Your Interview Francesca Feltrin
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
My name is Francesca Feltrin and I work as a Junior Lighting Designer at Lightsphere in Zurich, Switzerland. I hold a Master Degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Pisa (Italy) and a specializing Master in Lighting Design and LED Technology from the Politecnico di Milano (Italy).
My passion for lighting design started during the last year of University in Pisa, when I attended a seminar about Illuminating Engineering, which opened a whole new world to me. Since then, I decided to focus my education on Lighting. I’m very fond of Art and Museum exhibitions, so I decided to start this new journey with a research project on Museum lighting and visual perception, which I developed as my final Master thesis at the KU Leuven in Gent (Belgium). This research experience made me realise that I wanted to stay closer to the Architecture field and focus on lighting design and this led me to the Specializing Master in Lighting design at the Politecnico di Milano.
Tell us about your work – is there a specific type of project you like to work on or an area you specialise in and why?
I had the chance to work a lot on High End Retail and Hospitality projects as Restaurants and Hotels and I love designing atmospheres through lighting for this kind of venues and create unique experiences.
On the other hand, I discovered myself more interested in the ways light can affect our everyday life, how it can be carefully designed for spaces where we spend a lot of our time, from our home to our office or classroom, and places we visit pretty often, as the supermarket or our favourite book shop. No extraordinary interior design choices, no luxurious materials and furniture to highlight, no huge decorative chandeliers, but quite normal spaces where simple tricks and the right luminaire can make the difference on our visual perception and wellbeing.
What project are you most proud of and why?
A Retail project in Venice, the first project I worked on from concept to implementation. There have been many issues of coordination with the rest of the team and some difficulties once we got on site and I didn’t have any previous work experience in managing a project. Anyway, I managed to handle the situation and I’m very proud of the result, the atmosphere inside the shop is exactly as I pictured it in the first stages of the project.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge for me was understanding which type of designer I wanted to be and which type of projects I was really interested in, and deciding how to proceed with my career accordingly. A company can be great and inspiring for so many reasons, but it can also be not the right place for you to grow and work at your best.
How does light inspire you?
The thing I found most fascinating it’s the way light interacts with our brain, how visual stimuli trigger feelings and moods in our mind. It always amazes me how light interacts with shapes, colors, textures and its ability to affect our visual experience of a space, and thus our feelings about it. The most stimulating (and difficult) part of this work to me is learning how to translate the technical and tangible aspects of light – all the parameters that we can quantify, measure – into emotions and feelings, into something intangible and so subjective.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
Feel free to speak your mind and demand to be listened. We all deserve respect, attention and space to shine.
Francesca is also the WIL Ambassador in Switzerland.
“Feel free to speak your mind and demand to be listened. We all deserve respect, attention and space to shine.”