Kathryn Sweater

Kathryn Sweater

New York, NY, US



Kate Sweater, MS, LC, MIES has been working in the field of lighting for over a decade, with experience in architectural lighting design, fixture design & engineering and lighting research into lighting technologies and human factors, in the United States and Europe.

Kate holds a Master of Science in Architectural Sciences (Lighting) from the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Bachelors of Fine Art (Furniture) from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Some notable previous work: Kate has published papers on many aspects of human vision and lighting. She has created healthy and efficient lighting design plans for a senior center, residences and outdoor spaces and written documents to help owners of low-income housing facility to upgrade to LED lighting. She has designed and created lighting fixtures for the State Capitol building in Albany. She helped to develop a testing protocol for off-grid LED lighting for communities in Africa and India. Kate’s work focuses on design for positive change.

Kate has been a guest critic at Parsons/The New School and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Architecture Department. She is currently teaching in a part-time faculty position at The New School, Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments and is also the Lighting Fellow for ‘Opening the Edge’, a project of the Design Trust for Public Space, in partnership with the New York City Housing Authority; proposed by Jane Greengold.


Dwaal, Brooklyn, NY, US, Owner

Dwaal is a Dutch word meaning, “to wander”. It is also one half of the compound word Dwaallicht, which is the Dutch name for “will of the wisp” – the atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night in English folklore.

We consider each lighting project as an opportunity to learn and grow. Research alongside thoughtful creative design are the basis of our approach. We will try to discover the essence of the space, and find ways to express this through lighting.

We consider first and foremost the people who will be using, occupying or wandering through the spaces. Our designs will advocate for the end-user while considering the broader goals of the project team. Our goal is to design lighting that will make a positive difference.

Jan 2014 - current

Lighting Research Center at RPI, Troy, NY, US, Senior Research Specialist

Research in the field of lighting - from technologies to applications and energy use, from design to health and vision. Research and testing of solid-state lighting systems and technologies, as well as supporting the application of lighting technologies through education and design.

Jun 2009 - Dec 2013

Moooi, Breda, NL, Lighting Product Research Advisor

Contract advisor on lighting product related research and development

Mar 2013 - Jun 2013

Baldinger Architectural Lighting, Astoria, NY, US, Design Engineer

Custom design and engineering of chandeliers and lighting fixutres (built on premises). Used AutoCAD (3D) and Solidworks to fully realize the design and purchasing of fixtures.

Jun 2007 - Jun 2008

Focus Lighting, New York, NY, US, Junior Architectural Lighting Designer

Design, research and mock-ups in order to provide architectural lighting solutions. Lighting design for hospitality, restaurants and residences. Creating lighting plans, layouts, fixture schedules, fixture specifying. Working directly with architects and on the job site.

Jun 2006 - Jun 2007


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, US, Masters, Architectural Sciences (Lighting)

Master's of Science in Lighting. Lighting research focused on human factors in lighting, lighting technologies, policy, and design.

Jun 2009 - Jun 2011

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, RI, US, Bachelors, Furniture

Fine arts degree, with a focus in Furniture.

Sep 1998 - Jun 2002


Robert Bruce Thompson Light Fixture Design Competition, 2nd Place

Second Place Winner and Citation for Technical Achievement, Robert Bruce Thompson Light Fixture Design Competition 2011


Faculty Graduate Recognition Award, 1st Place

From RPI Architecture department for Excellence in the Study of
Architecture and General Academic Achievement by a Lighting Research Graduate


Bailey Scholarship Award Winne, 1st Place

Bailey Scholarship Award Winner 2010: Award for entrepreneurialism in lighting


Areas of Specialization