The Lighting Tree: Kerem Asfuroglu

After almost 8 years at Speirs+Major and being awarded the title Dark Sky Defender in 2017, Kerem established Dark Source in 2019 to focus on projects driven with social and environmental values. 

Thanks to Rachael Nicholls for nominating Kerem to the esteemed Lighting Tree

What was the fascination with lighting that drew you to into this career?

Kerem Asfuroglu

Now I know that there isn’t any, I cannot find a way out.
Just kidding. Let me try again. 

Storytelling and creative freedom. From way back in the distant past when we gathered around the fire to shelter from the dark of the unknown, stories have spoken to us, cutting across social and cultural differences.

As lighting designers we get to tell stories of people and places using brightness and darkness. Playing with such an ethereal medium while creating a physical manifestation and a visceral effect is something that still blows my mind sometimes. 

There are lots of aspects to creating good lighting design; is there any one aspect of the process that means more to you than anything else?

I think the most important part of the design process starts after the project is finished. Once a project is delivered, we rarely look back to measure the impact it had or how it aged. We are often too interested in how it looks on day 1 rather than how it feels and what it means after day 1000. I fear that the lighting design these days is more concerned about the visual aesthetics than the social ethics.

As a young designer, I need to believe that my job still has social relevance and depth for the years to come. There should be more to it than just being the enhancer of wealth and image. Exploring that social value is the rewarding aspect of this process which intrigues more than anything else. 

I guess we should also ask, for balance, is there anything in the process that you’d prefer to avoid and pass onto someone else in the studio?

Admin. I hate it with all my heart. Pass it onto someone else? I’d be happy to murder an entire studio if it’s going to get me out of admin! It consumes most of my time. I am a design animal. My time is best invested when I’m thinking. 

What or who are your influences when it comes to light creation?

I think there is no greater inspiration than a blank piece of paper and a pen. I get most of my inspiration from things outside of the lighting world – from science, art and literature, to music and comics. I can’t help but think that the moment you put a title on yourself, you potentially close off interesting and exciting new avenues. 

I’m a glass half empty kinda guy if you had not yet noticed. I’ll give you a song, a book and a film. Meditation by Edward ArtemievOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and Being There by Hal Ashby

Tell us something about the you that exists outside of lighting.

I love doodling comics and cartoons. Here a couple about me. 

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