The Challenge Round III report

Inspiring topics and presentations

New generation of lighting designers shape the future with their innovative ideas

The young talents that made it through to Round III of The Challenge 2018/19 not only came up with some surprising topics, but presented their innovative ideas in a highly professional way and with confidence. That was most certainly the impression that remained with all attending the mini-conference in Berlin/DE at the end of January. From the more than 80 competitors who entered the young designers’ speaker competition from the start altogether 16 young designers battled their way through to Round III. The six winners from this round will now be presenting their topics again in an extended format in the final, which will be an integral part of PLDC 2019 in Rotterdam. And every single topic is extremely interesting, some touching on unknown ground that even experienced designers will find valuable and fascinating. The coaches themselves were highly impressed by the quality of the candidates and the new approaches that were addressed. A number of the papers were based on topics the speakers had begun to address in conjunction with their final dissertations for their Bachelor/Master degrees. The content displayed a high level of basic competence in the respective field and featured a number of visionary approaches.

Every individual develops with the experience s/he gains in life. This applies particularly to young people who are willing to take the challenge, when embarking on their future, to seek new frontiers to cross. As the initiator and organiser of The Challenge 218/19 – the third edition of the young designers’ speaker competition – VIA is happy to support this young generation initiative. But before being selected to present their topics at Round III in Berlin, the young designers were required to overcome two hurdles: Round I (submission of a topic) and Round II (provision of a filmed elevator pitch).

The young designers’ speaker competition, which is based on a well-known TV casting show, addresses young talents worldwide. Each of the experienced coaches – lighting designers Susanne Antico/IT, Keith Bradshaw/UK, Jim Collin/S, Deborah Burnett/USA, Jonathan Rush/UK and Rune Nielsen/DK – were required to view all the three-minute filmed elevator pitches submitted and to select three favourites who they would be prepared to coach on an individual basis with regard to content and presentation techniques. The topics were highly diverse, ranging from a new way of designing lighting for cemeteries in Mexico (Antonio Villegas) to considerations for appropriate lighting for astronauts travelling to Mars (Sangil Na) to lighting for autistic children (Ana Tanveer) to lighting design to reduce stress in densely populated spaces (Sudtida Benchahiransak). Further topics that were discussed included improving light, and life, in refugee camps, or the problem of the lack of daylight in cities featuring large numbers of high-rise buildings.

It was extremely interesting to be confronted with topics that no-one had reckoned with. For example, the issues pilots have when landing planes at airports in regions with solar farms, because of the glare that occurs at certain times of the day and year (Xiomara Alejandra Alfaro Acosta). A further topic concerned the lack of artificial light in so-called Third World nations and how it would be possible to improve the situation with the aid of relatively simple means (Andrea El Osta).

On the second day of the mini-conference the coaches were invited to present their ideas for discussion and debate. Given that the quality of their young talents had been so high, the professionals made every effort to complement their candidates’ efforts.

The Challenge is a truly great platform for young, dynamic lighting designers. In the last two editions of the speaker competition, many of the young designers also found this forum very beneficial as part of the process to embark on a professional career in lighting. True, there are “only” six talents who are through to the grand final and will battle to become the overall winner of the 2018/2019 edition of The Challenge, but everyone who took part in the semi-final in Berlin is already a winner. Their presentations were inspiring, motivating and a huge incentive to remain open and continue learning – at whatever stage you are in your career.

The Challenge is kindly sponsored by Erco.

More information on the papers presented in the semi-final in Berlin can be viewed on www.pld-m.com in the coming months.

The grand final will take place this October as part of PLDC 2019 in Rotterdam. The six talents selected by their respective coaches will be presenting their topics again in more detail to a professional audience. The overall winner will receive a money prize of €1000 €.

The finalists are:

Team Susanna: Ece Ozerdem: Improve light, improve life in refugee camps

Team Rune: Katia Kolovea: Light as a medium to enhance communication in urban spaces

Team Jim: Jessica Collier: Perception of metrics: the intersection of colour characteristics and qualities guided by preference

Team Jonathan: Svetlana Degtiareva: Developing a sensory jacket, reflecting human emotions via body senses

Team Deborah: Valeria Bencardino: Capturing the lost pattern of natural light and shadows inside the museum

Team Keith: Jennifer Tomkins: The role of colour in a saturated world

Gold Sponsor ERCO presents the new outdoor lighting of the Cathedral in Milan.