Your Interview Liudmyla Pavlenko
Designer, Consultant, Engineer
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
Hello! My name is Lyudmila Pavlenko, I am from Ukraine and have been living in Prague for the last 2 months. I am a lighting designer!
My acquaintance with light happened by accident (crossed out) and unconsciously, but after graduating from the National Aviation University in 2006 and receiving a master's degree, I realized that light fascinates me very much.
Then I had the opportunity to work in one of the most famous and successful company in Ukraine at that time and participate in the development of a variety of projects from private apartments to historical buildings. It was an invaluable experience that created a good technical base. I am grateful to all colleagues who shared their experience. This can be called the first stage in my career.
The second stage was about communications. I was lucky to meet people from all over the world from the fields of lighting, architecture and design. I call it the world of beauty. These are just incredible people, they are passionate about lighting, and they implement projects and ideas of various complexities with such passion. This is so inspiring and impressive!
Studying at Wismar University was a new period for me in my relationship with light. When technical knowledge passes into the background, and emotions and sensory perception of light becomes dominant.
For more than 15 years I have been bringing light into our dark world and I am honored to be part of this wonderful community of people of light.
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 usually work with private clients and private spaces, but in the past I have had experience with historic buildings and public interiors. To be honest, any project becomes attractive and inspiring when the customer is ready for new and interesting ideas, when there is an opportunity for creativity.
What project was the most emotional for you?
It was not a full-fledged project, but an assignment as part of studying at Wismar University.
I needed to develop a lighting concept of the memorial complex NEUE WACH (Berlin) and which is dedicated to the victims of war and tyranny. Grief is faceless and thousands of such places are all over the world. War, cruelty, terror have one face, regardless the country and the continent. The face of a child who remains orphan, the face of parents who lost their children, devastated cities, cruel souls and crippled psyche. This is a reminder to us of the millions of people who were killed and whose lives were crippled. This is a call to be thoughtful with choices we make and what we allow to happen. And this is what is happening nowadays...
We can turn into sighted blind people. When we stop noticing the beauty of the world around us, stop enjoying simple things, perceiving them as something self-evident. Daily little miracles can became common for us. In addition, we can pretend that we do not notice the ongoing problems around us. We live in our shell. We cease to feel this world.
Feel… If you close your eyes, you can reveal many new and interesting feelings. “See” the world from new angle, “see” it with your feelings. This is how blind people “see” or better to say perceived world, they feel it. This is one of the ways how we can come back to ourselves.
The idea was to place words in Braille (for example, the world, mother, joy) on the walls. Maybe the idea is a bit bizarre. Blind people will never be able to read written words and for sighted people it does not say anything. But this concept can attract our attention, provoke thoughts and stop isolating ourselves from what is happening in the world.
And, of course, an enlarged version of Käthe Kollwitz's sculpture Mother with Her Dead Son is the centerpiece of the space. Every living being has the right to life and we must protect the world from violence to the best of our ability.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
Delegating tasks has been one of the most interesting challenges of my career. Since for a long time I tried to do and solve a lot on my own, but the division of tasks among colleagues, the development of strong skills of each, teamwork in the end gives a lot more results and efficiency, as well as a sense of support. It's also a good way to reduce stress (in our stressful world) and show you care about others.
How does light inspire you?
Light is beautiful, dramatic, it speaks softly or not at all. Light is the magical filling inside and inspires me always and everywhere.
But there are 2 properties of light that are particularly interesting for me.
The first one is the ability of light to interact with the surface or object on which it falls. It does not disappear, does not freeze, it interacts and remains flexible. It reminds me so much of our life. When we faced a situation, we must interact with it, but at the same time remain flexible enough to accept all possible solutions that life can bring.
The second property is the atmosphere that light creates, the feelings and emotions that we experience thanks to it. The beginning of a new day, relaxation, drama, celebration, calmness, security, even hope and much more light brings into our lives. And each of us also brings its own atmosphere to communication with other people. We use light to create a certain state and emotions. What about us? What feelings do other people have after communicating with us? 😉
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
There is such a thing in aviation as the Kármán line. Its defines a boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space and beginning 100 kilometers (54 nautical miles; 62 miles; 330,000 feet) above Earth's mean sea level.
Why am I talking about this?
I want to quote a Ukrainian traveler Artemy Surin and this quote inspires me and I hope it will inspire you too.
“Everyone has their own the Kármán line. It doesn't matter how many kilometers you need to cover - a hundred or a hundred thousand - sometimes such a distance seems impossible. But if you can’t imagine life without the things you do, without the people who are around, if it’s insanely hard for you and at the same time damn interesting, you are moving in the right direction. And it doesn’t matter what country you were born in, what kind of education and wealth you have. From any point on our planet to the line where space begins is only 100 km. There are no rules. Dreams have no boundaries. Want more. Dream about the impossible. Only with such fuel can one day fly to the stars.”
- WISMAR University of Applied Sciences, Technology, Business and Design, Germany
Master of art in lighting design «Architectural lighting design and design management»
- National Aviation University, Ukraine
Master's degree "Light and sources of lighting"
“If you can’t imagine life without the things you do, without the people who are around, if it’s insanely hard for you and at the same time damn interesting, you are moving in the right direction.”