Light Positive 2014 Internship: The Business of Lighting

Written by: Paige Stockman, Light Positive 2014 Summer Intern

My infatuation with the world of lighting design began early in my undergraduate career when I landed a job as a stagehand at my university.  I have always been an unabashed theater nerd, so I was ecstatic to get a job in a place where I could be a part of all the exciting (and less exciting) productions.  I quickly developed an interest in stage lighting and it has been a passion of mine ever since.

Once you become aware of how lighting affects your surroundings, it completely transforms the way you experience the world around you.  My work and my studies began to change.  Where once my sculptures, models and drawings had been defined by form and line, I began seeing things in terms of a duality of light and shadow.  Objects became defined by their environments, and creating these environments is what lighting design is all about.

During a recent discussion in the Light Positive office I mentioned that I was hosting a party that would feature a beautiful ice sculpture drinking luge.  The instantaneous response was “How are you going to light it?”  I confess until that moment I had not even considered the idea.  After a few minutes of rummaging through the fixture samples on-hand,  two LED tiles were given to me for use at my party.  The effect was stunning.  I placed one of the tiles under the luge the night of the party and the result was a cold glowing gem.  This is the mark of a lighting designer; a person who believes nothing has fully reached its aesthetic potential until it is properly lit.  A lighting designer is always asking, “How are you going to light it?”

Before starting my internship at Light Positive, I had a pretty good sense of the importance and goals of architectural lighting design, but knew very little about the actual practice.  There is an entire language and vocabulary that exists solely for the world of lighting, and with my three years of experience in theater and architecture I had still barely scratched the surface of the vast pool of lighting knowledge out there.  Paired with a knowledge and understanding of lighting, is the necessity of proper communication skills.  So much of what goes on a design office is back and forth communication with clients, architects, and lighting retail companies.  Every client has her or his own unique set of needs and it is the job of the designer to translate these needs and the parameters of the space into a beautiful and functional new environment.

It’s been so rewarding to work with people who are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about lighting.  Thank you so much Nancy Goldstein and Mary Ann Genovese for the opportunity to work with you and this terrific company.  Good luck, and I look forward to seeing you again in the future.