Much More Than an Award

by | Jun 30, 2023 | News


Catching up with Season 2 of the Silhouette Awards

It’s time to check in on one of the most unique initiatives in the industry, the Silhouette Awards.  Applications for season 2 of the awards closed in mid-December of 2022, and the winners and their mentor pairings were announced live on March 1st. Now, in mid-June, the mentors and mentees are over halfway into their journeys. The program has some exciting things planned for the remaining months of season 2, including several online events hosted by the supporting partners of the Silhouette Awards network, giving the opportunity to all mentors and mentees to be inspired, connect, and support each other further. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to join and participate by following the Silhouette Awards on social media.

In case you are not familiar with the program, the Silhouette Awards was founded in 2021 by Eve Gaut of Parrot PR and Marketing and Katia Kolovea of Archifos. Eve and Katia, along with Senior Marketing Manager Charlotte Jenkins, set out to “shine a light on emerging talent within the lighting industry.” 

Applicants are asked to submit a 3-minute video discussing themselves, their mentorship goals, and another passion outside the lighting industry. From the field of applicants, the top 20 applicants are selected as winners. Based on their mentorship goals, they are then paired with an established lighting industry professional with whom they best fit, and the pair embark on a 6-month mentorship journey. As noted in the August 2022 issue of designing lighting (dl), this 6-month mentorship is typically just the beginning. Many of the mentor-mentee pairs from season 1 had plans to continue their relationship indefinitely. 

For the first season, Eve and Katia reached out to industry professionals to see if they would be willing to serve as mentors. Everyone that they approached happily agreed to participate.  Season 2 was a different story. This time around, interested mentors approached them asking to be a part of the program. The Silhouette Awards team even noted they have already had inquiries from potential mentors for season 3. The open call for Mentors for season 3 will take place in July, and the team encourages everyone who is interested to keep an eye on the announcements on social media and the program’s website.

Just like in season 1, the Silhouette Awards program provides some initial guidance to the pairings. But, Eve explained, “There is a lot of room to carve your own journey.” They don’t want to suffocate these mentor/mentee relationships by providing too many rules and too much structure. They pride themselves on supporting, rather than dictating, the journey.

The big adjustment made to the program this season was the removal of the age limitation for applicants. In season 2, applications were open to anyone with fewer than 8 years of experience in the industry. As noted in the Winners’ Announcement, the applicants had a diverse range of experience:

  • 9% were recent graduates/students.
  • 2% had 1-2 years of experience.
  • 5% had 3-5 years of experience.
  • 4% had 6+ years of experience.

If you missed the Winners’ Announcement at the beginning of March, here are the mentor-mentee pairs for season 2:

  • Ines Bartl, mentored by Amardeep M. Dugar
  • Jessica Keates, mentored by Arianna Ghezzi
  • Anastasia Angeli, mentored by Barbara Horton
  • Jessica Smith, mentored by Beata Denton
  • Danai Lytra, mentored by Claudia Paz
  • Consuelo Emiliana Miranda Barroso, mentored by Diana Galic
  • Annabelle Hill, mentored by Fay Greenhalgh
  • Dane Amilawangi, mentored by Florence Lam
  • Swillow Lee, mentored by Gary Thornton
  • Walesca Zanonato, mentored by Kristina Allison
  • Chérine Talge, mentored by Maida Hot
  • Cristina Antonieta Martinez Bergonje, mentored by Martin Klaasen
  • Gemma Alcalá Jurado, mentored by Michael Callanchini
  • Swapnali Bhadale, mentored by Nikita Agrawal
  • Alperen Ekici, mentored by Olga Tuzova
  • Valeria Coghi Martinez, mentored by Paul Traynor
  • Massimiliano Moro, mentored by Siddharth Mathur
  • Olga Rybkina, mentored by Volker von Kardorff
  • Wenyi Kong, mentored by Waleed Fakousa
  • Farahbee Rahman, mentored by Yah Li Toh

In addition, the Silhouette Awards partnered with the LIT Lighting Design Awards this season to provide mentorships for two award winners. The Emerging Lighting Product Designer of the Year, Elsa Gil Benito, was paired with mentor David Gilbey, and the Emerging Lighting Designer of the Year, Owen Fernando Patia, was paired with mentor Marci Song. Both Marci and David served as mentors for season 1 and bring lighting significant experience, as well as familiarity with the program, to the table for their mentorship journeys.

With applicants from 26 different countries, the Silhouette Awards has once again done a fantastic job connecting lighting professionals from around the globe. The community continues to grow, and Eve and Katia mentioned that they hope winning mentees will eventually serve as mentors for future Silhouette Awards winners. 

The Silhouette Awards program continues to grow thanks to the support of leading brands of the lighting industry, supporting the young talents of the industry and the vision and mission of the Silhouette Awards program. The sponsors of this year are divided into two groups. The core sponsors – Formalighting, GVA lighting, LEDflex and Vode Lighting – are contributing to some of the selected mentorship journeys. The light sponsors – Digidot technologies, LED Luks and Sylvania – are contributing to the overall planning of the program.

Be on the lookout for an in-depth recap of season 2 in the October 2023 issue of designing lighting (dl). In the meantime, we wish the mentors and mentees continued success and look forward to learning how their journeys evolve.