The reality behind the screens in times of lockdown

By Cláudia Falcão

Partly, this journalistic project The File Style is to be the voice for creative professionals in sharing their experiences in this period of lockdown. 

On an honest video-call-conversation, Belgian Robbie Thielemans talks about his passion for sound and vision-innovation systems. He reveals his fashion choices and his thoughts about how Covid-19 pandemic killed the means for creativity.  

Robbie and I are connections on LinkedIn. He reached out to thank me for a reaction on the DetaiLED Solutions post. More than ever, this network is the source, not to mention a call out for sharing of inspiring information and the best way to engage with creative professionals in such difficult times.

So, I asked straight away: How is it going with your creations in this time of lockdown? 

Honestly, he answers: Very tough! Corona did not kill creativity, but it killed the means for it. Soon after, I arranged an interview to know more insights.

Robbie Thielemans is a creative professional working in the display industry for over 26 years. Electronics and technology were his most interesting subjects. His admiration for inventors and their ability to create new things boosted his mindset to become one, but after some years he realised there’s nothing magical about it, only hard work and lots of brainstorming. “The process is not magical, but the result can be magic!” – Robbie’s quote.

In 1998 when the first LED screens changed the world of entertainment, Robbie and his team were the creative mastermind behind it. 

For years, he worked on projects and displays for the tours of famous artists such as U2, Robbie Williams and many others. As a high-tech visionary some of his creations we’ve seen on iconic events, like the Oscars.

Deeply frustrated about the governmental approach on the pandemic, he speaks his mind out: “Maybe, I’m too mathematical in my thinking, but the full approach on how it all happened was completely wrong and unbalanced. It hurts, the people and the economy!”

Creativity has no boundaries apart from financial means. “It’s very difficult now, without the financial means, to explain to people what the real idea is!” “Corona didn’t kill creativity but the means for it”.

Working as a creative consultant for the LED industry for almost three decades led him to have a strong reputation. He is recognised for his strength in turning ideas into a spectacle display with no delays. From his studio in Belgium, sometimes engaging family members in the assembling work, he develops teasers in an attempt to show his customers a prototype so that they make a budget for the project.  

Robbie converses so spontaneously and deeply about his proud achievements and what is the reality for the professionals in the creative industry affected by the lockdown. 

After such a deep conversation about the reality behind the screens in the present situation, to my surprise, the conversation turned to fashion by which he reveals his disappointment: “Men’s fashion is dull and not elegant, unlike female clothing. Wolford brand, for instance, “has a minimalist beauty in the design”, he says.

Intrinsically, he is proud of his designs and he has the same approach regarding his style. He wears brands that represent who he is, casual, sophisticated and minimalist. 

As for the logo of his consultancy company, Stereyo, it also has a profound combination: the letters of his two sons and also the transition of the wings into a butterfly.

Behind the screens, Robbie Thielemans lights up a spectacle, his identity, outspoken views and feelings, and his concerns about the reality of professionals and businesses in the creative industry. 


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