Lead with Light on Sept 9th

Responding to Communities in Need

September 9, 2021
12PM – 1:30PM EST
  Ticket proceeds and donations will benefit the Light Reach program: Light for Lebanon. Help us meet our fundraising goal of $2,500!
Is light a basic human right? How does access to artificial light impact a community? What responsibility does the architectural lighting industry have to help communities facing darkness? How can we use light to engage communities? Our four panelists will provide an overview of their initiatives and discuss confronting these questions to identify a community’s lighting needs. They’ll dive into the challenges of taking action to plan and build a project, discussing how to meet a community’s needs first, and still meet municipal codes, starting a project when there is no RFP, and planning a project without available electricity.

Join us to learn how to Lead with Light and support Light for Lebanon.

Francesca Bastianini (Principal, Sighte Studio)
Manal Kahale (Founder, Light for Lebanon)
Leela Shanker (Founder, Flint Collective NYC and Lighting Designer, Borealis Lighting Studio)
Nathalie Rozot (Founder, PhoscopeLight Reach)

Sam Koerbel (Founder, Lytei)
Light Reach is a global multi-program solar lighting initiative by lighting think-tank PhoScope designed to leapfrog over utility grids to fight light poverty and use light to boost the social, cultural, and economic well-being of underserved communities worldwide. Light Reach Programs use a sustainable and educational project model to bring light for work and play for all ages, and share knowledge about light for practical and artistic applications indoors and outdoors.

On August 4, 2020, the largest non-nuclear explosion in history tore through Beirut, destroying homes, businesses and entire neighborhoods in this beautiful metropolis. The blast killed over 180 people, injured 7,500 and left 300,000 homeless. An already shaky power grid sustained significant damage plunging large swaths of the city into darkness after sunset. Now the power is back where the electrical lines are working, but there is still a huge gap between supply and demand. An informal and highly profitable diesel-generator network takes over during the daily blackouts, but many cannot afford to plug in and therefore do not have enough light for their daily tasks, safety and well-being.

Light Reach’s
solar lighting model immediately and sustainably alleviates light poverty both indoors and outdoors. As intractable as the current situation appears, it also presents an opportunity to build back better. Lebanon burns imported fuel (mostly highly polluting diesel) to generate electricity — through Light for Lebanon we have a better way to quickly and sustainably re-illuminate Beirut. We are also distributing portable lights to the deaf and hard of hearing, who suffer doubly because they cannot communicate in the dark.


Francesca Bastianini  (she/her):
Francesca is an Architectural Lighting Designer based in Brooklyn, and one of the Founding Principals of Sighte Studio. The Studio has ongoing research focused on the nighttime lighting conditions of the Gowanus neighborhood and analyzing the impacts of rezoning and development. She is currently a fellow with the Van Alen Institutes Gowanus Neighborhood Design Fellowship, partnered with Dark Matter University. In addition to her work on lighting projects and research, Francesca is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons The New School, where she teaches lighting in the MFA program. The Venezuelan born designer has too many plants as she tries to recreate the tropics in her Brooklyn apt. 

Manal Kahale 
Raised in Lebanon, Manal studied Landscape Architecture at the American University of Beirut and holds a master’s degree in Lighting Design from Parsons in NYC. She worked in the USA for four years before returning to Lebanon to try and bridge both worlds through lighting. However, her return to her home country was more difficult than anticipated with the unfolding economic crisis as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and finally on the 4th of August 2020, the biggest non-nuclear explosion ever recorded. This catastrophe unlocked feelings of communal support triggered by the complete absence of any relief efforts on the part of the Lebanese government. As a result, Manal decided to use her knowledge and experience to partake in relief efforts both as an active citizen and a lighting designer by founding Light for Lebanon.

Nathalie Rozot
Nathalie Rozot, MIES and educator member of the IALD, is a New York-based phototect and the founder of PhoScope, think tank on light. She received a 2020 WIL Award for the global solar lighting initiative Light Reach; awards from the IESNA; grants from the City of Paris, the NYSCA, NYSERDA and Parsons; fellowships from the Graham Foundation for Architecture, the MacDowell Colony and NYFA; and sponsorships from NYFA and the Van Alen Institute. She has taught lighting in several Masters programs, published and lectured globally on social and critical issues in lighting, and served internationally as an academic and professional juror.

Leela Shanker
Leela Shanker is Founder of the Flint Collective NYC, a non-profit art and design collective that works with light to enhance the experience of public space in New York. The Collective’s work was recently recognized with a 2021 Lumen Award Special Citation for Lighting as a Tool for Social Impact. With a Master of Architecture (Hons) and Master of Fine Arts Lighting Design from Parsons School of Design, Shanker supported design initiatives with WeWork’s in-house global lighting team and is now a lighting designer with Borealis Lighting Studio, in-house at consulting engineering firm, BR+A.

Moderator: Sam Koerbel
Sam Koerbel is the founder of Lytei and a cheerleader for lighting. His energy and excitement echo that of his alma mater, The University of Colorado, where he won two Division 1 national championships as CHIP the mascot. Graduating with an architectural engineering degree focused on the art and science of light, he also has a decade of experience in spec sales. His experience as a creative director and professional photographer inspires him to innovate and imagine. Each day he connects with thousands of lighting enthusiasts who learn on-demand with Lytei, a captivating digital hub that empowers light ideas.

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