Today we are happy to introduce you to the second prize winner of the CLUE 04 International Lighting Design Competition. Let us remind you that the theme this year was “Light and the senses”.
Congratulations to Kareem Asfahani from Lebanon for his project entitled “Auraroma”.
Tell me about yourself, your career and your education.
As an enthusiast of using interdisciplinary design as a problem-solving tool, I enjoy getting involved in projects that make a difference; whether it is volunteering work or designing spaces to their maximum potential. As far as my education goes, I have a Master’s degree in Strategic Design of Spaces from IE University in Madrid and the Royal College of Arts in London, which has inspired me to pursue further education in the near future. On a personal level, travelling is what most rejuvenates my soul and so I try to immerse myself in new cultures often.
Where does your interest in lighting design come from?
My fascination with lighting design stems from the nature of light and how it is rarely considered as a design material in and of itself. I’m curious to explore how this dynamic, non-invasive, and versatile medium can be stretched to its fullest potential.
Why did you choose to participate in the “Light and the Senses” themed CLUE Competition?
I had barely dipped my toes in lightning design prior to my participation in this competition and wanted to do so to further challenge myself as a designer. What intrigued me most was the interdisciplinary nature of the brief since it called for participants to work with lighting in an urban context.
Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of “Auraroma” and what is the “Light and the Senses” aspect of this project?
Originally, it struck me that both scent and light are very powerful stimulants and yet hardly placed at the center of design solutions. So, I was determined to explore the interplay of scent and light to create moodscapes. Ultimately, because the project resulted in such a strong bond between light and scent, I believe it was able to provide aura with an aroma and aroma with an aura, which blows my mind.
Do you think that your proposal could become a reality?
I certainly hope so! In fact, the implementation of this project was constantly on my mind during the design process and for this reason, I knew early on that the end result will not only need to be workable but also economical.
What were your motivations for “Auraroma” ?
The driving force behind Auraroma was the sad reality that my city is gravely suffering from a lack of public spaces. So, I was motivated to transform run-down pockets of Beirut’s urban matrix into enjoyable public spaces that evoke emotion and inspiration on a collective level.
Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?
The build of the canopy is fairly simple. It consists of a skeleton support system with strategically placed idlers that work to weave water-resistant fabric strips together. Flexible photovoltaic panels and concealed batteries ensure that the structure is constantly revolving at all times.
During the day, a nature scene is created when sunlight diffuses through the cool hues of the multicolored strips and randomly flickers to imitate daylight breaking through trees in a forest. During the night, the embedded electroluminescent wires in the fabric strips emanate dimming lights in warm hues to create an intimate twilight scene.
Furthermore, these strips are scent dyed on-site semi-annually and release specific scents as they graze past one another. Therefore, as the ribbons move along their trajectory, they end up creating a dynamic public space that changes in aura and aroma depending on the time of day.
How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis?
It’s my opinion and hope that lighting design will begin to take a much larger role in architecture, interior, and urban design. As technology evolves and offers designers efficient and creative lighting solutions, it is only natural that the potential of this indispensable medium will be exploited.
How do you see your professional career evolving?
The truth is I haven’t the slightest clue, but I suppose that’s what makes life exciting and fun. However, my fingers are crossed to eventually be involved in meaningful projects that serve a higher purpose, especially when there is a dire need for creative solutions such as in war-ridden cities, poverty-stricken slums, or humanitarian crises.