Seattle City (spot)Light: Shaun Darragh

Shaun Darragh is no stranger to the utility’s Lighting Design Lab (LDL). In 2001, he joined LDL as a Lighting Specialist where he taught courses and provided consultation for four years. Shaun recently returned to the lab where he’s served as a Senior Lighting Specialist the past six months. “I provide consultation to clients ranging from utility and City of Seattle folks to commercial customers,” Shaun explained. “I also develop educational programming for the lab.”

Originally a mechanical engineering student, Shaun shifted gears while at the University of Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in communications with a focus on film and video production. He also achieved a minor in theatrical design. “When I was in school there weren’t many programs dedicated to architectural design so I describe myself as largely self-taught with the help of many mentors,” Shaun said. “One of my mentors was a fellow named Bill Lam, one of the godfathers of architectural lighting design. I was very lucky to have him as a personal mentor.”

Shaun lives in Meadowbrook with his wife Rachelle and their two cats. In this week’s (spot)Light, Shaun talks about his hobbies and his role at LDL.

Shaun at Stevens Pass

“I moved to Seattle in 1994. It has better mountains than the east coast which is where I grew up. I’m a skier. It’s a lifelong passion. This will be my 49th ski season. Locally, I ski Steven’s Pass, but the best place I’ve ever skied is St. Anton in Austria. It’s where Hannes Schneider more or less invented the parallel turn.   His son Herbert participated in my race league when I was a kid. I’m also an avid bicyclist and a scuba diver. My wife is a big diver and she’s the one who got me into it. I dive locally near Redondo Beach, but have also traveled to warmer spots like Honduras and Hawaii. When I’m not doing these activities, I’m usually at home working in my woodshop. I like to build furniture.”

“I’ve been a professional lighting designer for nearly 30 years, including 25 years as an architectural lighting designer. I was originally a theatre designer, but I got into architectural design after a mentor suggested it to me. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time that architectural lighting was designed, but since then it’s been my primary focus.”

“What I enjoy about lighting is that I can directly affect people’s engagement with architecture and the built environment. Light integrates the visual environment. What I specifically love about this job is that it allows me to give back to the design and construction community in teaching what I’ve learned over the years while promoting sustainability. I think it’s incredible that I get to help the next generation of designers, engineers and contractors.”

“At the lab, we teach in the entirety of the Bonneville Power Association service territory. I like City Light in particular because of the utility’s deep interest in sustainability, the ongoing commitment to the industry and the market transformation that we’re all engaged in. It’s been great to be back.”