Lighting education is a worldwide endeavor, and there are centers in the United States and abroad that strive to provide those interested in learning about various aspects of lighting with the proper tools. One such place is the Lighting Academy in Florence, Italy—a lighting training program started in 1998 that is promoted by the Targetti Foundation and organized by Targetti Sankey SpA.
Geared toward professionals, architects, engineers, manufacturers, employees of companies involved in the lighting industry, and anyone with an interest in lighting, the courses at the Lighting Academy are separated into basic and advanced categories. Basic classes provide the fundamentals for a more aware and effective use of light, according to the course information, while advanced classes provide an in-depth study of specific lighting applications. Stella Targetti, director of the Targetti Foundation, notes that while light is a necessity, it also is "an opportunity in which technical knowledge should be together with a deep understanding of the cultural, psychological, and perceptive aspects of architectural spaces. It was the maturation of this awareness that gave rise to Targetti's commitment to promoting the culture of light, art, and architecture."
The teaching of courses at the academy is done in cooperation with the National Institute of Applied Optics, members of lighting design organizations, and professionals from Italian and international lighting companies. "Lighting Academy was one of the first institutes to promote and teach about light and lighting design," says Elettra Bordonaro, director of the academy. Over the past few years, Bordonaro explains that the academy has worked to promote lighting designers through courses and workshops, in addition to helping architects, professionals, and engineers understand how important a good lighting project can be. "We also started a collaboration with universities and graduate schools," she adds. "I believe it is important to develop the culture of light starting with students of universities of architecture, design, and art."
In addition to the basic and advanced courses, workshops are offered at the academy that give participants (typically about 20 people per workshop) specialized training under the guidance of an internationally known lighting designer. For example, in June 2008, French lighting designer Louis Clair taught a five-day workshop titled "Light and Landscape," which looked at communicating hierarchies and how light can influence a landscape. A four-day workshop in December 2008, called "Light and Retail," will provide participants an opportunity to develop a lighting design for a retail application while guided by Paul Gregory, principal of New York-based Focus Lighting. An upcoming workshop with a yet-to-be-determined date will study the interactions between light and stone.
Offerings at the academy typically run eight hours per day and can include classroom lessons, laboratory works, case studies, and workshops. Upon the successful completion of courses, students receive a participation certificate. Additional information about the academy and its course offerings can be found online at lightingacademy.org.