What is one of your biggest achievements to date?
In terms of design/project experience, I would say being in charge of the indoor and outdoor illumination of the Main NATO HQ Building complex in Brussels (BE), due to its complexity and security, as well as the urban lighting masterplan for Porto Montenegro in Tivat (ME). But I also had the privilege of working on numerous well-known projects as a team member, such as the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (UEA), the Tribute in Light Memorial art installation in New York (US), the external illumination of the Granary Building and Granary Square in London (UK), the external lighting for the new astronomical observatory cone at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (UK), and the external and internal illumination of the new JetBlue terminal for the Kennedy Airport in New York (USA).
In terms of research experience, in 2013 I obtained my PhD in technical sciences with honours from the Faculty of Architecture, Gdańsk University of Technology. In the research "The art of illumination as a tool for creating architectural form", among other things, I translated my practical-based knowledge in the field of light architecture into important guidelines for designers. In 2014, this work was recognised with the Polish Prime Minister's Research Award. In 2015, for my work and scientific research on the non-visual effects of light on humans, flora and fauna, I was awarded the international PLD-R Professional Lighting Design Recognition Award in the Research category. In 2020, I was also awarded the DarkSky Galileo Research Award.
However, I am most proud of the many students and lighting designers I have trained who are now working for the top lighting consultancies at a director and senior level.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your lighting career? How did you overcome this?
Challenges have involved being from a foreign country, being a woman, and also being young for the professional roles I was given. Often, the meetings comprised mainly of men who would not treat me equally during the first meetings; it was only when they realised my experience and acknowledged I had something of value to contribute that my role was accepted. I am very happy this attitude is now changing!
What are you most passionate about when it comes to architectural lighting/lighting exterior spaces?
Today, we have amazing lighting technology (light sources, luminaires and lighting controls), which can allow us to start our design with darkness and only add light if it supports nocturnal placemaking and protects a view of the stars.