Office for Visual Interaction

Lighting Powers of 10

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Kristin Feireiss in conversation with Jean Sundin and Enrique Peiniger KF: What does the name 'Office for Visual Interaction' mean, and when did you found your office? JS: Enrique and I founded Office for Visual Interaction in 1997. For us, the word 'interaction' means the relationship of light with surfaces and materials, and how they interact. Lighting design is not just about placing lighting hardware, but instead integrating lighting seamlessly into architecture. It is about how you feel and experience three-dimensional space. KF: Jean, what is your background? JS: I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. During my studies I was introduced to a lighting internship program, and I discovered how powerful and unique lighting is. Once I started practicing lighting it became a passion for me. KF: What got you to lighting, Enrique? EP: I studied architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. I was always fascinated by the social component of architecture and how people perceive and interpret space. I was interested in finding out the practical limits of theoretical ideas, especially in lighting. Lighting is also about technical execution, so this is how my interests came together. KF: When was the starting point of your cooperation? JS: We were working together in another lighting office, and we could see that there was a recurring situation of how lighting was being done. We knew there were many more potentials that could be explored. EP: Normally, at a very late stage of design the architects would ask, 'what about lighting?' What they get at that stage are standard responses. We thought if architects would ask this question earlier, they would get different answers. Our philosophy is to set up a dialogue early on with the architects to create a tailor-made result. KF: Is collaboration with architects from the very beginning of the project a 'must' for you? JS: It's not a must, but it's much, much better. When we're involved early, we have the opportunity to do wonderful things. Building is a process and lighting is part of it. If you miss an opportunity you can't go back. I think architects can see that more can be achieved in their projects by having the right expertise involved at the very early stages. 78

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