Richard is one of Australia’s leading lighting and production designers with a diverse portfolio of work over twenty years spanning entertainment, architectural, special event, corporate and light art markets. His work can be seen in the largest arenas and stadiums on world tours with Ricky Martin, The Backstreet Boys and China’s G.E.M., or at light festivals ranging from Vivid Sydney to Christmas at Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom. Outside traditional venues, Richards designs have broken records at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, illuminated the world’s tallest building at New Year’s Eve on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, lit the MacDonnell Ranges for Alice Spring’s Parrtjima festival and redefined the architecture of the Auckland Harbour Bridge with a permanent lighting installation. Other credits include fifteen years of design for the massive Sydney Mardi Gras Party, touring productions of the musical Cats, design for Australian band Pnau and festivals including Floriade NightFest, Sydney Chinese New Year, Australian Fashion Week and the NRL Grand Final.
Beginning his career while still at high school in Sydney, Richard got his start in amateur theatre and school productions. What started as a teenage passion developed into a career – Richard founded Mandylights, the country’s first entertainment design company in 2006, and today the company employs some twenty staff across offices in Australia and the United Kingdom. The firm is renowned as a world leader in light-art design, has delivered concert projects to over sixty countries and designed everything from automotive shows in India to corporate parties on the beach in Fiji. Richard sits as Managing Director and Senior Designer at Mandylights which remains the largest company of its type in the region.
Richard has long been fascinated by light and its ability to draw people together and share experiences; from the smallest community theatre shows to the world’s largest light festivals and concerts – light is used to attract people, to focus attention, and to augment and support the moment. For a long time, Richard’s passion saw him hidden behind lighting consoles, programming away at the back of a theatre. At Vivid Sydney in 2011, the presentation of his first light artwork was a revolutionary experience which saw him draw immense pleasure from the idea that people could experience a lighting installation on their own terms – visitors could pick the time, weather conditions, viewing position, even operate interactive controls and essentially curate their own experience – quite different to the structured presentation that traditional theatre or concert stages offered.. People were able to interact with the art – to gain their own unique experience and interpret it however they saw fit. Richard has gone on to design a series of immersive, overwhelming lighting installations that now tour the world offering these same experiences to millions of people. His work jumps between traditional disciplines as he attempts to bring elements of design from all areas of his work to each project – with no formal training his design style has simply evolved through experience, emotion and evolution.
Today, Richard collaborates with his team and anybody who will share a drink with him. He regularly lectures and speaks at industry events and training colleges and actively designs and consults on new product development with manufacturers around the world. Richard is also passionate about the next generation of designers and together with Mandylights, still designs and supports dozens of school, charity and community projects around Sydney every year.