CARLOTTA DE BEVILACQUA
What would I say to my younger self? Lighting for me
is always a relationship between people, space and the
environment. This is because I am an architect, so the
first advice I always give to everybody – the first thing
I teach my students – is to think about the role of light
in our life. And also in nature and the communication
of data, now we are in the photonic era.
When I was starting out at the age of 26 or so, there
were no LEDs, no microchips, no electronics, no
internet, so it was a little different.
Lighting design was more related to the experience
of light, like Le Corbusier, who used to talk about the
balance or the harmony between the aesthetic and the
function of the space. Also there is Tanizaki’s lesson
about the role of shadow in bringing out the beauty
So to anyone starting out I would say, switch off all
the light and learn to follow the rhythm of the natural
light. Discover spaces through the shadows and the
relationship between shadow and light. I think this is
the first lesson.
When I am designing, drawing shapes with a pencil
is not, for me, the first step. We have to understand
what is the real role today of light, with all the new
possibilities brought by technology.
We must put together a vision of the world, listening to
all the cultures, all the needs and so on, merging all the
electronics and capturing the potential of this super-new technology.
That gives you your vision, and then you need to add
some talent. Although even if you are not particularly
talented it’s enough to be intelligent and serious, you
won’t make any mistakes. You may not be the best but
you can be correct; you are educated to respect the
rules of design.
It’s also very important to be curious. I would say,
study always. You never know enough, never. Be
humble. Listen to all the different needs, and then have
a dream. You need to have a dream – because that is
inventing the future.
l Carlotta de Bevilacqua is principal at the Studio
Carlotta de Bevilacqua in Milan
‘I would say, study always. You never know enough,
never. Be humble. Listen to all the different needs,
and then have a dream. You need to have a dream –
because that is inventing the future’