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SOURCE Awards winner: Katya Yarominak

Katya Yarominak designer

Designer Katya Yarominak won SOURCE Awards recognition in 2011 while she was a student at the University of Oklahoma. Her lighting design concept for a Dolce & Gabbana retail store featured the same evolution, growth and movement that characterize the luxury brand.

The store, located in Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, features an open floor plan designed to accommodate a constant flow of people and easy access. Curvilinear shoe displays and a custom clear glass installation enrich the customer experience, and clear glass windows help attract people to the store.

The Eaton’s Lighting Division team caught up with Yarominak to learn more about the young designer’s career five years after she put the finishing touches on her award-winning Dolce & Gabbana design.

What was it like to win a SOURCE Award? Did it support your career aspirations?

It was exciting to get noticed for my work, particularly since I was able to travel to Las Vegas for the awards. The experience gave me the boost of confidence I needed to push the envelope in lighting design – a move that has paid dividends. The award also enhanced my resume when I was a new graduate. It continues to make a difference today; in fact, just recently, a colleague recommended my work and mentioned that I had won a SOURCE Award. I’ll always be grateful to my lighting teacher, Abimbola Asojo, who told my classmates and me about the competition and encouraged us to enter.

Tell us about your award-winning lighting design.

I remember being excited to work on a retail project for a great brand like Dolce & Gabbana. The awards website made it easy to choose lighting and complete my entry, but at the same time, the competition challenged me to work independently, because I couldn’t enlist the help of consultants.

For the design, I created a chandelier fixture with clear glass bulbs that did not have a light source. Recessed lights in the ceiling illuminated the chandelier. The design was cost-effective and enabled me to feature a large, custom-shaped chandelier as the centerpiece. It was both eye-catching and unexpected, and I think that’s why it resonated with judges.

You were a student winner. Where did you go to school, and what was your degree?

I attended the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture and graduated with a bachelor of science in interior design. I recently passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam after compiling the required experience and working hours.

Do you specialize in a particular aspect of interior design?

For the past three years, I’ve been in the retail industry. I launched my career with the iconic Fossil® brand. That led to an opportunity with a Los Angeles firm that works with fashion icons like Marc Jacobs, Hervé Léger, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, Guess and UGG®. I recently moved to Dallas to start a consulting business; I’m focusing mainly on retail as well as some hospitality and residential projects.

Lighting is absolutely integral to what I do as a designer, though I regularly team up with lighting vendors – particularly on retail jobs. Many clients are surprised to learn how much of an influence lighting can have on a space. Lighting renders objects and spaces in a certain way, and it creates the atmosphere.

What inspired you to pursue an interior design career?

I was born and raised in Belarus. I studied civil engineering in Europe for two years but didn’t enjoy it. When I moved to the United States, I was drawn to interior design because it has hints of architecture, which is related to engineering, but incorporates a stronger creative aspect.

How can lighting transform a space?

In the retail setting, strong lighting design is crucial. If a customer buys what she thinks is a pink purse, yet it looks peach when she walks out of the store with it, she might be disappointed with her experience. Colors need to appear as they would in natural daylight as much as possible. Another example from the retail industry is fitting rooms. In a poorly lit fitting room, a customer is less apt to like what she sees. For instance, lighting placed too close to the mirror will have a negative effect.

What makes a lighting design special?

A special lighting design requires a lot of technical knowledge. There are so many options out there that I’ve found it extremely helpful in my career to team up with lighting consultants or lighting sales reps. These experts can help determine details such as how many lights are needed per bay of shelves. Too many people simply order their lights, have them installed and hope they look great.

How has the design industry changed since you launched your career?

I’m seeing a huge shift toward LEDs. This trend began around six years ago, but it’s in full force now. LEDs are energy-efficient, last a long time and provide the best color rendering index. There’s also been a big movement toward brass and copper finishes as well as chandeliers and exposed bulb lamps.

Winning a SOURCE Award was the beginning of something great for me. It’s a wonderful time to be an interior designer, and I love thinking about how lighting plays into all of my designs.


The SOURCE Awards competition, established in 1977, focuses on furthering the understanding, knowledge and function of lighting as a primary element in design. Designed to recognize and honor the bright future of the lighting design industry, the awards are part of Eaton’s commitment to building the pipeline of lighting design talent.

The SOURCE Awards are open to students who use Eaton’s lighting fixtures and controls products in a conceptual interior or exterior lighting design. University students studying architecture, design, engineering or related disciplines are invited to enter. Enter Now

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