Women in Lighting: Light as a Material

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“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.” – Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

How does a lighting design project start and how does it evolve?

Often it is the client or interior designer who requests the presence of a lighting expert. Their architect or interior designer who requests the services of a lighting designer.

The sooner the collaboration begins, the easier and better the outcome.  Success comes when all members of the creative team work together towards a common goal.

Let’s think of light as a material!

We’re used to thinking about what the surface materials will be like; the tiles, fabrics and furniture, but what will the light be like?  Will it be warm or cool, direct or indirect?  Bright or not?  So many choices and no “correct” answer.

Designing the light means knowing the energy of light; its physical and technical aspects and knowing how to manage it.  It’s about enhancing the space in the best possible way – comfortable, pleasant, close to our needs, our desires and expectations.

This is beyond selecting lighting based on technical performance alone; better solutions come from experimentation with light and a search for new expressive languages of light.

As we consider materials in a space, in three dimensions, will the light bring life and shape?  Will the shadows reveal new, perhaps unexpected forms? Will colours become intense?  Meticulous choices made harmoniously compose the space and make the work unique.

We are at home, in our dining room. The space and our sensations are linked to the emotions we feel.  The composition of light and material are central to how we perceive our environment.

Can you tell me about the light you perceive in the place that makes you feel most at home?


About Maria Favoino

Maria Favoino, Creative director of 18Degrees, Specialist Lighting Design consulting based in London & a member of Women in Lighting. Maria specialises in combining her skills, gained from 10 years of experience in architecture, with the specific application of light in the built environment. Light has always been at the centre of her research and professional growth. Maria’s projects are characterised by the composition of light and the synthesis of pattern, rhythm, symmetry, balance, contrast and proportion.
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