Being an admirer of minimalism in design, Sweden was an obvious choice for Bojana
Bojana is studying the master's programme in Architectural Lighting Design at KTH. Coming from Belgrade, Serbia, Bojana has observed that Swedes like to talk about the weather and sit in the sun at any time.
What made you decide to start studying at KTH?
While finishing studies in Interior Architecture in my hometown of Belgrade, I developed an interest in projects dealing with light in architecture and luminaire design. Coming from a small country, any academic advancement in this area was impossible there. However, I soon found out about this programme that was unique within the whole of Europe. Furthermore, being an admirer of minimalism in design, Sweden was an obvious choice when continuing my education.
How did you decide which programme to choose?
There were not many doubts while deciding where I should continue my education, since programmes in the field of lighting design are still extremely rare and quite unique. I studied the curriculum and was very pleased to find out there is a great balance between lectures and practical work.
What do you see as the most significant aspects of your programme?
While giving a solid theoretical base, courses I attended are very interactive and practical at the same time, preparing students to easily integrate into the professional world. One of the very important elements of the programme is group work, and the opportunity to cooperate with classmates who come from a wide variety of cultural and professional backgrounds. These aspects can influence each project a lot, and it is valuable to try and learn as much as possible from team members. Often classmates’ feedback can be as helpful as tutors. At the same time, lecturers come from many fields of study and professions, which gives us insight into different aspects of lighting design and helps approach the same problem from several points of view. However, if I had to point out a single quality of the course, it would be the fun students have while working on the projects. They offer a hands-on approach and every new task is different. Each one gives so many opportunities to learn new things, while at times we feel just like children playing and experimenting with materials, colours, shapes and forms.
How do studies here at KTH differ in comparison to your previous experience?
Studies at KTH are far better structured than my previous studies, and offer a good insight into each topic in a relatively short time. Lecturers are professionals from different fields of work and come from many parts of the world. Project work is dynamic, and it is easy to get in touch with tutors and receive feedback if necessary. Many opportunities to present each project in front of classmates and learn about their ideas are also valuable and important parts of the programme.
What are your impressions of Stockholm?
So far, I have enjoyed living in Stockholm quite a lot, and it is very similar to what I expected. It is a wonderful city with interesting architecture, quite different from my hometown. There are many opportunities to fill in the free time and see interesting things. While a bit grumpy during the winter and far more enthusiastic over summer, inhabitants are very friendly and prepared to help. They seem to like to talk about the weather and sit in the sun at any time.
Do you have a place in the city where you enjoy spending time?
I like to spend my free time in galleries and museums, since in Stockholm there is quite a lot to see, no matter what your preferences are. Collections change often, and there are even opportunities to visit some of them for free during certain hours. They are worth research for sure. For anyone who is interested in lighting design apart from art, it is a nice idea to visit Fotografiska, the museum of photography. Both the collections and the amazing way they are exhibited are worth seeing even several times. The building itself is very interesting and has a convenient location not far from the hub of Slussen, which provides an amazing view of the Old Town across the sea. It's a great opportunity to combine a nice walk with interesting art experience.
Could you describe a regular day as a student at KTH?
Architectural Lighting Design programme is quite rich with activities, so there is not too much free time in our timetables. However, the days are hardly the same, and each module brings some new activities. We mostly have lectures from 9 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, but often there is still time for project work. Rarely do we need to stay several more hours at school to prepare the tasks. Evenings are mostly spent relaxing with friends and classmates. However, when dealing with light, life can be quite unpredictable since some workshops can happen only late in the evenings, as well as various study visits.
What do you want to do after you have received your degree here at KTH?
I believe I should build my professional career step by step, and very patiently, so the next step would be to find an internship in Stockholm and try to apply all the things I have learned in practice. Once I find myself in the office, I might have some new ideas and ambitions. At the moment I would be happy to work as a lighting designer in an internationally known design studio in several years’ time. I am mostly interested in indoor lighting, so I am hoping I can advance in that direction.
Is there any advice you would like to give others that will study at KTH in the future?
It is important to try and find a fun element in whatever you do because that makes it easy to enjoy studies and make the most out of the programme.