"I am designing lighting that can be enjoyed by everyone" - #IamCIBSE

I am an Assistant Architectural Lighting Engineer

I am SLL Young Lighter of the Year 2018

I am designing lighting that can be enjoyed by everyone

Emma Beadle is an Assistant Architectural Lighting Engineer at WSP and winner of SLL Young Lighter of the Year 2018. As part of the #IamCIBSE campaign, we spoke to Emma about the experience of winning the award and working in lighting design.

On the building services industry….
Being part of the building services industry allows me to make a difference with the way people live their everyday life. Lighting is important and can not only create functionality through helping people move safely through a space, but it can also create an atmosphere to a space where experiences are made through the type of lighting that is in that space. Good, creative lighting can also inspire people and add an extra something to their everyday.

The best thing about my job is being able to create these amazingly lit spaces for the everyday person. Designing lighting that can be enjoyed by everyone without having to pay a ticket price to see it.

On her Master’s project….
My project; Children’s Utopian Visons of the City: co-designing lighting masterplans through play and exploration, introduced the basics of the field of lighting design to children in a fun and interactive way. The study establishes that children should receive an education in lighting design to develop design thinking and problem-solving skills that enhance personal development. It also identifies how children and adults alike need to become more aware of a career in lighting to ensure the longevity of the industry.

The most interesting finding from the project was understanding that children do know quite a bit about lighting design already, but the problem is that they don’t know the right words to describe it. This is why it is easier to capture the children’s thoughts on lights through drawings and ‘lighting games’, and then discussing while playing with the light.

On SLL Young Lighter of the Year….
I was first introduced to the SLL and their Young Lighter of the Year competition by my line manager, Sacha Abizadeh. During my job interview with Sacha, I was showing him my masters project and he suggested that I should enter the competition. By entering the competition, my main aim was to raise awareness of people’s lack of knowledge about the lighting industry and in particular with children. I also wanted to highlight that an education in lighting design is important for everyone, even if they are not going to be lighting designers in the future and the best time to introduce lighting design is at a young age and in a fun and interactive way.

The SLL have been very supportive of my project and by winning the SLL Lighter of the Year, this has helped raise awareness of the importance of designers going back into school to share their knowledge of light and have a little play with light. The experience has also introduced me to more contacts in the lighting industry which has helped with my work life and my project.

The SLL hold a number of events throughout the year, one of my favourites is Ready, Steady, Light. I have been twice now and have had great fun at each. The event allows you to get outdoors and hand’s on with luminaries, developing practical knowledge of luminaries.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for SLL Young Lighter of the Year?
I would say to go for it, you will have a great time and it is a worthwhile experience. And even if you don’t win you will have learnt something and advanced your own personal project.  I would also suggest thinking about why your project is important and try to answer this concisely – with lots of pretty pictures!

I entered the competition after several months from my masters. The project reminded me how passionate I was about the education of lighting for young children and how important it is to do introduce the basics of lighting design in a fun and interactive way to keep the children engaged throughout the workshops.


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