One attended the 2003 Lights in Alingsås festival as a student, the other was there in 2015. But now Mette Hvass is a teacher at prestigious Aalborg University in Copenhagen, while Tina Wikström is a student there. After almost twenty years of Lights festivals, you can find former participants everywhere.
” Who knows? In a few years we might both find ourselves heading workshops here,” say the designers with a smile.
Many have attended the Lights in Alingsås event in Sweden as lighting design students and have then gone on to global assignments. Sooner or later, some of them return as workshop heads. Take Mieke van Der Velden for example, who is participating in this year’s set up.
We find other leaders at well-known companies and organizations.
This year two we found two at stylish Aalborg University in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Surrounded by Scandinavian design, student and teacher look back, telling us how Lights in Alingsås influenced their careers and, in hindsight, what it has meant to them.
” I’m basically an architect, but after working a lot with daylight and lighting I realized that I wanted to work full-time with lighting design,” says Mette Hvass.
She applied for, and won, a place at Stockholm’s KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) to study lighting design and like others from the Institute, became a regular visitor to Lights in Alingsås.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to work with professional lighting designers and to see in practice the exciting ways you can use lighting design. You could also see how an idea resulted in a finished product and how a group working together could achieve a great result,“ she adds.
After a career path which included working for both COWI and Rambøll, Mette became a teacher in lighting design. Beside her sits Tina Wikström. Their ages and experience may separate them, but their stories have a lot in common.
” Like Mette, I didn’t know so much about Lights in Alingsås but I heard from other students that everyone should go,” she says.
The students she is talking about are friends from Jönköping University, which has been sending students to Alingsås for many years. Tina was new, both at the University and in the world of lighting design.
Even if she comes from the northern Swedish town of Umeå and grew up with the Northern Lights, as well as having a burning interest in design, it wasn’t until she started to investigate courses of study on-line that she came across lighting design.
” I felt quite quickly that I was in the right place, and when I went to Lights in Alingsås, I was sure of it. It was all about learning from professionals and following the process from the ideas stage to the final product. Everything happened very quickly and it was intense - but really cool,“ says Tina.
Did your visit affect the choices you made afterwards?
“I travelled to Portugal with Lights in Alingsås last spring and when I finished my studies at Jönköping I realized that I wanted to learn even more, so I applied to Aalborg so I could broaden and deepen my knowledge.”
Asked whether they would recommend Lights to others they don’t hesitate - they already have. This year a collaboration starts between Lights in Alingsås and Aalborg University, where a student will come to the festival to see how it works. The question is rather when Mette and Tina are returning – and whether they will come back to lead workshops.
” Perhaps in a few years – we’ll have to see,“ they say in unison and smile.
Om Lights in Alingsås
Varje oktober sedan år 2000 kommer världsledande ljusdesigners till Alingsås för att ljussätta centrala delar av staden. Kalla och anonyma fasader blir till varma och färgsprakande platser, sjöar kan bli futuristiska landningsbanor och i dessa oaser av ljus uppstår nya och inbjudande mötesplatser i staden.
Under evenemanget råder det full aktivitet i Alingsås och under de senaste åren har Lights in Alingsås resulterat i över 85 000 besök under oktober månad. Lights in Alingsås är en viktig internationell mötesplats för ljusdesigners, studenter och företag. Lights in Alingsås drivs sedan 2018 av Alingsås energi.