Lighting Spaces

UNDERSTANDING LIGHT BY SKETCHING A FRAME:

It was a pleasure working with Jitesh, who is an architect turned visual artist and lighting designer. He conducted a three day workshop on lighting spaces. I liked the approach of understanding light with its counterpart – shadow and starting with light and shadow sketches.

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Sketching was a great means to understand the flow of light in a space and looking out for a frame where natural light plays a dramatic role in a space. It definitely helped me understand how openings affect a space. The presentations given by Jitesh were highly inspiring to experiment with light as practice.

THE MAZE EXERCISE:

Another exercise to understand the formation of shadows because of physical obstruction of light was intriguing. The formation of a maze structure to observe light and shadows formed by changing various elements of the source light was helpful to learn about the effect of intensities of light in a space.

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PROTOTYPE MAKING (INDIVIDUAL PROJECT):

Project Brief:

For making a prototype of a luminaire, a space was to be chosen in the campus which was supposed to be lit. We were free to choose the source of light (natural or artificial) and also the position of the source (internal or external). The luminaire which was to be created, was supposed to be contextualized according to the space chosen. The reason for choosing the space and the design proposed should have been justified.

My Space:

I chose the corridor in front of the ‘Pepperslate’ office at N2 campus. My purpose behind choosing that corridor was to bring life to it and make it noticeable. That space seems like a dead space and hardly anyone knows about that place in the campus. My intention was to propose a luminare in that space which could possible attract people’s attention and compels them to walk through it.

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My Concept:

I was initially very excited about the space and wanted to make it interesting. I was thinking of using the natural light coming in from the room at the end of the corridor into this space. Later, I felt that the task was nearly impossible due to the time constraint (36 hours) and also due to the irregular direction of natural light coming through the windows.

I thus came up with the concept of covering the ceiling completely with some luminaire forms and other reflector spheres such that the lights coming out from the luminaires falls on to the reflectors and thus illuminates the whole space. I wanted to give the luminaire an interesting form such that there is a play of light and shadow in that space and a dramatic effect is obtained in the corridor. The light might as well fall outside the corridor which in turn can attract people. The form of the lighting itself was sufficient enough to make the space lively.

I thus came up with a form made up of conical shapes such that some of the cones are closed and the others open, some are fixed with a colored film and some with a reflecting film so that light can be illuminated in a playful manner.

The Work in Progress:

I started working on the concept and started making the cones with the help of various kinds of handcrafted sheets and catridge sheets. While making the cones for the first luminaires at night, I soon realized that the proposed concept was a little too much according to the time provided for completing the task.

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I felt disappointed because I knew that I won’t be able to achieve what I had thought of. The next day, I started building upon the luminaire with the cones I had. I had already prepared a wire structure to hold the paper cones. While working on the form, every time I felt that this is not what I had thought of. Don’t really know how the luminaire is going to turn out. In addition to the misery of my thoughts, I was further getting low because of the time the luminaire was taking to be built. At the beginning of the process, I really couldn’t picture what the form is going to look like. It was a complete state of disaster for me.

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My under confidence in my product was being fuelled by the completion of the other groups’ works. Just then when I was not really happy about what I was doing, I confronted Jitesh and Urvashi – the facilitators of this workshop. One thing that Jitesh told me then is something that is learning for me for life. He just said to me, “It is just an experiment, even if it won’t be what you have thought, it will turn out to be something. Don’t be scared of experimentation.” This point of time the fear of what my product might come out to be simply vanished. My feeling of disappointment was instantly turned into inspiration to work and finish what I have started.

I thus started working energetically, to see what the final form will turn out to be, to see what the result of my experiment is and to know what I have coincidentally achieved. After a little hard work of making cones and putting them all together, I did come up with a form. Different from what I had thought but still – interesting!

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I was happy with the experiment. Never thought that I would experience one of the biggest learnings of my life. I was really happy, not because of the form but because I went through and was happy about the tool of experimentation without worrying about the result.

