“When my niece was very young, she underwent a number of liver transplants until the age of eight. Observing (and experiencing with) the family, going in and out of this hospital, highly influenced my interest in Healthcare. Though the hospital itself was lovely, the family still dreaded going. I knew I wasn’t pursuing the medical field as a physician, but I could help design and create beautiful medical spaces for patients and families, like mine.” – Lauren Schwade
Meet Lauren Schwade – Mazzetti’s newest Senior Lighting Designer, with a 12+ year career, heavily focused in healthcare lighting design. Lauren’s previous employers include GWA Lighting, Francis Cauffman Architects, SBLD Studio, and most recently, Visa Lighting. During her four-year tenure with Visa Lighting, she developed a greater understanding of both the manufacturing and sales of lighting products. She was able to act as the liaison, educator, and advocate for other like-minded designers to specify and create quality healthcare lighting fixtures. Although her projects span several industries including, commercial, hospitality, retail, education, exterior façade and landscape lighting, her true focus and passion has always been in healthcare lighting and design.
Lauren will work closely with Mazzetti Senior Lighting Designer, Brennan Schumacher, combining passions for art, healing, and sustainable environments. Lauren will be based remotely in Milwaukee, WI.
Discover more about Lauren from our introductory interview…
What are you most excited about it, coming to Mazzetti?
I’m excited to get back to design and truly focus in healthcare. I’m particularly excited about coupling this with Brennan’s sustainability focus. Plus, I’m definitely excited to embrace and become immersed in the Mazzetti culture – I’ve already met so many awesome, genuine people.
What is one of your favorite and or most proud projects? Why?
Cooper Cancer Center in Camden, NY – the first substantial healthcare project that I managed and designed. (I also had the pleasure of working with some of my college colleagues on this project, which no doubt, adds to my fond memories.)
While at Visa Lighting (as the Healthcare Market Development Manager), I frequently worked with the Institute of Patient Center Design. We donated fixtures for a pediatric oncology suite that was part of a mock-up process. A mother of a family, part of the project, spoke to me about nurses using flashlights around their neck instead of turning on lights in a room and calling them “night ninjas”. The level of appreciation she had for them, while she was laying next to her sick child in a dark room who needed to sleep…well, I’ll never forget that.
What are your concerns about the future? Excitement for the future?
I worry that tunable lighting and changing effects of people’s circadian rhythm will be in the wrong hands until end users are fully educated on new lighting tools.
However, I am excited that we have tools like tunable lighting that CAN affect and help people’s circadian rhythm and health. We have the ability to heal and prevent disease from occurring (or spreading) WITH LIGHT. Very exciting!
Tell us about your life outside of work—family, activities, etc.?
When I’m not nerding out about lighting I spend my time being a full time mommy to our “new” daughter, Audrey Hayden. Our slightly older dog Jules gets jealous of all the attention so it’s been a balance between the two. Speaking of balance, I do try to squeeze in time for yoga too.
My husband is a lighting product designer, with an industrial design background. In our free time (I think I remember those days) we both work on house projects and play pick-up volleyball games. I enjoy painting on the side. Last year I had my first gallery showing and actually sold two pieces. I would also consider us to be “foodies”, particularly favoring a good brunch with a Bloody Mary! (I think it’s a Milwaukee thing.) I’m excited for all the adventures our little family has to come!
If you could change one thing to make our world a little more sustainable, what would it be?
Utilizing the tools we already have around us. We don’t necessarily need artificial tunable lighting to balance our circadian rhythm. What we need, is daylight! We just need to find more ways to harness it for its healing properties and have the electric lighting only there as support.