Interview with the CLUE 04 Competition 1st prize winner from Denmark


It’s time to meet and learn more about the winners of the CLUE’s fourth edition competition!

In March, we announced the winners of the CLUE International Lighting Design Competition Edition 04. Under the theme LIGHT AND THE SENSES.

Congratulations to Santiago Bautista from Denmark who won the First Prize for his project entitled SOL (Suspended Omni Light). The project aims to recreate the lighting and acoustic conditions of the Mediterranean countries in the darkest regions of the world through a large balloon suspended from three steel wires to fix its position in the air. The color and intensity of the light varies during the day to achieve similar lighting conditions to the ones of the chosen location. The sounds also vary throughout the day to mimic the sounds of nature on a spring day.


Tell me about yourself, your career and your education.

I am a Spanish architect, designer and entrepreneur currently living in Copenhagen. I graduated from Polytechnic University of Madrid and did part of my studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. After my education I moved to Denmark to work as an architect for an international office, mainly developing projects for architecture competitions. In 2016 I started my own product design company, Bau Design.

Where does your interest in lighting design come from?

As an architect, you learn that light is the most important element in the perception of the spaces. I have always been very interested in lighting design but especially since I moved to Denmark, where there is a very strong lighting culture.

Why did you choose to participate in the “Light and the Senses” themed CLUE Competition?

As an architect, I spend most of my time thinking about ideas that could improve the world around us. I saw this competition as a good opportunity to showcase one of these ideas that could potentially enhance an urban space in my city.


Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of “SOL (Supended Omnidirectional Light)” and what is the “Light and the Senses” aspect of this project? 

The main idea behind SOL is to develop a device that can recreate the lighting and acoustic conditions of the Mediterranean countries in the darkest regions of the world. SOL would be installed in large public spaces of the city with the intention of creating a collective light and sound therapy.

Its first proposed application is to be installed on “Isreals Plads” in Copenhagen, a public square that is used as a playground by the students of an adjacent school. By exposing these children to SOL on a daily basis, it is expected to reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and increase their level of energy and engagement.

 Do you think that your proposal could become a reality? 

From a technical point of view SOL could be a viable project. The main challenge is, however, to make it a permanent element of the urban space. I believe the first step of this project should be to build a temporary installation to evaluate the implications and effects of a permanent SOL.

What were your motivations for “SOL (Suspended Omnidirectional Light)”?

Copenhagen is an incredible city that has accepted me as its citizen. It has given me the chance to develop as a professional and to be a part of their admirable socio-economic system. However, there are a few things from my home country that Copenhagen cannot provide. The most important of them is the sunlight, especially during the winter months. With this project, I want to bring to Denmark a piece of my Mediterranean culture; I want to give something back for everything that I have been offered.

Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?

SOL is a large helium balloon which is illuminated from inside by a set of dimmable RGB lights making it appear as a glowing sphere. These lights are programmed to vary in both color and intensity throughout the day to match the lighting conditions of a Mediterranean location on a specific day.

At the same time, the 360º sound ring will host a series of full-range drivers that will recreate the sounds of nature from sunrise to sunset.

 How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis? 

Over the past few years, developers, contractors and clients have started to understand the importance of lighting design in the perception of a space and the mood of its occupants. In addition to this, recent studies help to confirm the beneficial effects of proper lighting in human health. As a result, lighting design will become a very technical discipline that will require the collaboration of multidisciplinary teams involving manufacturers, lighting specialists, psychologists, designers and architects.

How do you see your professional career evolving? 

It is hard to predict how my professional career will evolve. I love the world of ideas but my real passion is to make them come true. I want to be involved in this process for the rest of my life whether it is as an architect,  a designer or an entrepreneur.

I am currently fully invested in the development of my own company, Bau Design, where I am trying to bring some of my ideas to life.

Stay tuned for the next interviews with the other winners in a couple of weeks!












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