R.A.W Consuelo Miranda Barroso
3 November 2023 // R.A.W
Among the many perks, in the lighting industry there is certainly the possibility to count on a group of innovative professionals as a source of inspiration.
My recent experience at Alingsas only confirmed this, having me work alongside an incredible technical and administrative team, such as the fellow workshop heads and the Alingsas Energi team, and above all the group of students and professionals who spent a week working on the creation of a temporary installation.
I had the opportunity to interview one of the enthusiasts in my group, Consuelo Miranda Barroso, for the R.A.W Series, to understand her journey as a lover of light.
Can you tell us briefly about your initial school/university life? How being an architect and landscape designer informs your lighting practice?
I was born and raised in Santiago, and in my last year of high school I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life.. which was very difficult, because I was only 17 and the only things I could think about at that time were performing arts, visual arts and math (I was a big fan of math). So, I decided to Study Architecture. And thanks to my dad’s & mom's support, I moved from Santiago to Valparaiso to study architecture in a very special university which I think was perfect for me, because they have a very unique way of teaching and let students explore creativeness through poetry and observation.(Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso).
While I was an architecture student, I got really interested in landscape design because for me it was a way to connect with nature through architecture, and also because it was interesting to look back and see how we, as humans, have evolved and adapted to different territories. So in my last year of study, architecture became to me a “medium” to give us wellness and to make us aware of the territories we inhabit.
And today, I see that my architecture and landscape background have given me a wider approach to lighting and a challenge to hopefully contribute to our environment and our well-being.
When did you decide to start experimenting with light? Was there any specific incident/person that you met inspired you in your career-choice?
I have always been related to light through nature, but I think that I started to look at light and lighting in a different way when I was 15, because I joined a Musical Theatre Company in an integral performance arts academy, and I had a tremendous teacher who made me realized the importance of light in a performance and how the show can be perceived different not only for the audience but also by the artist with a good lighting.
And a few years later, when I was an architecture student, I made an erasmus in Politecnico di Torino and decided to take a course of something that I would never learn at my university, and I chose “Architecture degli interni e Illuminotecnica”, and after I finished my erasmus (and everything that comes with that experience) I already knew that I wanted to focus my career in lighting.
Tell us about your work. Any specific project that is very dear to you?
I’ve worked in two lighting design studios where I have been able to develop different projects, but I think my dearest project is the first project that I got to do when I started my career as an independent lighting designer and decided to create my own studio Lux Coeli.
It is called “Casa Vista Lago”, is a residential house in the south of Chile, and it is not about the end result (of which I'm really happy with), but this is the project that made me believe in my lighting design knowledge. And even though “things” always happens in the construction process, to have the capacity to solve problems, work with other specialists and decide what is best for the project is what makes me realize that I have to trust myself and the team behind the project to actually have a happy result.
Can you tell us about any feedback that you get from the general public that makes you feel happy about the work that you are doing & makes you realize the difference you are making through your work?
Mostly I get really happy because clients or architects who I worked with are happy not only about the result but also about the process. To me it is important to involve them in the creative phase to achieve good and expected results. Because if all of us are happy and agree in the decisions we are making, a good result is achievable.
I love to be truly involved in the projects, aiming to democratize lighting , or better, that all of us can access good quality lighting.
I always remind myself before I start any project: “It doesn't have to be expensive to have quality, it has to be designed and adjusted to who will inhabit it”.
You have been awarded the Silhouette mentorship this year. How that boosted your career?
Yes, and I'm so grateful and happy for this recognition. My mentor, Diana Galic, has encouraged me to go further on my career as an independent and also to go further on research. She’s a truly inspiring, powerful and professional woman.
On the other hand, the Silhouette Awards have given me the opportunity to think about lighting without boundaries, to learn and actually, to get more involved in the lighting community and it has opened me some opportunities to keep growing as a professional.
What are your thoughts on the importance of creating strong bridges within the lighting community?
I think it is beautiful to have moments and opportunities to create and strengthen the lighting community, especially in this modern and fast times we are living. It is important to step aside from immediacy, and actually have time to connect with people, share knowledge, talk about our dreams, fears and challenges in our art craft.
In my experience, being active in the lighting community has become an open door of opportunities to meet beautiful and passionate people from the other side of the globe, and the stronger it becomes, the more we can raise awareness and educate about light and lighting design.
REFLECTING ON PAST/ FUTURE
As a female designer did you have any experiences which were more gender-biased?
Specifically gender-biased situations no, but it has happened to me with one project, that the client wasn’t really respecting my time or work, he stood me up 4 times and always second guessing my decisions (I don’t know if it is because I am a Woman or because I am Young) but I had to put some limits and I actually decided not to continue with the project. It was really frustrating, especially as I’m not the kind of person that leaves things unfinished (especially work), but I had to put myself first, and I am happy I did it.
What are the goals for the future?
For the near future I’m looking to settle with my lighting design studio.
I really want to be a 100% independent designer, while expanding to research and light-art experimentation.
I’m currently applying to the Sustainable Environment Design Master’s program of the Universidad Austral of Chile, to delve into the multifaceted aspects of lighting design, particularly in the relation we have with natural light within the different territories we inhabit.
I have been eager to explore the concept of lighting identity within cities and countryside zones, and its profound impact on the well-being of inhabitants. Understanding the psychological and physiological effects of light in urban and rural environments is a topic of increasing relevance, and my goal is to contribute to the body of knowledge in this field, especially because rural zones in Chile are having an accelerated growth since the pandemic.
And in longer terms… I would love to teach lighting design and share my passion!
I hope I can make it someday!
Consuelo and her journey towards a passion for enlightenment is fascinating and I am sure it is only just beginning.