It’s a pleasure for us to introduce you to Helena Trias and Samuel Laguarta from Spain who won the third prize of the CLUE 03 Competition with their project WheeLight.
First, congratulations on winning the third prize for Edition 03 of the CLUE Competition.
Tell us about yourself, your career and your education.
We both studied architecture in Barcelona. We met at university there, and we started working together for small contests as a way of introducing ourselves to the world outside the school.
Where does your interest in lighting design come from?
Last year, we participated in an ephemeral light festival called Lluèrnia. It was our first such experience, so we had to learn how to manage ourselves in the world of light. We discovered infinite ways of lighting, and the enormous impact that brightness has in our lives. As architects, we desire to control the sunlight, as a natural, intangible element, yet we have a long path of discovering about artificial lighting.
Why did you choose to participate in the “One for light, light for all” themed CLUE Competition?
We understand the CLUE Competition as a space for debate, an open discussion about the power of light in urban areas and its capacity to transform activities in the city. We believe that architecture has the power to encounter people, to strengthen communities by bringing together its inhabitants. Therefore, the efforts of one should impact the others, as it is in life. Everyone does his best for the group: that is how teams, families, cities or countries work. The theme was what we always look for.
Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of “WheeLight”? What is the “One for light, light for all” aspect of this project?
We started thinking about a daily problem in many parts of the world. As Mediterraneans we enjoy many hours of sunlight, but we understand that around the world many people do not have such a privilege. On the other hand, many of them do not have access to electric light as we do. Improving our own quality of life, while there are people with a total lack of light, seemed like complete nonsense. This project belongs to the idea of thinking about light possibilities in different contexts. It arises from a daily problem in many parts of the world. Hours of light condition our life and the tasks we do during the day.
Do you think that your proposal could become a reality?
We are convinced that our project could become a reality in a brief period of time, because we have seen similar projects in Africa. With a light-industry partner we could introduce light generators to some villages. We turn our attention to children, thinking directly of the future opportunities they could bring to their communities.
What were your motivations for WheeLight?
Our principal motivation was to empower children in villages without access to electricity. Giving them the power to revolutionize. Placing them in an important role, where they can take on major responsibilities. Not giving them the solution, but the method to solve problems.
Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?
Our project is based on technologies that have been with us for a long time. A bicycle dynamo has the potential to convert movement into electricity. Using abandoned tires, WheeLight should be attached to the center, guided by an extendible stick for holding on to. It is neither difficult nor expensive to use.
How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis?
We understand light as a new material, an intangible that interacts with our eyes. It is like the fourth dimension of design, a variable that can change our vision of ancient materials. It also has a powerful connection with energy, which is a big debate nowadays, so it creates an interesting balance between ecology and efficiency.
How do you see your professional career evolving?
We look at the future as an opportunity to participate in an international project working day by day. The CLUE Competition has encouraged both of us. We have realized that our work, and our evolving ideas, can find new opportunities and reach other people far from our hometown. Architecture can truly impact society, and light will be one of our precious tools from now on.