Your Interview Fuko Sasaki
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
My name is Fuko Sasaki. I am a lighting designer at Uchihara Creative Lighting Design Inc.
Even before I entered university, I was interested in a society in which women can display their full potential. I first got interested in lighting design because I heard it’s “an industry with many female representatives and a lot of women playing active roles,” not because lighting itself. I was also interested in food writers and copywriters in the sense of having a professional skill and making good use of a woman’s perspective.
I liked paintings and was interested in space design too. Then I found the cross point. I decided to pursue a career in lighting design.
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've worked for the company for only three years, so the number of my projects isn’t a lot yet. I've mainly engaged in master plans and guidelines for urban development projects so far. It’s my favorite genre of work. The theme of my graduation project was also community development and civic pride. It’s tough to put it all together, but I think the job is fulfilling because I can meet a lot of people, not just designers, but also business owners, government and city officials, and get involved with them.
Master plans start from scratch, so it’s, as it were, a job like drawing dreams. There were some projects that I couldn't follow until they took shape because the tasks were limited, but someday I want to design down to the detail on a project like this and be involved in it until completion. Although it’s necessary to revise Japan’s current system to make it happen, I want to work on these kinds of projects totally and produce results, not partly.
What project are you most proud of and why?
The Kashiwanoha Innovation Campus project left a deep impression on me in which I was involved from the very beginning. It was a redevelopment project, and I was in charge of the guideline for a division in the vast site.
The location was a complex area with university research facilities near around and dotted with houses and shops. As I read the architectural and landscape features, I put my thoughts into a lot of the perspective drawings and the site plans.
It was a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the project takes shape. Also, through this project, I found it hard to handle the job under various conditions.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
My company conducts the illumination at the historical temple called Shoren-in and the Shogunzuka Mound in Kyoto every year. We make adjustments at the sites twice a year, and it was quite challenging when I was in charge of it for the first time.
I had to give instructions to part-time workers and electricians while checking on the lightings within a limited time. It required both physical strength and intuition. It took me a while to get a sense of the difference between the image I had drawn with my perspective and actual light. Even when I was exhausted, I needed to explain to the client what we’d done and ask his confirmation of it in the end.
It’s a project that requires various abilities, and every time I go there, I feel like I’m having myself checked on what I’ve done for the last six months.
How does light inspire you?
Light is the closest thing to me, and at the same time, the furthest thing to me.
Lighting design seems like a specialty, but it requires that you have extensive knowledge to get involved in all kinds of architecture and landscapes.
However, on the other hand, if you want to design light, you can do it in a familiar way, such as placing candles or lanterns in a room. You can change the atmosphere by light without any construction work.
Light can make something outstanding or disappointing.
The more I know about it, the deeper I get into it. I want to get along with it, but don’t feel like it simultaneously.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
I think there are as many possibilities for women as there are all kinds of possibilities for light.
Some have a broader perspective, some are good at progressing several things at the same time, and more and more women are working while raising children.
By taking advantage of those respects, I believe there are many situations where women can handle things well, even though the construction industry is still male-dominated.
I want to involve the whole world and do something exciting that will make men envious. Let’s do it!
“I want to involve the whole world and do something exciting that will make men envious. Let’s do it!”