My summer class is Advanced Lighting and Acoustics. It’s an elective sequel to our required Basic Lighting course, where we learned about light, lamps, and luminaires, but got little hands-on experience in lighting design. This 6-week summer course is supposed to take us deeper into lighting design and touch on acoustics. We’ll have some field trips, some lectures, and a project.

I feel as if lighting deserves a lot more attention than it gets in my program. After all, lighting is what makes a space sparkle. A brilliant design goes flat without effective lighting and lighting can perk up an uninspired space considerably. Reading textbooks and listening to lectures goes only so far, so I’m hoping this class will provide some opportunity to see good lighting at work. We also need, but don’t have, a lighting lab at our school that would allow us the time to fiddle with different lighting scenarios.

During the Basic Lighting class, which I took a couple of years ago, we did take an informative field trip to the Philips Lighting Application Center (LAC) in Somerset, New Jersey. The LAC has more than 20,000 square feet of education and demonstration space and sponsors a long list of 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-day lighting classes and workshops, touching on commercial and residential applications. Our school trip lasted only a few hours, but we were able to see the ways different types of lighting affect space in the LAC’s full-size room setups and see how different lamps affected color. It was a valuable day. (Philips’ website also contains a variety of downloadable lighting design and product brochures and a number of calculation tools.)

Despite all this, I still feel as if I don’t know nearly enough about lighting. It’s frustrating. I want to get my hands on materials and equipment and really experiment. A couple of the classes at the Philips LAC would be great, but that’s not in the cards for the moment. I’m hoping I’ll feel more knowledgable after this summer’s class.

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