Taylor Maurer Summer Intern Interview

Taylor M_5579-v2-web

Lighting Design Intern, Summer 2016

In lieu of a bio, we ask our interns questions about their experience at Visual Terrain. Here are Taylor’s responses:

Q: How was this experience different from your previous work experience?
The core of the work at VTI is pre-construction, which is the foundation (sometimes, quite literally) for my previous work experience. I’m accustomed to operating and maintaining venues, facades, and productions, once the design team steps out of the space. It has been a challenge to conceptualize a fantastic product when I can only look at a background, but the work done at VTI has inspired me to really connect the level of detail put forth in the design stages with the day-to-day, hands-on efforts required to maintain the project and design intent after construction is complete. 

Q: What was your favorite part about Visual Terrain, Inc.?
Other than challenging my current perspective on themed entertainment, architecture, and the arts, VTI is a family of INSANELY talented individuals. It has been really great to connect with them, understand their design choices, and share stories over really tasty meals. (The VTI team loves to eat, and there are some really great restaurants in the area I would not know about otherwise.) The office is also great about their pop culture references, and nothing gets past the team whether we are discussing Pokémon GO, or Star Wars. I am a huge fan of Star Wars, so I felt right at home bringing my plush Chewbacca and Yoda in to live on my desk. It has been so great to work with a team of honest and hardworking individuals connected by a mutual love of lighting and our desire to pursue great work. 

Q: What did you hope you would learn most from your time at VTI?
My first lighting love in this world was theme park design, so I came to VTI with a desire to know how theme park designs develop from rudimentary stages to the final focus and opening. Theme parks are a perfect blend of architecture and live entertainment (architainment, anyone?), and VTI’s clientele brings a wide variety of both, which exposed me to everything all at once.

Q: Did your time with Visual Terrain affect your career or academic plans in any way?
My time at VTI has drastically altered the way I approach lighting in general. For instance, I find myself now thinking of the manufacturer of the custom pendant over my table at a restaurant instead of paying attention to what my parents are saying (sorry Mom and Dad, but thank you for picking up the tab!) I find myself attempting to understand the design choices behind designs in homes, theaters, theme parks and restaurants to gain a better understanding of how structural and situational anomalies can alter the design. Working at VTI gave me a newfound respect for the original design, and I now approach all of my work steadfast in upholding the designer’s intent for the lighting in the space. My time at VTI has only further inspired my long term career goals because VTI has set an expectation (a very high one) for excellence in lighting, which I know I will carry throughout my life and will pursue in all I do. 

Q: How much was the work you did/experience you had at Visual Terrain different from what you expected before you started?
I do not think words can accurately describe the contrast between my original expectations and reality. The “intern” title comes with a certain stigma, and VTI does not live to typicalities in this regard. Even though I was a shiny cog in a well-oiled machine, I was tossed into projects, jumping in at various stages that I really did not understand to help pick up pieces and fill gaps where necessary. I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed at times, but the team at VTI would walk me through the process again while I took detailed notes. Needless to say, entirely not what I expected in the best way! It was incredibly refreshing to work with a team that really cared about my understanding of the project process. 

Q: Any other comments?
I have learned so much in such a short period of time, and its been an honor to work with the team. Also, VTI really knows how to celebrate a birthday!