorts / flannel shirts / bright socks. Rural activewear? 

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An unforgettable place I visited was: Iceland. I was lucky enough to do some work in Europe earlier this year and spent a week there. The four hours of daylight mixed with snow storms and incredible landscape was simply amazing. A perfect backdrop for some lights.

Angus Muir in Iceland

Next place I’d like to travel to: Back to the Island of Ishigaki in Japan. The perfect mix of Japanese culture in a tropical island setting. 

An object I would never part with is: Honestly – I am an object person. I’ve got five metres of Lundia shelving loaded with objects from various travels so it would be too hard to narrow it down. I love bright colours and usually geometric shapes. Circles mostly.

The one artist whose work I would collect is: Helle Mardahl. I recently discovered her work — the colours and shapes are fantastic. Most artists I follow work on a scale that isn’t very collectable.

Helle Mardahl

On my wish list is: Big gatherings of people, light festivals and international travel.

My favourite app is: Camera or Instagram. 

An indulgence I would never forgo is: Coffee. I love a good hit multiple times a day.  

A person who inspires me is: James Turrell. His use of light and space in the most simple ways is so mystifying and ingenious. I have been lucky to experience a number of his large works in person.

 Bridget’s Bardo, by James Turrell

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city it would be:  I am yet to find a suburb with a Bunnings, Lululemon, coffee, and a good sneaker shop all within walking distance.

I can’t miss an episode of: I’ve developed a love of Scandi-Noir TV. I think the subtitles allow me to fully engage and focus. No multi-tasking.

In my fridge you’ll always find: Sparkling water and Kewpie Mayo. 

My favourite room in my house is: Our deck, a lovely sunny spot in our apartment. 


The podcasts I listen to are: Casefile. Can’t get enough.

I recently discovered:  Wang Mart which is a Korean Supermarket. All the hard to find ingredients under one roof.

The people I rely on for my wellbeing are: My girlfriend Liz and our two Burmese cats. 

My favourite website is: Pinterest. Simple answer – but I love going down the rabbit hole on there.

The grooming product I can’t live without is: Ecostore Manuka Honey soap. Love it. I take it everywhere and have three boxes at home in case they stop producing it.   

Music I’m currently listening to: Anything with a good beat, not too many words, preferably in another language. Psychemagik, Shinichiro Yokota, HNNY.


If I wasn’t doing what I am, I would be: Working backstage in a theatre.

I have a collection of: Pencil cases, socks, craft knives and sneakers.


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