LSU’s Jun Zou spent summer 2017 learning about contemporary lighting design at Tillotson Design Associates in New York City.
“It was an excellent experience in a real-world lighting design firm,” said Zou, associate professor in the LSU School of Interior Design. “I experienced the whole spectrum of lighting design, from site work and construction drawings to client visits, meetings with manufacturers, and office meetings.”
Tillotson Design Associates is owned by Suzan Tillotson, who received her degree in interior design from LSU in 1981. Suzan has won numerous awards for her work, which includes the lighting design for Lincoln Center Plazas, the School of American Ballet, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wright restaurant at the Guggenheim, and the East River Waterfront in New York. Her firm also worked on the Seattle Central Public Library, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Israel Museum, and retail spaces for Diane Von Furstenburg, PRADA, and Vera Wang.
Zou said she got to work with a number of high-profile clients over the summer, including Nike, the Museum of Modern Art, and several high-end residential and institutional office projects.
“It was interesting to see how 99.9 percent of the lighting for commercial projects—and much of the residential projects—use the most up-to-date LED lighting fixtures,” said Zou. “I got to see the implementation of technologies I’ve only read about.”
While in New York, she took advantage of all the city had to offer, visiting museums and seeking out installations by some of the world’s most reputable lighting artists. She also met with the faculty of Parson’s MFA lighting design program. She said parts of their curriculum could inform the growth of LSU’s interior design program.
Zou’s research interests are in Eastern and Western architectural thinking, their aesthetics, technologies, and the inherited ecological philosophies. She works on digital technologies in architectural/interior design practice with an emphasis on the study of architectural and interior lighting.
“It’s such a rapidly evolving field,” stressed Zou, “so it’s important to stay up to date with new lighting fixtures and technologies.”
Zou brings this fresh perspective back to the classroom, where students design and create their own lighting fixtures in her lighting design studio.
LSU’s third-year interior design students will visit Tillotson Design Associates this fall on their field trip to New York City. TDA’s doors are always open to LSU students and faculty. “We show them the studio, the exciting projects, and they get an up-close look at a smaller, niche firm,” stated Tillotson.