Ray is a co-founder of Match Lighting Studio. His background in Architecture and Engineering drives a passion for exploring the use of daylight and artificial light within architectural spaces
What was the fascination with lighting that drew you to into this career?
My first introduction to lighting design happened during my time at University.
I studied Architectural Engineering at the University of Leeds and as part of the course I went to study abroad for one year at Penn State University, Pennsylvania .
It was there where I was introduced to architectural lighting design as a subject and I was completely fascinated by it. I was amazed by how important and influential lighting can be in the design of architecture and spaces. Intrigued not only by how light works but also by what it can do. How it affects everything from what we see, how we perceive it to our emotional response.
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 would have to say concept design stage. From brainstorming to the artistic creation.
I enjoy researching and creating a strong narrative for the design whilst exploring and sharing ideas with other members of the team. Working with others at this stage is a very enlightening experience as you get to observe how each person’s different experiences and backgrounds can influence their individual design decisions and preferences. By working in this collaborative way you get to improve and refine your own perspectives on design.
Once brainstorming is over I also enjoy producing the artistic material to clearly convey the concept visually. This usually entails a series of hand sketches or photoshopped images.
I really enjoy the satisfaction of getting from a blank canvas to developing the lighting concept and then to see it visually come to life on paper.
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?
Hmmm…There are too many. Just joking!
I’d say CAD. Don’t get me wrong, I am proficiently trained in AutoCAD and it is an important part of what we do, however I do not enjoy it much. I would much prefer to leave that to other members of the team!
What or who are your influences when it comes to light creation?
I studied Architecture and really loved the topic of natural light and how it was used by some of the great architects around the world.
During my studies, we analysed many master architects. However, one architect named Louis Kahn stood out for me. He had a unique vision on how to use natural light within his designs. He’s also known as the master of light whose architecture was shaped by shadow. I visited many of his projects while studying and travelling the States, including the Salk Institute in California. What I got most out of his inspiration is how one can manipulate the intricate relationship between architecture, light and shadow to create dramatic spaces and unique experiences.
I’m also a keen photographer and I usually take my DSLR camera with me whenever I go on holiday. I like capturing buildings, interiors and natural landscapes. Through capturing images not only do I get lots of inspiration but it helps me realise how the balance of colour, light and shadow makes or breaks an image. I have my own interpretation of this and try to bring it into my own creative design work.
Tell us something about the you that exists outside of lighting.
I practise martial arts whenever work allows. I took up Wing Chun a number of years back and have been practising since. It gets me off my back side and doing some physical sport. Being a lighting designer this often involves many gruelling hours sitting at a your desk in front of a computer. Practising Wing Chun gives me a break physically and mentally from my daily work.