Margaretha Stenmark

Lights in Alingsås festival started in 1999 when students from HDK, Jönköping University and Gothenburg University gathered in Alingsås to experiment with different lighting designs for public buildings. Continuing to grow year on year, the 2016 theme  is ‘The Enlightenment’ concentrating on sustainability and environmental issues, as Workshop Manager Margaretha Stenmark explained.

For those not familiar with Lights in Alingsås, what is it all about?

It is an event divided in two parts; a workshop and an exhibition. The workshop is an educational part, to let students of lighting and architecture from all over the world learn more about architectural lighting in public spaces. All seven light-installations are built by these students led by experienced lighting-designers within a week. The workshop ends with a magnificent opening ceremony and the exhibition is open to the public for five weeks, with lots of activities around it.

This year’s theme focuses on sustainability – what will this involve?

We will focus on the seventeen sustainable goals compiled by UN 2015. All installations will illustrate one or some of the goals and we hope that we can enlighten visitors as to what is happening in the world and hopefully they will be inspired to do their small part to make it better.

Are you able to disclose which lighting designers will be involved?

Yes! We have Chiara Carucci from Italy; Carissa Brockway and Debra Gilmore from the US; Erik Hagström from Sweden; Ignacio Valero from Spain; Jytte Basler from Germany; Sabine De Schutter from Belgium; and Tad Trylski from the UK.

And how did they react to this year’s theme?

All the designers were very happy about the theme, it´s very current, but it’s also very hard to illustrate through illumination. The only thing I can say is, that it will be different to previous years and maybe the results will be different to observers in some cases.

Lights in Alingsås is working towards an environmental diploma as well. How is this helping to shape the event?

The event has to fulfil the basic regulations related to the environment and show that it is working with environmental issues. This influences the whole preparatory process, how we act during the workshop and the exhibition. For instance we have to consider everything that we buy, take care of what our sponsors standpoint is in this matter, transportation for all participants, waste sorting and so on.

In an intensive week before Lights in Alingsås opens to the public, the light trail is created by the international lighting designers, working with more than 60 students from all corners of the world. During the week the students will also have the chance to attend a lecture on sustainability and the environment with extra focus on global sustainability. The speakers will be Fredrik Bergman and Fredrik Wizemann (Sustainability Controllers at Alingsås Energy and responsible for ensuring that the festival receives its environmental diploma).

How important is it to educate on sustainability in terms of lighting design?

Lighting design involves a lot of respect towards sustainability, energy consumption, production of equipment, and also to consider equality and security when planning. Hopefully we can give the students some tools and new knowledge that they can use in their future work, which will contribute to achieve the three big issues over the coming fifteen years – to eradicate extreme poverty, to reduce the inequalities and injustices in the world and to solve the climate crisis…

Lights in Alingsås festival runs from 30 September to 6 November, 2016.