Young talents present fresh ideas in a modern-format conference and prove that the lighting design profession not only exists but has a bright future!
Sixteen young talents, some still students at renowned universities around the world, some newly qualified professionals who recently started work for different well-established professional lighting practices in the USA and Europe, were invited to Edinburgh from 2. – 3. February, 2015 to present their topics of choice, supported by their coaches – professional lighting specialists.
Brendan Keely, former head lighting designer of BDP in Manchester and now the SLL Secretary, sent two single speakers and one double-act into the race for Round III.
Hong Wang/RC from Parsons The New School of Design in New York/USA presented a paper on “Architectural lighting design for visually impaired people in public spaces”, offering solutions for lighting design, spatial refinement, signage system design and a new set of guidelines. Hong’s report showed that none of these points are currently considered in the public transport areas she researched on and, with the help of visual adaptation, showed to a shocking extent how little visually impaired people could actually see in these areas. Her approach presented solutions to assist not only visually impaired people, but created a generally more organised lighting and signage system in the New York underground.
Pernille Krieger and Eik Lykke Nielsen from Aarhus University in Denmark presented their ongoing research study on “Lighting design for the elderly”, offering a status quo report of current lighting conditions in different elderly homes and general guidelines for innovative lighting design solutions to improve life quality and prolong independent life of elderly citizens, while minimizing the economic impact on society.
The last speaker in Brendan’s team was Regina Lausell, a former student from Parsons The New School and now a lighting designer at Tirschwell & Co in New York. Her presentation on “Shedding light on human behaviors: Qualifying light as a cognitive stimulus in individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)” aimed to assist in the development of new applications for light and heath and in the prevention and alleviation of chronic anxiety symptoms related to GAD.
Jorge Calderón was supported by coach Emrah Baki Ulas, Sydney-based lighting designer at Steensen Varming. Jorge’s presentation “Light through the skin” showed the balance between humans, light, environment and design factors so as to create building envelopes based on biological concepts. Jorge is a qualified Mexican architect who went on to study lighting design at UNAM in Mexico City.
The next talent in Emrah’s team was Thimo Kortmann, a lighting design student from HAWK in Hildesheim, Germany. Thimo presented an engaging presentation on “From stage architecture – what we can learn from theatre lighting”, demonstrating how closely linked the two fields are and how theatrical techniques can be helpful in architectural projects. Thimo’s presentation included live experiments on stage and animated the audience to answer questions during his talk.
Emrah’s last talent was Rosyln Leslie from Edinburgh Napier University with her presentation on “Positive camouflage in pedestrian lighting”. Roslyn presented the outcome of her research on pedestrians’ behaviour and gave rise to the question as to whether it is possible that patterned light can create less light trespass and pollution whilst creating an ambient, safe environment for pedestrians.
Emrah’s team was followed by the talents in the team headed by Florence Lam, who is Arup’s global lighting design head.
Yeliz Dilaver graduated from the University of Wismar, Germany and has recently started working as part of the design team at Vuku Design in Istanbul/TY. Her presentation on “Natural light relationship with humans: from past to future” questioned the meaning of natural light, and challenges all lighting designers to understand the influence and relationship between humans and natural light before designing.
Jenny Werbell is a newly qualified lighting designer and has recently started working for BuroHappold in New York, USA. Her paper on “Nested neighbourhood” used principles of adaptive reuse to activate the interior of a building with neighbourhood longevity so that it can become an agent of change for its local ecology. She investigated how small interior light interventions can interrupt the routine and pattern of how residents react.
Isabel Sanchez/E, a lighting designer at Dot Dash in New York/USA was the last talent in Florence’s team. Her paper on the use or lack of lighting in solitary confinement cells questioned whether light is a privilege or actually a human right. Her paper “Enhancing human experience in a confined environment through light interaction” included interviews with aggrieved parties.
Iain Ruxton from Speirs and Major was in charge of team four. Since Gregor Gärtner from HAWK in Hildesheim, Germany had to cancel his appearance for health reasons, Iain had the difficult choice of deciding between only two talents. Stephanie Denholm from Edinburgh Napier University presented alternative ways for lighting urban green spaces, making a case that applying too much lighting for safety reasons may in fact have the opposite effect. Her presentation “Hide the brightness, see the light” was based on a case study of the Meadows Park in Edinburgh.
Stephanie was challenged by her fellow team member Jacinda Ross, a former Parson’s student and now part of the Arup San Fransisco team. Her presentation “The rooflines” strove to create both public and private architectural interventions that interconnect the underutilized rooftops of New York City/USA. Her detailed approach promoted the creative and innovative use of currently unused spaces, including the presentation of first 3D-printed models!
Finnish lighting designer Tapio Rosenius from Madrid, Spain headed the last team of young talents in the competition. Ana Luisa Vargas/CRI from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid/E has recently concluded an internship with Wonderfulight in France. Her presentation “Media and digital lighting: are we doing it right?” challenged lighting designers around the world to question exactly that. Ana’s presentation offered interesting surveys and interviews. Ana was followed by her fellow competitor Michael Hawkins/USA with his presentation on “The dim”, calling all lighting designers to “go sit in the dim”, based on humans’ relationship to dim light through the centuries – while nowadays public and private spaces are mostly highly over lit – intentionally or unintentionally. Michael joined Linnaea Tillett Lighting Design after graduating from Parsons the New School in New York/USA.
Tapio’s final talent Mahdis Aliasgari from Teheran, Iran was a student at KTH in Stockholm, Sweden. Her presentation “Illuminating the non-place” questioned how interactive lighting design can affect the quality of space in places of transit. In her presentation she focussed on a bus-stop, and reported on her research at bus-stops in Stockholm.
The event in Edinburgh included a small sponsors’ area, presentations from the coaches on the status quo of different professional practice issues, and a fun, but thought-provoking student debate on “LEDs are the only valid light source”, which was chaired by Iain Macrae from Thorn Lighting.
The hardest task in Round III was for the coaches to select the finalists from their respective teams with whom they will be competing in Rome at PLDC in the final Round of The Challenge 2014/15 edition.
As Iain Ruxton summed up after the event: “The standard of the papers has been very high and it leaves me thinking the future of the profession is in good shape!”
The following talents will be competing against each other in Rome:
Team Brendan: Pernille Krieger/DK and Eik Lykke Nielsen/DK
Team Emrah: Roslyn Leslie/UK
Team Florence: Isabel Sanchez/E/USA
Team Iain: Stephanie Denholm/UK
Team Tapio: Mahdis Aliasgari/IR/S
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