Your Interview Galina Korolkova
1. Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting (including education/qualifications).
My name is Korolkova Galina and I am working as a lighting designer at European Electrotechnical Company (Saint Petersburg, Russia).
In school, I was fond of physics and math but art has always been my passion. I dreamed to find a good combination of technical knowledge and art skills for my future career. When I was at 9th grade I visited an Open day at ITMO University (St. Petersburg, Russia). They presented a lighting design program and this field seemed to be a perfect match for me. I think my way in lighting design started from that day on. Now I have a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Physics and a Master’s degree in lighting design. I started with an intern position in Intiled (manufacturer in Russia), gained some experience with lighting design companies and also worked as an independent freelance designer. I have been trying to upgrade my professional skills and also broaden the knowledge about lighting design, architecture, modern technologies with the help of professional conferences and fairs.
2. Tell us about your work – is there a specific type of project you like to work on or an area you specialize in and why?
I had experience of working with different types of projects including offices, retail, architectural lighting, festival and Christmas lighting. So I can say I don’t have any specific area to specialize in. I must say that I like to work with different types of objects, as different kinds of approaches and styles are included in the working process. Moreover, I have a strong feeling that working with several types of objects helps to be inspired with related fields and influence the view on the current project in a good way.
3. What project are you most proud of and why?
The best experience I got was with the project “7 bridges”, as it made a big difference to citizens’ and guests’ of St. Petersburg. The idea was to make popular a summer sight visited during the winter season with the help of Christmas illumination which I was responsible for.
It was my first big experience with the Christmas lighting project. I had to develop decorative lighting for 8 bridges, the embankment and the adjacent park area. This place is famous for the special point of view where 7 bridges are visible at the same time and there is a fabulous legend about this place. With the help of Christmas decorations, it was required to convey the magical and at the same time majestic atmosphere of the surrounding space. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, the project was only partially implemented and the full implementation is possible next year. Nevertheless this place has become extremely popular and got a lot of positive feedback on social media.
4. What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
My biggest challenge was a student project at ITMO University. Every student took part in the lighting festival “Lumifest” and had to develop an art installation. It was my first experience with the real project. We were fully responsible for all the stages from the concept design to the final installation including a budget, time and team management. We had some difficulties and the biggest one was that our lighting sculpture was damaged during transportation and we had to solder contacts on-site in the middle of the park. Thanks to my team we have managed to finish everything on time and finally got a chance to present our work.
5. How does light continue to inspire you?
Recently, I got fascinated by photography. If you want to get some really good pictures, then you need to understand and feel the light. Natural light is a terrific natural tool, but it is also the most difficult one for the photographer. To cope with graphic direct sunlight is not an easy task, but with its help, shaded areas are clearly distinguished and a magical picture of light and shade is created, which can look completely different in diffuse light. This struggle and the desire to find an approach to natural light inspire me every day.
6. What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
I am truly thankful and enthusiastic about Women in Lighting community. Stories of other women in lighting design are an absolute inspiration for me.
I was born and live all my life in the “country of men”, where it is more difficult for women to get a job, they are promoted less through the career ladder and usually, they earn less. But despite this, the situation is changing for the better, which is good news. Thanks to organizations like Women In Lighting, we are on our way to overcoming gender inequality.
Masters’ degree – Lighting Design/ITMO University
“Thanks to organizations like Women In Lighting, we are on our way to overcoming gender inequality.”