India not only has an estimated population of 1,177,255,000 in 28 states, over 7,500 kilometres of coastline, the world’s highest mountains, five hundred wildlife sanctuaries and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it also has an established lighting community.

Lighting engineers make for a strong group, but they too recognize a growing lighting design community and are opening up to share knowledge and expand their outlook.

That having been said, and in spite of the innumerable large-scale lighting projects that have been designed and realized in the last five to ten years urban lighting in general is still in its infancy. It is not that there are not sufficient luminaires installed. There are many, very many. High-pressure sodium sources in clear glass bowls mounted on at least five-metre tall poles are nothing out of the ordinary, spilling light onto adjacent spaces. Tiny churches and elaborate temples are brightly, sometimes even colourfully lit – even with strings of flashing lights.

The need for a more sensitive approach and for lighting designed to meet the requirements of people of all ages that use public spaces is (literally) glaringly apparent.

Many Indians with a good schooling choose to study abroad, returning to their country of origin with one or more degrees in their pockets and the determined will to give something back to the land and people they love. One such  young professional is Kapil Surlakar, PLD Recognition Award winner in 2007 (Best Newcomer). Kapil Surlakar is an architect by first profession and studied in Wismar, Germany, attaining a Masters degree in Architectural Lighting Design in 2005. Kapil is the driving force behind the 2011 workshop in Goa and together with colleagues from the Indian Institute of Interior Designers (IIID) organised the three-day seminar in Panaji, Goa from 10. to 12. February, 2010. The educational event was designed to draw attention to the forthcoming workshop.

The seminar attracted 240 architects, lighting engineers, lighting designers and others involved in the lighting supply chain. The quality of the attendees was high, the practising lighting designers among them well experienced.

The line-up of lighting designers giving papers left the audience enthralled, informed and inspired.

Tapio Rosenius/FIN/E began by answering the question “What does a lighting designer do?”

His presentation outlined a professional lighting designer’s scope of work and explained what a lighting designer can contribute to a project and how his/her expertise can help save energy and costs.

Annetrin Jytte Basler/D/AUS went further into “The lighting designer’s tools and skills” to demonstrate how an ongoing lighting designer can prepare for a career in this profession. The afternoon session on the first day was dedicated to the topic of daylight.

Kevan Shaw/UK, IALD addressed the different aspects and advantages of daylight design in his talk entitled “Energy-saver daylight – the quality of daylight and cultural differences”, and Christopher Mok/HK, IALD Associate member, went on to describe the lighting designers “Reference to daylight when designing with electric light”.

Day two kicked off with an animating talk by Anne Militello/USA on “Light and personal experience”.

Anne explained to the audience how she was drawn to a career in lighting, painting a vivid picture of

what fascinates her about light.’ She was followed by Annetrin Jytte Basler and Christopher Mok in a double slot focussing on “Lighting for Humans”. Annetrin Jytte Basler gave a clearly structured, highly informative talk about the biological effect of light on human beings and Christopher Mok showed some case studies of human-oriented lighting projects.

After lunch, Alison Ritter/UK/D  gave a brief presentation of the Professional Lighting Designers’ Association. Joachim Ritter, who also moderated the entire seminar event, gave an interactive lecture on perception and its significance in architectural design, and then brought Kevan Shaw back onto the stage to give a demonstration of light sources and luminaires.

The third day began with a paper by Dr. Martin Lupton/UK on “The need for qualified lighting professionals and the responsibility they bear in the architectural design process”. The rest of the day was dedicated to guided practical sessions. Groups of ten to fifteen attendees spent 60 minutes thinking in terms of light and experimenting with the equipment donated by sponsors. Their task was to create a series of emotions in light.

The three-day seminar brought together many of the key players in the lighting industry in India: manufacturers, designers and engineers.

The time spent in Goa was productive and positive. Networking opportunities gave people the chance to share their visions and goals with like-minded professionals. The educators present were very keen to make a significant step in lighting design education in India at university level.

The Lights in Goa seminar was generously supported by Philips (Principal Sponsor), and Aldabra, Ligman, Mode Lighting and Targetti Poulsen (Session Sponsors) – thus demonstrating their role as a partner in the development of the market in India.