Lighting Designer

Becca Foster

Becca’s introduction to lighting design came in the late 1970s while designing and building her home in Sonoma County. A Math major with a minor in Chemistry, she was disappointed with the lack of lighting materials and professional residential lighting services available at the time and it led her to explore lighting design classes at The San Francisco Academy of Art as part of a BFA in Interior Design.

Innovative lighting design at that time was primarily oriented towards theatrical lighting but Becca's interests lay in joining the newly emerging architectural lighting design industry. After graduation she worked in a prominent interior design firm, an architectural firm specializing in hospitality, then at a leading west coast lighting design firm. In 1987, Becca and her business partners opened the The Lighting Studio in Berkeley, California, which combined consulting services with a light lab and show room with the goal of helping other professionals understand the effect of lighting on architecture.

This impulse to innovate and educate continues to inform Becca's work today: it has allowed her to embrace and understand new technology, particularly energy efficient technology, and to encourage her clients to do the same. Although she cherishes the alone time characteristic of the creative process, she also enjoys working as part of a design team and considers she has been successful when the lighting element of a project has been seamlessly integrated into the architecture, interior or landscape design.

Asked what continues to keep her interested in her work she says “it's always problem solving” and tells the story of a lighting project she did for a school for autistic children, A Better Chance School (ABC School). One student explained to her that a direct source of light “was like an intrusion into his mind” - she responded by designing a lighting system for the school incorporating mostly indirect light sources.

This is the hallmark of Becca's work: an interest in and ability to understand how a space will be used and by whom. It is with these questions that she starts all her projects and then applies her experience, her skill and her resources to create atmosphere and effect with her lighting designs that effectively interprets and communicates her clients' hopes and wishes.