How did you end up in lighting design and with your own company?
By accident! I studied in the former Soviet Union in a university specializing in construction of municipal buildings, and graduated with a major in economics for construction. When I moved to Toronto, I didn’t speak a word of English, and was lucky to get hired as a draftsperson by a consulting engineering firm. I progressed from drafting to electrical design that included design of lighting which I was drawn to. To learn more, I took IES100, IES150 (now known as the Fundamentals of Lighting series and Advanced IESNA lighting courses). I faithfully attended courses at Lightfair every year, learning from the most talented and accomplished lighting professionals.
What motivates you?
My mother. Or, at least I hold her largely responsible. I grew up being told practically daily, “You have to live up to your potential!” And according to my mother, there was no limit to my potential. I don’t know of any other profession where people are as passionate about their work as lighting designers are; we are incredibly lucky to do what we love and be paid for doing what we love doing.
A client of yours in Vancouver refers to you as an “atmospheric strategist”. What does that mean to you?
I think it’s a fantastic description! What it means to me is that there’s nothing more powerful in establishing mood and atmosphere than light. Mood of any space, in my opinion, is created by quality of light and its composition. Any space can be made to feel the way that the client intended it to feel when light treatment is applied purposely to evoke a specific emotion.