A spotlight on our newest senior designer
Earlier this year Betty joined the Nulty team as a Senior Lighting Designer and we thought we would take the opportunity to get to know her a little better and find out what inspires her when it comes to lighting design and where she thinks the industry is heading, as well as a few other things…
1. What is your favourite colour of light?
I would say that golden hour is my favourite colour. It’s a soft diffused light, which I prefer over harsh direct sunlight. Colour temperature has the power to affect our circadian rhythms and mood, and the warmth that golden hour provides elicits a feeling of calm. This is something that plays a part in my role as a lighting designer, as well as in my life as a photographer.
2. If you could give your teenage-self one light fitting, what would it be?
It didn’t exist when I was a teenager, but I would say Occhio – Mito. It’s controlled by touchless gestures, by simple movements of the hand or you can control everything with an app on your phone. It has lots of pre-settings, meaning you can dim, fade, set the colour temperature, create groups of lights to set scenes. It’s techy, something that I love, and that my teenage self would have appreciated.
3. Is there anything in particular that you personally enjoy that defines your lighting designs?
I enjoy immersive installations or experiences. For my designs I think of the end user – the person inhabiting the space. I consider how I can create something interactive; my aim is to make people feel something due to the way I have designed the lighting.
4. How do you think that lighting trends have changed over the years? And what do you think has caused these changes?
We are thinking about lighting in a more humancentric way. We are considering how light can be more flexible and deliberating more about the neurodiversity of people. Designers are now more aware about factors like circadian rhythms. I would say that we were already thinking about these issues, but it’s clear that the pandemic has made us really reappraise the user experience.
5. Technology is exponentially permeating all aspects of our lives. How do you feel lighting as a sector is embracing this?
Technology is permeating everything. In the home, with the increase in smart home technology, everything is connected, and lighting is just one of the layers involved.
Lighting control systems, like Casambi for example, connect to your phone via Bluetooth and allow you to control the lighting within your space very easily. We can dim the lighting up and down and even control our lighting schedule via our phones. So, I think we are definitely embracing technology as a sector and keeping up with new trends as things move along.
6. As the lighting industry becomes more eco-sensible, is there a danger that the design response may have less scope for creative expression as the kit of parts may, for a while, shrink? Or is this the moment to be MOST creative as a result?
I think that when you have restrictions, you should try to push the boundaries! It’s important to see how you can be more creative within those restrictions. If it’s a broad brief with no restrictions for example, that can be a challenge, as you don’t necessarily have any boundaries to push. You can use restrictions as a guiding factor – but also use them to challenge and push yourself to be creative within those parameters.
7. With a collective global awareness of sustainability issues becoming prevalent, how do you think the lighting industry should respond?
We have a responsibility to educate – in our role as lighting designers we should be teaching our clients, as well as the world in general. We should be explaining the options we have available to us in terms of sustainability. For example – if a product or fitting is not working anymore then we can recycle or repurpose it elsewhere. In the past it’s been too easy to throw something out if it’s not working; we haven’t been thinking about the consequences.
8. There are plans to install 1,000 84-inch LED digital screens in bus shelters throughout London. The Adfree cities network calculated that a double-sided shelter screen uses as much electricity as four average homes. Do you think that the use of LED lighting technology outdoors and within our homes is having an adverse effect in terms of light pollution and consumption, or will it ultimately play a positive role due to its carbon saving nature?
There is no doubt that LED technology is the most energy efficient solution to date but placing LED solutions everywhere isn’t necessarily the most sustainable or efficient answer. We must still question why we are placing lights or LEDs there in the first place.
For our projects, we often focus on lighting control systems that have an absence presence detection system, which dims the lights when no one is there. Or we should consider astronomical clocks and only turn lights on at certain times of the day to save energy. Even within the use of LED technology, we should be still trying to think of solutions like these to minimise the use and consumption of LEDs, they aren’t the solution to everything, but they represent progress.
9. What is your prediction for the lighting industry for the next one, two, three years?
Sustainability in lighting is a fundamental issue that will be expanded on and researched further – we have to look at how we can minimise our carbon footprint and effect on the earth as an industry, and as individuals. This goes hand-in-hand with using efficient and longer lasting LEDs, ways to employ sustainable lighting and how we think about the circular economy.
We are already focused on the circular economy with certain projects, which is excellent. We are also trying to put into place strategies for dealing with existing fittings. This includes establishing a workflow for testing products and considering how we can reuse or repurpose a fitting – sometimes within the project, or sometimes in another project. It’s a longer process, but these are essential extra steps that we all have to take.