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.
This has been the most eventful week in a long time. It has been quite hectic some times but I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I have met so many interesting and inspiring people, tried new things and been to several new places.
The week started with meetings with the architect and landscape architect for the same project which is interesting because I get to see three sides of the same project and that gives me an overall understanding of the project and that is invaluable. During the meeting with the architect the we discussed how the lighting should emphasize the architecture and the overall function of the lighting but during the meeting with the landscape architect the focus was on how the environment should feel and how the lighting contributes to that. One question that came up during the meeting with the landscape architect was how the light would look when a fixture is placed in water, in this case the fixture would be placed in a fountain. There was a difference of opinion so we had to try! We found a vase, filled it with water and placed the fixture beneath it. A simple but yet effective mock up.
I went to a lecture by the architect Mark McInturff Monday evening and it was very interesting. He explained how his work is influenced by Washington DC and what his thoughts are when he designed houses. I have never studied architecture but I would love to do that since that is such a big part of the lighting design profession and it is something that always is present. The lecture was very inspiring and it made want to design my own house someday. Speaking of architecture, I went to the National Gallery of Art and the architecture was amazing and I actually liked the architecture better than the art.
Tuesday morning we flew to Charlotte and then drove down to Charleston. I absolutely loved Charleston! It was a warm day, about 75 degrees, which was perfect for strolling around and looking at all the beautiful houses. I have not seen that much sun for several months, the winter is sometimes a dark time of year in Sweden. In Charleston we had a meeting at a construction site which was really fun! We met with the developer and several persons from his team. It was my first time at a construction site but I fell in love with it! There is something majestic to a house being built and since I got to see all the drawings I could really visualize how it would look like when it is done.
The last day in Charlotte we went to a meeting about Charlotte Douglas Airport and that was very interesting and so different from any project I have seen before. The conditions at an airport are like no other. For example, when planning the ramp lighting you have to take into consideration how close the airplane comes to the actual building and that affects where you can place the poles. I am so happy that I got to be at this meeting because I could never imagined that I would be able to get an insight in the process of lighting an airport.
I watched my first Super Bowl this Sunday and it was amazing! Half of the time I did not know what was going on and the other half I did not know where the ball was but I had a great time. So much good food and so many wonderful people, it was simply a great evening. Everyone I have met here has really made an effort to make my stay here as good as possible and I am so thankful for that! I have been invited to events, been introduced to their children who are similar in age and I have got tips about what to do in DC.
To be completely honest, this was actually the hardest blog post to write so far. It has happened so much and there has been so many impressions and it will take some to process everything and there for it was hard to put it on paper. My dad says that you enjoy travels three times: the planning, the actual trip and the memories. I have always agreed with him but it is even more true this time. During my stay here I have learned so much about the lighting design profession and I know that no matter where I work after I graduate I will get use from all the things I have learned here.