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Unilag students make Nigeria shine with ‘Strings of Light’ at International Design Workshop

L-R Abiola Isaac-Olowu, Mauton Whenu, Abimbola Omotunde and Engr. Tokunbo Sangowawa with a display of the Unilag Team project at the worksop
The collaborative research workshop by Aedes Network Campus, Berlin, Germany and Zumtobel Lighting sought to investigate lighting influences in work environments globally, demanding deeply appreciated creativity in solutions from the best designs. 



Prof. Michael Adebamowo


 The rigorous research which lasted about 12 months until first quarter of 2015, brought out the best in the University of Lagos Team comprising Abimbola Omotunde, 23; Abiodun Isaac-Olowu, 21 and Mauton Whenu, 23, who were all final year students of the Masters’ class in Environmental Design. Of course, the team was headed by faculty members; Prof. Michael Adebamowo and Engr. Tokunbo Sangowawa.

The Unilag Team at work


The participating teams that made it to the finals were from the Sofa Design Institute, Manila; University of Technology, Sydney; Technical University Braunschweig, Berlin; Universidad PontificiaBolivariana, Medellin; Swiss Federal Institute of Tech.(ETH) Zurich and the University of Lagos(Unilag)Nigeria.
For the 11-day stretch of work, the Unilag team made Nigeria proud with its presentation titled ‘Strings of Light’ as its input for architectural design solutions at the workshop ‘Lighting the Global Workspace’ project, which earned them credible remarks from the organisers.
The Unilag participants with Engr. Tokunbo Sangowawa(2nd left)


The three-phased project took the students shuttling across different localities in Lagos and among a range of users to appreciate the local work environment with respect to designs for natural lighting solutions.
One of the students, Omotunde said the exercise was ‘a growing up’ experience that equipped
him with all he needed for a life-time practice in architecture.  
“The 11 days to me was a lot of growing up. It was a unique experience of building confidence, team-building, communication among people and relationship-building. 
“I came out with the knowledge and fact that Nigerians are able to achieve anything, considering that within 11 days we came up with a new concept that we developed and it was well appreciated.
“It made me believe that hard work and synergy with team members helps you achieve the best
things possible,” he said. 
As the team progressed in its research, the confidence in their work was strong as the organisers commended their efforts through the phases, even though they did not know what other international participants had in stock.
“We did not know what the other teams were going to present, but remarks from the organisers gave us confidence that we were ready,” he said. “Arriving Germany, we saw they went futuristic but we went very practical, which was a workable solution for our local environment.”
Miss Isaac-Olowusaid the experience for her was inspiring and helped in broadening her knowledge beyond just designs.
“The process of working with people helped us to expand our knowledge-base in terms of the
scientific aspect and not just the architectural aspect of light.
“We were able to know more than just designing a space and putting any kind of light, but being specific and being direct in a way that will benefit the workers in the environment and also the task they have set out to do,” she said.
Isaac-Olowu said the gains of the project were enormous for any upcoming architect and encouraged other students to take advantage of the foundation created by the department for such international exposure.
Whenu appreciates the winning edge of teamwork, which according to him, drove their project to a success in spite of the work demand.
“The work load was much while we were in Germany, but that is why we were a team; we devised a means that helped us to achieve a good work output,” Whenu said.
“We had different aspects of the work mapped out to different persons and each person had his or her own task to do. For example, someone handles the 2D of the design, another person handling a 3-Dimentional aspect and another handling the graphics amongst us, the video and bringing everything together.”
Whenu was happy the team met the project expectation working at par with their international counterparts on all fronts. He wants Nigerians to have confidence that the local architect is able to deliver as much as could be delivered across the world.
“Nigerian architects are at par with the international counterparts no doubt. We go through the same training process and available technology has helped to bridge whatever gap that may have existed before now.”
He said the jury comprised renowned experts in architecture, interior architecture, product design and lighting design drawn from the U.S, Germany, Switzerland and staff of the organisers. 
Prof. Adebamowo used the opportunity to seek industry support for research in architectural designs to boost the building industry, just as Zumtobel Lighting did to advance work efficiency through improved lighting for work environment globally.


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