Your Interview Leni Schwendinger


Leni Schwendinger

Designer, Artist, Consultant, Director, Outreach
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).

Leni Schwendinger
Leni Schwendinger Light Projects LLC

Creative Director /Owner
United States

Lighting trajectory:
Training in film at the International London Film School
Process: Theatrical designer / rock and roll electrician / television lighting director / fashion shows / architectural lighting / public art and finally, urban lighting

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?

Urban lighting - lighting for public spaces. Particularly interested in neglected spaces such as underpasses/flyovers, solutions to last mile walks to transit, elevating vernacular lighting (such as fairylights – view the presentation to GLA here D.I.Y. Lighting)

What project are you most proud of and why?

Dreaming in Color, Seattle - color theory research applied to light (RGB) rather than pigment (RBA) resolving on the predominantly transparent 30x50-foot metal mesh. The concept: bringing a sense of the adjacent theatre from inside to out and the composing and programming of mechanical filter color changing into seamless “melodies for the eyes”. We have since upgraded the installation to LED.

What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?

Making my ideas understood.

How does light inspire you?

It is malleable, abstract, yet powerful, it is beloved.

What is your message for other Women In Lighting?

Let curiosity guide you. Find mentors. Strike out, be bold… after studying what truly interests you, the point of view you must follow.  Other, more practical advice will be given by others.

“Consider learning and refining your craft by connecting with a mentor.”

Selected portfolio:

Dreaming in Color: Nine metal-mesh scrims frame a promenade, extending the lobby of McCaw Hall. Viewing of the accumulated layers magnifies the potential for live light-color mixing. Five “melodies for the eyes” play in a weekly color-field sequence.
In 2017 an LED upgrade was designed along with new programmed sequences. Additionally, the new, energy-efficient design is being utilized as a “playground” for visiting artists and designers to experiment with the complexity of scale, transparent surfaces and colored light.SMART EVERYDAY NIGHTTIME DESIGN. Photo: Don Slater/Configuring Light. This pilot in Cartagena sought to strengthen community connections with light. Holistic, after-dark strategies are critical for cities to attract and retain locals and visitors. The pillars of nighttime design are: increasing safety and welcome, enhancing public health, augmenting economic vitality.6TH STREET VIADUCT REPLACEMENT. Model: Michael Maltzan Architects, Lighting: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects. Once one of America’s most famous and iconic bridges, the Sixth Street Viaduct is now being replaced. It is currently in construction. It is a vital connection between the Arts District, the Los Angeles River and historic Boyle Heights neighborhood. This rendering was created in 2013 and the original light intent has withstood the various architectural and engineering refinements since then. Completion is slated for summer 2022.

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