Isabel Villar named one of the most talented young lighting designers

Isabel has been named as one of the 40under40, an international program that identifies the most talented and promising individuals working with lighting design.

Hi Isabel, congratulations! How does it feel to be recognised as an outstanding young talent in the lighting industry?

I’m excited and honoured to receive this award. It is a recognition based on the collected work I have done for the past 12 years as a lighting designer, where my focus has been to integrate daylight and electric lighting early in the building design process. By taking people´s needs and local daylight conditions into consideration when designing lighting we can make a big difference in people’s lives. I am very happy if my collected work has contributed in any way.

For those of who don’t know, what does a lighting designer do?
We create a lighting design concept and plan the lighting for different types of architecture projects, from large scale urban planning projects to interior spaces. Human beings are designed to be outdoors, but today we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, so the quality and type of lighting we are exposed to daily has a huge impact on our health, well-being, performance and our planet. The goal with lighting design is to create the best possible setting for the users of a space.

What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on the interior renovation of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s main building. It is a listed building which presents unique challenges that I find very exciting, as it requires an innovative and creative approach. My colleague Clara Fraenkel and I are also working with Skellefteå Cultural Centre where we are using light to reveal the qualities of the wood and accentuate structural elements. So, it’s a mixed bag!

What does the future hold for lighting design?
Historically the lighting design profession has mainly worked with artificial lighting. We lighting designers must take it one step further and take responsibility for the overall lighting strategy by optimising the integration between daylight and electrical lighting. This is key to creating sustainable spaces. Through WRL, White Arkitekter’s research department, we are looking at the advantages of incorporating both types of light early in the design process, which results in energy and CO2 savings, among other things.


Isabel received a trophy at the Lighting Design Awards ceremony in London on Thursday 3 May.

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