Shaun Fillion, LC MIES, was recently promoted to Program Director of the Master in Professional Studies in Lighting Design program at the New York School of Interior Design. He is an award-winning lighting designer with two decades of lighting design experience and a decade of experience as an educator. His responsibilities include overseeing the growth of the curriculum and adapting constantly to stay current in the Lighting Industry.
What’s the advantage of going back to school to specialize in lighting design?
The field of architectural lighting is growing rapidly. The growth is driven by worldwide efforts towards sustainable spaces, combined with the advancement of LED technology and advanced controls. A graduate from the MPS-L program will enter the field prepared with knowledge of current lighting methods, hands-on experience, and an impressive portfolio.
What’s unique about this program?
The faculty of the MPS-L program are all working professionals with numerous accolades. We have recipients of Lumen and Illumination Awards, board chairs from national committees, and leaders who are senior designers or own their own design firms. The students benefit both from the fresh points of view, and the wide industry network represented by our faculty.
NYSID also offers a state of the art architectural Lighting Lab. Our students explore lighting in full scale, with hands-on experiences in focusing, composing scenes and color tuning. The Lighting Lab is a key tool to build a fundamental understanding of how to work with light as a medium.
How do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
My goal is to serve as MPS-L ambassador, interfacing with top companies in the lighting industry and ensuring that our graduates have the most desired skills in lighting. My professional experience covers a broad spectrum, which I use as a resource when discussing personal development goals with each student. I have served as a designer at a top New York design firm (CBBLD), worked for the executive VP at Sylvania, and currently serve as a Lighting Studio Manager at RAB Lighting. I have also been heavily involved in lighting industry organizations, serving as a board member for New York City's IES section, as well as serving on the IES Progress, Library and Residential lighting committees.
What’s most exciting about educating students on lighting design?
My favorite part is using the light lab in hand-on explorations of light. Architecture and interior design professionals often think of lighting as a tool to reveal surfaces and textures—but in practice lighting has much more power, both in terms of visual composition, and as the medium to modulate and transform a space with lighting effects. The MPS-L program strikes a balance between the art and science of lighting design, yielding graduates who are both informed and intuitive in their approach to lighting.
What type of jobs are available to a graduate of the MPS-L program?
The lighting industry is expanding, with a great variety of roles for a graduate to pursue. Each student will have my personal attention as program director to discuss the type of projects they want to do, the ideal culture the company they'd like to work for, and where they would like to be in five years. We will spend the year reexamining and adjusting these goals, building their portfolio and skills appropriately.
Graduates from the MPS-L Lighting Design program are already working at top firms, including Fisher Marantz Stone, One Lux Studios and Kugler Ning Lighting Design. Other students have brought their expertise in lighting design to interior design firms like Meyer Davis Studio. And we look forward hearing about even more graduates landing in excellent positions.