Your Interview Simran Raswant
Designer, Architect, Artist, Photographer
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
A resident of India, I Simran Raswant am currently an associate in a lighting design consultancy firm called URI Design Studio. I graduated in 2020 with a Bachelors Degree in Architecture from Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Ansal University, India.
My first introduction to lighting was as an art student when I would sketch still life in charcoal. I remember my mentor consciously making me sensitive to how objects will be perceived when lighting conditions change. In 2015 as I chose my major in college as architecture, it opened up a whole different dimension in terms of how playing with the size, shape and location of an opening can drastically transform a space as seen in the works of Tadao Ando, Geoffery Bawa and B.V Doshi.
My training as an architect and the ability to understand scale and light also allowed me to extend my expertise in films where I am able to weave stories with light as a key element.
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?
My intent, when involved in any project, is to initiate a conversation that cuts across different disciplines. It is important to step out of our designer bubbles and get out and engage with people, communities and collaborators. I hope to be associated with projects that are able to give back positively to communities that are at a disadvantage due to political unrest and climate inequities.
What project are you most proud of and why?
The project I am most proud of is a holiday home in Conoor that I had the pleasure of working on in MGA. The detail with which that project has been conceptualised is brilliant. From reworking where the windows will be positioned to the R&D done to finalise the finishes, that home is truly an example of a thorough design process.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
The ability to demand equity on-site whether it’s the way the craftsman, engineers or any other collaborator is treated on-site has been a challenge. We take the idea of dignity for granted and more often than not it is compromised during collaborations. We must be conscious of how we treat people around us irrespective of where they come from and insist that there are given basic resources like food, shelter and toilets on a site.
How does light inspire you?
Light inherently is symbolic of hope. It’s a testament to how no matter how hard things get there is always a way that light will creep in. Even in complete darkness, there is some amount of light.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
Do not be afraid of speaking up even when the odds may be against you. The biggest injustice you can do to yourself and your craft is not sharing an idea because of the fear of rejection.
“The biggest injustice you can do to yourself and your craft is not sharing an idea because of the fear of rejection.”