One thing I realized while going through another presentation of Jitesh while I was working on my luminaire was that, it is not easy to work with light. It does require a lot of work and experimentation to achieve the exact effect that one is looking for. Even then, the energy might surprise you with its beauty in some or the other way which in turn might result in a change in the form.

I later, with the help of the electrician, fixed the luminaire in its place. My intention of giving life to that ‘Pepperslate’ corridor was indeed fulfilled to an extent. I still have that grudge and feeling that I could have done it better (the way I had thought – filling the ceiling with luminaires and reflectors) if I had some more time to work on it. But, there always is less time in design. The due dates are always one day early! 🙂

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Shilpi

The easiest way to recognize a cluster is that you enter a town and be greeted by countless forms and structures of one particular material. Although all the forms are different in structure but from your perspective – watching from the entrance of the town, the work seems monotonous. This monotony in the  material and appearance helps in pointing out the place as a cluster of that particular craft.

While standing at the gate of Shivarapatna, a village in the Malur Taluk of Kolar District in Karnataka, a similar sight of massive stone sculptures welcomed me and my friend Sree Lakshmi, and helped us confirm that we were standing at the right place – the land of stone sculpting, Shivarapatna.

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I have to admit that traveling to this town from Bangalore is not very easy. We took a bus from Majestic to Hoskote, from where we got a bus to Malur. From Malur a bus to Shivarapatna gate and then an auto to reach the entrance of the Shivarapatna village. The deserted Shivarapatna gate leads to dumbfounderment as there does not exist any trace of public commute! Indeed huge autos which I have termed as ‘item’ autos (because of the way it is decorated from the inside) do follow this route at intervals of 5-10 minutes. These autos can possibly accommodate 20 people at once and cost Rs. 10 per person. We got into one of these autos and reached the entrance of the Shivarapatna village from the Shivarapatna gate in 5 minutes. Although this route seemed difficult to follow, on our way back to Bangalore, we did discover an easier route. We took an auto from the entrance of the village until Malur bus station directly. From here, we got a bus to Bangalore, which goes until Majestic but we got down at Krishnaraj Puram Railway Station.

 We reached Shivarapatna in two hours of journey from Majestic, Bangalore and were struck with amazement to see the whole village working on black and white stones. There were Gods’ sculptures all over made in black and white soapstone (steatite) and granite. We entered the village and stopped at every house to gaze at the stone sculptures done by the artisans and talked to them.

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 I discovered that stone craft is a rich craft and artisans were happy shaping the stones their way. I learned the process of stone carving which is a combination of drawing on stone with red oxide solution and giving finesse to the stone with repeated action of drawing and sculpting. I also identified that the artisans there worked only on orders and produced sculptures as per the designs of the customers. The raw material is bought by various artisans from different places in Karnataka.

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 For getting the feel of the hardness of stone and to understand the difficulty level of stone carving, I tried my hand on it and remarked the softness of the stone which made it easy to carve. Carving required muscular strength to give the initial shape to the irregular shaped stone. The minute details and carvings is generally done by the females which demand less strength.

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Shivarapatna is also a cluster for metal casting. The lost-wax method is used here for making brass sculptures. Artisans though work here only on orders and do not keep ready made pieces. Me and my friend walked along the street on which the village is situated. One distinctive thing I observed was the use of bamboo to create screen like shelters for work.

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It was an amusing and lively experience to gaze at the omnipresent stone craft. I and Sree Lakshmi walked back till the village entrance and waited for another auto ride. Never had I thought that the approaching ride would be like flying in the air. I stood on the foot rest outside the auto and flew in the direction opposite to the direction of the journey. I was delighted to be there and feel the air gushing in my clothes and my body while I stood on the footrest and was overwhelmed about the fact that there was no seat for me inside the rickshaw which was preoccupied with 17 passengers and my friend just managed to fit in. As always the case is, the road back to home is smaller than getting out. We managed to reach back to Bangalore by 7:30 in the evening and headed back home.

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