Detective Note

Vol.004 – My Life during the Pandemic


Written by Ulrike Brandi
Lighting Designer

In March 2020 I sent out our annual spring card and wrote:

Dear friends,

As the beginning of spring and our spring card coincide with the spread of the Coronavirus Sars-CoV-2, I cannot send our card without comment.
Fortunately, it is spring.
A crisis is also an opportunity for something new, something better. This is my hope and I pay attention to every little sign. Could we create an economic system that is not so mercilessly based on inequality and growth? One that is not so sensitive to taking time off, being healthy, experiencing anxiety, protecting and caring for the needy, and reflection? Instead of returning to our “regular” way-of-life, I wish us all a more compassionate, loving, respectful, and unified attitude towards humanity and nature.

In August 2021 I see:

The world is on fire, as we can see from the satellite images of recent weeks. Floods and storms claim human lives, blackens the earth, driving people all over the world into long term existential distress. The global extinction of species continues unabated, and COVID-19 is also a consequence of increasing ignorance.

In the face of these wide-ranging changes that challenge us, we emphatically desire to make an impact in order to live in a truly sustainable way. Lighting design is a small but influential profession. Our contribution can be impactful.

Light pollution:

  • Let’s minimize and avoid light pollution in all our projects by providing our clients with designs that are enjoyable, safe and humane even as luminance levels worldwide continue to be reduced.
  • Let’s limit the use of indirect lighting outside when possible.  Promote the use of luminaires with cut-off angles under 70° with clients and manufacturers.
  • Let’s turn on lights only when necessary.
  • Let us design with human factors of light always in mind, and in the drawing. Let’s think about the laws of perception, for example glare, to create good visual conditions to see the starry sky.

Environmental pollution:

  • Let us minimize environmental pollution by changing our consumption behaviour.
    After all, requirements for lighting products go far beyond energy efficiency.
    We need luminaires and their accessories to be as completely recyclable as possible, from the LED board to the drivers to the housing and its surface material.  Let’s work towards circular design in lighting.
  • Let’s also educate end users that all LED gadgets, from blinking sneakers to lighting ice cubes to Christmas light strings with their junk LEDs and disposable batteries may be fun but they also produce substantial electronic waste which is not recyclable.

With Love,


Ulrike Brandi
Lighting Designer

Founder and CEO of Ulrike Brandi Licht GmbH and Brandi Institute for Light and Design. She is also a frequent lecturer at international venues and has published four books about lighting, daylighting and lighting for cities.