Women in Lighting

Your Interview Uliana Vinogradova

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

I’m Uliana Vinogradova, head of lighting design department in INTILED. I’m a bachelor of industrial design, but since I was child, I was passionate about making sketches of some strange luminaires and also keen on colored light. When I applied to the University, I didn’t even know about such a profession – lighting designer. To be honest, in 2000 in Saint-Petersburg there was no place to study lighting at. After the end of education I started to learn by myself – 3d and 2d programs, cad programs, but also searched for an appropriate job for a long time. Finally, in 2010 I found this one, facing with light – and understood, that’s it!

Firstly I was the only one lighting designer in company, now we are 4 in department.

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?

Basically, me and department work at architectural lighting of any kind of building or construction. We implemented more than 150 projects in different areas of lighting and those have always been the most interesting ones that have many restrictions and unusual conditions and tasks. It is then that a unique and the only right decision is made using analysis and unconventional approach. We are also interested in comprehensive tasks of the environment lighting and light design tasks. Within such projects, we have developed the light design of several Russian cities, implementation of one of them will start in the coming year on a step-by-step basis. We have one more area of activity – installations and media art. We attend various light festivals and participate in them, too – Light Nights in Gatchina, PROSVET in Perm, Lux Helsinki (Lantern Park).

What project are you most proud of and why?

One of the projects is the lighting of the Helikon Opera in Moscow. The project lasted for 5 years. We kept developing the only right decision together with the project architect. This is one of the oldest buildings in Moscow, and it was decided to preserve it, that is the outer façade was refurbished and became the inner façade of the opera building. A new building was actually erected around the old façade. Thus we applied the principles of façade accent light in the interior lighting. In addition, we integrated light fixtures in helicons – sound scattering devices mounted on the ceiling.

It was also interesting for us to work at the lighting of a television tower in Perm, a third highest TV tower in Russia. In addition to the flooding lighting from supports, I proposed the accent light of structural connections using small spotlights to create an effect of sending a signal in the air. When you work with such facility, it is extremely important to keep the structural integrity, that is it was important to consider the mounting conditions as well as to provide for convenience of operation of fixtures. As a result of the light modeling, the required overhang of fixtures of both the flooding and ancient light was set, and the optics for small spotlights was chosen the effect of which was seen from the distance of 2 kilometers.

We also have Volgograd Bridge, which had two almost mutually exclusive tasks – to save and to illuminate the bridge evenly over the full length of the side with dynamic light. The mounting was another complicated task as it was only possible on overhang brackets in every 25 meter. That most complicated task was solved by cross aiming and using the time-and effect-adjusted scenario of light dynamics. Actually, we have plenty of such projects)

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

The Lakhta Center is one of the biggest challenge, or projects, for sure the highest skyscraper in Europe. The light concept by Lichtvision, Germany, supposed the lighting integrated in the building. As the buildings had complicated forms, we had to participate in the process of creation of three types of design light fixtures. We also had to ensure that the light source was not seen on any floor from inside, and to make a model of a unique optics of the fixtures so that no light may get inside the room. We had worked at this project for more than three years, made an incredible number of visual presentations, videos and lighting designs, and it was worth it.

The lighting of the facility is related to the lighting of the Zenit Arena (it is our project, too), and together they can reproduce either similar or complementing each other scenarios.

How does light inspire you?

Nothing would have existed without light. This is what I tell my son when he is afraid of darkness – that everything stays where it was, we just cannot see anything. He says, Are you sure? And then I am deep in thought) I am inspired with the nature of light, the way it shows its properties on different material, how light is re-reflected, deflects, resolves into components, and works with textures. I like the way a facility is changed using some light scenario or other. You may support and destroy with light when creating a completely new level of perception of the facility. Fiat lux!

What is your message for other Women In Lighting?

It is common to see women in lighting in Russia, more than a half of light designers, or even more, are women. I have faced no special troubles in my work unless in interpersonal relations with architects who have enough.


Uliana Vinogradova

Lives in:
Saint Petersburg
Born in:
Saint Petersburg
University of Energy and Technology, 2006, bachelor of industrial design
DIALux evo Training
Tartu Lighting design Workshop
and so on
Started working with light in:
Now works at:
architectural lighting design projects, more than 10 at a moment
Participant/speaker/visitor of international lighting events: Light&Building 2016, 2018; Luminale 2016; AmsterdamLightFestival 2015-16; InterLight Moscow 2013-17 all the years – speaker in 2016, 2017; ArchMoscow 2011-13;
TAVA workshop & light festival2016; Lighting Design Conference 2015-17 Saint-Petersburg; PLDC 2017 Paris; Light Gatchina Festival 2017 – participant; Light Gatchina Festival 2018 – participant, jury member; Metripolis: by Light 2018 Malmo.
Guest speaker/speaker at:
LIDs school Moscow, IFMO University Saint-Petersburg, National Research University Moscow.
I love to read, travel, dance (strip plastique, fusion) adore music, write oil paintings, ride a snowboard, bike, rollers, sew clothes. I love the architecture of the north and simply modern. I love to relax and hang out with my friends

“Lighting must be reasonable, passionate and involving. Nothing exists without light.”

Selected portfolio:

Helicon Opera // Moscow, RussiaBashkir Academic Drama Theater Mazhit Gafuri // Ufa, RussiaTV Tower // Perm, Russia

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