The team behind the International VELUX Award 2020 winning project in the category Daylight Investigations; Julia Giżewska, Paweł Białas and Dominik Kowalski, are the students of Silesian University Of Technology in Poland. They shared with us their experience of working on their winning project and gave some valuable tips for the future competition participants.
Can you describe to us your experience of developing your project and about working with the daylight as a theme?
Paweł: Natural light determines the entire space in which people live. It has a considerable influence on it. The light determines how a person perceives a given space and how they feel in it.
The process of creating the project asked many questions that I had never thought about. What is light and does it have any influence on me at all?
Does experiencing darkness affect my well-being? Which correlations exist between light, nature and human? With this project we may have been looking for answers, but above all we wanted to raise these questions to every viewer.
Julia: Working on the project was a challenge for me and it certainly taught me a lot. First of all, I looked at light differently and perceived it in the context of darkness; these two elements are like two equal characters - one cannot exist without the other. The problem of light is quite delicate due to the fact that it has many faces. Besides, in today's world it is a topic that appears frequently, in different situations and contexts, of course. I also think that light is definitely an element of our life, containing a lot of potential, in both creative – physical way and the more ideological – metaphysical way.
Dominik: First of all I have to mention that the main feature we have been following by was to create something which is not straightly and commonly understood as a light. Daylight might be also treated in terms of natural light. As a great fan of astronomy I found the competition theme in natural light of night - celestial bodies and their glare. For me our design form is a reinterpretation of a planetarium. Daylight might be commonly known just as a light of the day. I think that the clue for our project is thinking about natural light in different form.
Tell us a little bit about collaboration you had within your team, and how you collaborated with your teacher?
Paweł: Discussion played the most important role in our collaboration. Each team member and tutor saw different values in this project. Of course this led to interesting discussions and, more importantly, valuable conclusions to improve the concept. It is worth mentioning that we created the project without having met even once. This was due to the pandemic. We developed the project mainly through numerous conversations via video and phone calls... This situation did not make our task easier. It was certainly a novelty and a huge challenge for all of us. We are all the more pleased with the success we have achieved
Julia: The work in our team was quite well defined, due to the fact that everyone looked at the project from a different perspective - hence we assessed it from different levels, we made sure to have a fresh perspective. Our tutor, on the other hand, usually looked at the project from the outside, more objectively. That certainly brought a lot.
Dominik: We have started our adventure with International Velux Award 2020 in the pandemic time. That is why we were obliged to meeting via internet. That was something new to us when it came to dicussing problems, ideas, etc. Our work was mainly distributed by computer screen. Otherwise I have to say that this type of work let us to share our point of views much often.
Our tutor sometimes questioned our new ideas in order to unleash the real message of the project - something must be for something - not just design for the sake of the design.
That led us to the strong and clear idea, that can be figured out fast by someone new to the topic of our proposal.
What have you gained professionally, by doing this competition?
Julia: Certainly taking part in the competition was an opportunity to work in a team once again, hence I developed my skills in this type of activity. In addition, we had a chance to show and create our own, lets say manifesto - which certainly developed my conceptual thinking in some ways. Of course, competitions are always an element that opens the door to many studios or collectives, in which one of the most important aspects is the experience gained, for example during competitions. The opportunity to see other participants' works was also a valuable part of this competition, which will pay off in my professional work for sure.
Paweł: Through participation in this competition I have learnt completely different ways of thinking, solving design problems by our team members and by other teams.
Being able to see work by others gives you the opportunity to analyse what was relevant to them. This is extremely valuable.
Dominik: I think that VELUX competition is very educational. The most important thing I found on this project is the way of thinking about the topic - out of the box. Teamwork led us to the best solution for the contest. We found something that is so different from the standard way of thinking about the light - the main topic for every edition of this competition. On the other hand there is a side of learning from not-good solutions.
Do you have any advice for students considering participating in the 2022 competition?
Paweł: The International Velux Award 2022 is another edition of an excellent competition, which gives students the opportunity to confront their own ideas and solutions with other concepts from all over the world, as well as being evaluated by an experienced jury. This is a great opportunity, above all, for resilient development. The very cycle of preparation for the competition will teach you a lot. Do I have any advice?
From my perspective, a very important part of our project were the discussions and confrontations between our team members. It was under their influence that the idea of a project presenting the role of light in human life and the influence of artificial light on nature was born. If I were to advise other participants, from my own experience, cooperation was very valuable. I would like to encourage teamwork on the project and creative discussion.
Confronting different points of view is always an interesting and creative experience. I wish you success!
Julia: It may sound trivial but - follow your heart.
Dominik: In my opinion the best way to create great project for such competition is a clear and innovative idea. Personally what I have learned from participation in contests is thinking about the main idea for the longest period of time; then if you have the main core of concept and design try your best to present that in the best, clear way. If you are not sure - try. You will be able to find your own way; otherwise how will you find out?