Gary Thornton of Neolight inspires the next generation of lighting designers using equipment from RCL.
Gary Thornton, Senior Project Designer at Neolight, introduced high school students to the career of lighting design at a recent career convention, in his role as an Ambassador for the STEMNET initiative, using project references from throughout his career, and manufacturer's samples including an RCL DR8 spotlight configured for control via the iDirect app.
STEMNET seeks to raise interest in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through demonstration of the real world applications of these areas of study, experience hands-on STEM activities that motivate, inspire and bring learning and career opportunities to life.
Encouraging the consideration of lighting design at a young age
A motivation for Thornton's involvement with STEMNET was encouraging students to engage with the field of lighting design at an earlier age than what is currently allowed for within the formal education system.
"Most lighting designers I know became lighting designer by accident almost, certainly I didn't even realise it was a profession until I was in it," Thornton explained. "There still isn't really a clear pathway at undergrad level and any notion of lighting design is almost non-existent pre-university."
Thornton enthused when describing the opportunity to engage the wider youth community in the field.
"I want to get students excited about lighting and show them how the STEM subjects are applicable to creative and real-world jobs and applications, and the students I spoke to throughout the event were intrigued by the prospect of architectural lighting design."
Innovative and engaging iDirect platform stimulates interest in lighting control
RCL were delighted to support Thornton's work at the conference by providing a demonstration case of their remote controlled DR8 remote spotlight, set-up for use with their dedicated iPad app, iDirect.
The use of iDirect, an easy-to use application for managing larger lighting scenarios through a simple user interface, was chosen for the engaging and interactive experience in using the platform.
With simple gestures on the iPad, the students were able to control the luminaire in pan and tilt, as well as adjust the intensity of the fixtures, with just a few swipes of the finger.
As Thornton continued, this interactive demonstration of lighting control drew the interest of the teenagers, encouraging them to investigate the further luminaires on show.
"The students were keen to use the iPad, and using iDirect to control the luminaire also stimulated them to look at the other products I had taken to the convention."
Considerations of lighting design and luminaire design discussed
The event proved a fantastic opportunity for increasing the awareness of lighting design, as well as elements of product design that could be discussed through the demonstration of further lighting equipment. Other manufacturers who supported Thornton with the provision of samples included RCL's sister company, Precision Lighting, who provided a number of spotlights, including a Gobo projector, that assisted in the discussion of engineering considerations as a key component of luminaire design.
RCL's Sales Director, Spencer Baxter, highlighted the need for manufacturers to support designers such as Thornton in engaging the wider community in the field of lighting design.
"We were delighted to assist Gary in providing the RCL demo case," said Baxter. "We recognize the benefits of engaging young people in the field of architectural lighting design, and see Gary's work with STEMNET as a further boost to driving awareness of this career pathway. We hope that by providing equipment to this worthwhile cause we helped in inspiring the next generation of lighting designers"
Through the willingness and commitment of Ambassadors like Gary Thornton, the STEMNET initiative seeks to inspire students and young people within the wider community that these key fields of studies offer real career opportunities in later life. With a passionate demonstration of the combination of competence in STEM fields and creativity through his work, Thornton aimed to excite young people's interest and enhanced the enjoyment of study.
Gary Thornton, of Neolight: http://neolightdesign.com/
Remote Controlled Lighting: http://www.rclighting.com/
Precision Lighting: http://www.precisionlighting.co.uk/