Sculpting with light

Space, light, the senses, technology and pure imagination drive Alisa Sheinson’s large-scale multi-media sculpture.

Space, light, the senses, technology and pure imagination drive Alisa Sheinson’s large-scale multi-media sculpture (photo credit: ALISA SHEINSON)
Space, light, the senses, technology and pure imagination drive Alisa Sheinson’s large-scale multi-media sculpture
(photo credit: ALISA SHEINSON)
Light sculptor Alisa Sheinson graduated in Visual Communication Design from the Bezalel Academy of Art and went on to establish a leading design studio, a one-stop-shop for design and branding. The studio specializes in creating identity and uniqueness in public spaces and urban areas such as shopping malls, sport stadiums, hospitals, lobbies and terminals.
“In our interior design,” Sheinson explains, “we actually sculpt the inner space of a building, while taking care of its ingredients and bringing the visitor into a space he has never experienced before. This is how we empower the building.”
Painting, going to the beach and swimming, meeting friends and listening to music are designer Alisa Sheinson’s ways of “getting myself into a calm state,” she tells The Jerusalem Post, although she says, “most of the time I am working.”
Sheinson, married to Eli and mother of three women in their 20s, lives in Tel Aviv and works from her busy studio in Herzliya. She is a multi-discipline designer who sculpts in light.
You have worked in Israel and abroad. Where did you most enjoy working? For me, working abroad is like being in the Matrix. In every country I have worked in, I enjoyed the urban landscape and enjoyed meeting people from other cultures and traditions. Their surroundings enriched and inspired me. Designing buildings in Prague gave me peace.
The urban accessibility there was incredible. In Moscow, I was exposed to impressive social and political powers. There I designed the interior and exterior of a building in a language that created a modern interpretation of the Kremlin.
Tell us about our work in Macau.
Macau in Hong Kong is where I designed and branded an urban space called the Venetian. There I learned how the Chinese behave, and translated that into my design.
I planned the street language of the huge center, spread over about 1 million sq. m. It included the design of some 500 shops, and a way-finding system for the huge center. The project was about bringing Venice to the east, and there, where cultures meet, I learned a lot. The mission was to enable the finding of one’s own way within the space, to simplify the space visually and conceptually. For example, the 17 street names were in Italian, and for the Chinese the language is difficult to pronounce and to remember. I designed symbols for the places at the mall, used graphic icons which combine Venice with the local language. Being a designer means you have to deal with many cultures, and not only with one client.
What aspect of your work do you particularly enjoy? I like to think differently from others.
Since I began with graphics and have ended up in interiors, my understanding is different. This field contains all my abilities. Designing a lobby for me is a sculptural experience which combines programmatic planning with treating the space in all its dimensions, including the dimension of light.
What is your design method? Interior design starts from the outside and enters the inside.
I use the limits of the building to create special elements that give the space its uniqueness and will “speak” in the building’s language.
I “dress” the building by using a three-dimensional fantasy, while taking into account the way the visitor will feel on entering the building. I am trying to create an understanding of the building, meaning that I take into consideration the relationship between the building and its use.
Luckily, I have a very good visual memory, and when I see a plan I can remember it for years. However, more importantly, I can see its weaknesses. We actually talk more in terms of correct-and-functional than of pretty-or-not-pretty design.
What is your main project at the moment? I am at a peak in my career, designing and developing a series of light sculptures, which will be ready in the coming weeks.
The passageway between spaces touches me, the combination and the connection between the sculpture and its shades, and the way they affect their surroundings – ceiling, floor and walls. It creates a wonderful spatial experience. The light is a sensual dimension for me, and I enjoy transferring media and story. The light receives a language that penetrates everywhere; the sculpture resembles the imaginary lines that connect the stars.
It is like an old memory or a sound. The light transfers feeling and creates associations, like sea waves breaking against the wall, or a drop of water falling heavily on to the floor. The sculpture’s shape is a translation of the brain’s structure – the aluminum lines spread to all sides in irregular shapes and entwine themselves in each other, like the nerves of the brain.
You refer to a series of sculptural lights? Indeed, we have been working on this project for over a year, and happily we have already started receiving reservations [for the exhibition] from abroad. We combine sculpture, light and multimedia in a way that has never been done before. When I started just dreaming about the series, I imagined an innovative design, sensually inspiring, but still the result manages to surprise even me. There are many ways to combine design and technology, and a lot of ways to develop it in the future.
Where do these objects fit in? They are especially good for large spaces, public buildings, hotels and museums. The light sculptures are designed with basic and modular elements that allow modification to almost every space, in both size and material.
What are your ambitions for the future? To fly! My goal is to keep developing and designing this series. I have no brakes, and I see many steps ahead. I already imagine the continuation of the series and its Light sculptue by Alisa Sheinson influence on buildings all over the world.