My name is Erica and I am a 21 year old lighting design student from Sweden. I study Lighting Design at Jönköping University, and I got the amazing opportunity to do my internship here in the US with Hartranft Lighting Design, and Andrea Hartranft. In this series of blogposts you will follow me and learn about my experiences here in the US.
It is 1:17 am the 26th of January and I cannot sleep. I never have trouble sleeping. I am reading an article about an luminaire that can control almost everything in your home. It senses the humidity level and it can even turn on the TV when you enter the room. This is a really cool product but my thoughts keep wandering away...
...”What am I going to wear tomorrow?” I was going to a lunch the next day with two women from a very good architectural lighting design bureau. While I was planning my outfit I got text from a friend in Sweden who was going to work. There is a 6 hour time difference between here and Sweden. I asked her what I should wear but she said that it doesn´t matter what I wear if I look tired. Strong argument! I make a mental note of what I would wear but now I´m getting a bit worried about oversleeping… I do not want to be late, I hate being late! That must be a Swedish trait. We Swedes get cranky if someone is 10 minutes late. We might not say anything but we do not like it. My grandmother always said that you should leave so early that you have time to change a flat tire on your car. Luckily I had her advice in mind when I left the next morning. On my way to Alexandria there was a technical problem with the Metro Red Line so the trip that was supposed to take 50 minutes took 90 minutes but thankfully I was not late and I had a lovely lunch in Alexandria.
I have always loved design and that sparked my fashion interest but since I started my education my love for design has grown. I have got more interested in architecture and especially interior design and I think that is something that can help me evolve as a lighting designer. I was looking at a lighting designers website and it said that their aim was to enhance the environment using light. Light can change a space or an object in countless ways and that is what I find so fascinating. My favorite part of DC is Chinatown and I think that the lighting is one of the reasons for that. There are glowing signs, streetlights and lit shop windows everywhere and that creates such a dynamic atmosphere.
I ate a peanut butter jelly sandwich for the first time in my life this week and I actually feel a bit more American. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first but I like trying new food so I gave it a shot and I was not disappointed. It was great! It was filling yet sweet at the same time and there were many different textures. Crunchy bread, a sticky peanut butter and a smooth jam. John, Andrea's husband, made the sandwich which I instantly liked and a few days later I tried to make a sandwich myself but it did not turn out as good. I made mine with toasted white bread, creamy peanut butter and grape jelly but I was not satisfied… I tried using different amounts of peanut butter and jelly but it was not as good as the sandwich John made so I had to ask him for advice. He gave me some tips and pointers and I will keep experimenting!
I had a perfect ending to my second week here in the US. I spent the whole Sunday in DC in the beautiful, warm weather. I decided to go to the National Building Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The National Portrait Gallery was amazing! Such a variety of exhibitions, a beautiful atrium in the middle of the museum and perfect lighting. I think the lighting in a museum should highlight the art without actually being noticed. My favorite installation was ”Electronic Superhighway” by Nam June Paik. The installation represents the artists association of each state in the US. Each state is represented by a videoclip and the states outlines is created with neon tubing. This was such a vibrant and expressive piece and the neon made it even better!
I kept making my way though the museum and suddenly I found myself in the middle of a photo shoot so I had to take a photo of that, which in hindsight probably looked kind of funny. See the photo above.