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When Lighting and Interior Designers Connect: A Design Conversation

Aug. 31, 2022
Presenters at inaugural LightSPEC West will explore the relationship between architecture, light and wellness.

By Clifton Stanley Lemon

Every interior designer knows that light is a uniquely powerful tool design tool, and when used strategically can greatly enhance the narrative power and experience of interior spaces. Lighting can quite literally make or break a space, which is why collaboration between interior designers and lighting designers is a vital endeavor for any commercial interiors project.

Perhaps no one knows this better than leading west coast designers Janelle Drouet and Joel Villalon, two practitioners who understand the power of lighting when paired with appropriate design strategies. Drouet, the west coast lighting leader and senior associate at Mazzetti Lighting Design Studio, along with Villalon, principal at BraytonHughes Design Studios, will present an intimate and illustrated design conversation on September 21 at LightSPEC West in Los Angeles, where they explore their approaches to envisioning beautiful spaces, creating delight in our inhabiting them, and understanding health and wellness in the built environment.

In their talk, Balance, Wellness & Delight: A Design Conversation, Drouet and Villalon will examine and challenge current ideas of the role of beauty and aesthetics in architecture, and design and present qualitative and quantitative data on user experience of beauty, health and comfort in interior spaces through a perspective of common sense and useful evidence. They will also explore users’ cognitive processing of architectural spaces through narrative sequencing enhanced by contrast, visual comfort, clear navigation paths and layers of light, and occupant health and productivity outcomes related to lighting in different building sectors such as healthcare, education and hospitality.

The co-presenters will show examples of their design work in residential, hospitality, retail and office projects that evolve from a natural interplay of light, interior architecture, furnishings, materials, color and finishes. They will also discuss specific techniques and design visualizations that facilitate optimal creative collaboration.

The inaugural LightSPEC West showcases design and innovation in lighting for the built environment. Carefully curated by top industry experts, it is a networking, education and solutions platform for specifiers and buyers of commercial and residential lighting and controls. With a program covering a wide range of topics vital to building designers, owners and operators, the two-day conference and expo includes networking events, site tours, product showcases and CEU-accredited educational material in plenary and individual sessions as well as panel discussions.

An international lighting design professional and lighting leader, Drouet focuses on creating expressive, sustainable and award-winning concepts in light and has contributed to the success of a broad spectrum of project types and scales. Prior to her position at Mazzetti, she was associate principal and lighting group leader at Arup in San Francisco; principal of J Drouet Design Studio; director of Lighting Design at Lightswitch, San Francisco; and founder and director of Lighting Design at Harris Consulting Engineers (HCE Architectural Lighting Design Group).

Meet the Presenters

As a child, Villalon discovered beauty during each of the many summer vacations he took with his parents and siblings. Whether he was hiking in the painted Grand Canyon or driving through the magnificent Centro Historico of Mexico City, his fascination with travel and the differences he noticed in space, light and architecture in different parts of the world began to take form. He still retains this sense of wonder and observation and brings that focused eye and attention to detail in each of his projects.

Villalon worked with Larry Speck in Austin, Texas; Rafael Vinoly Architects in New York City; and Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill in San Francisco before he joined BraytonHughes in 1992. He was made a principal in 2007 and currently serves as executive advisor. Since joining the firm, his hand is evident in many of the firm’s hospitality, private clubs and corporate projects.Villalon has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas.

About the Author: In addition to his role as program director for LightSPEC West conferences, Clifton Stanley Lemon is a contributor to LEDs Magazine, a sister publication to i+s under the Endeavor Business Media brand, and CEO of Clifton Lemon Associates, a consultancy providing strategy, marketing, and education services to the lighting and energy industries.

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