Vol.01 – The Moment Switching on the Light

My inspiration for lighting design comes from the moment I switched on lighting of the house designed for the first time in my life. Also, the horrible and tremendous earthquake in Tohoku area (North-eastern Japan) in 2011, affected electricity over Japan, definitely polished my sense for lighting design with the fact “how much faint lights have existed and illuminated our live.”

The log house I designed for the first time

The wonderful moment came when I was 24 years old in 2008. I had just shifted my career to architecuture a few month before and worked as an assistant architect for Finnish brand log house dealer at the time. My first mission was to draw up an electrical plan for a house. It was actually interesing to illustrate the position of wall switches, plugs and the electric circuit. As to lighting, I prefer to consider how people are likely to move and act in a space rather than merely coordinate luminaires.

It was so impressive when I turned on the lights!! Warm color of incandescent light softly leaked from some pendant lights to the space and it looked like melting into the wooden wall surface. Moreover, cast shadows over the ceiling thrown by ceiling fan made retro ambience.

Actually, it was very lucky for me that the owner prefers dim ambience because that would have notifed me lighting possesses special power to change a mood of space. Afterwards, I immediately moved on my next career to an architectural lighting designer. Fortunately, I could be hired by the lighting manifacturar, DAIKO, which published my favorite reference book regarding residential lighting. The moment I switched on the power in the house clearly directed my life.

Another inspiring factor to change my view for lighting is the certain experience due to the huge horrible earthquake in Japan on the unforgetable day of 11th March, 2011. We faced blackout in Tokyo because nuclear plant accident caused the shortage of electricity, and the darkness covers the whole cityscape. It was not only pole lights on the road but also no lighting in convenience stores and supermarket which are usually very bright. We could only depend on the moon light to walk in the city.

Moreover, another amazing experience was “pitch-dark” in my room. It was not usual darkness. Even any tiny lighting did not exist in the space. Leaking lights from the curtain, faint indicator in a wall switch and router were completely off. It taught me that “Darkness with switched-off lighting” was surely different from “Darkness with no electricity” in our lives. Those invisible lights except in extreme darkness amended my perspective for lighting. It would be the good trigger to consider more about each charactors and attraction of lightness and darkness.

Pitch-dark cityscape in Tokyo due to black out

After leaving from the company, my challange to pursue light and shadow has kept going through study abroad in Glasgow, Scotland and work experience in huge project in LPA Singapore as well as world journey to find lighting culture around the world.

“Switching-on the light” does not sound special in general however it is precious moment for me! These interesting notices taught me how to enjoy lighting design and let my life to be passionate.