1) How has your career evolved since graduating at KLC?
During the course at KLC I became more aware of the power of light on our wellbeing and how it influences our perception of space and materials. Since graduating at the end of 2011, I decided to focus my career on lighting design and joined the design team at John Cullen Lighting, a pioneer in residential lighting in the UK. I was fortunate to work with design directors Lucy Martin and Sally Storey, who inspired me with their extraordinary knowledge and passion.
After almost three years in the company I took an opportunity to join EQ2 Light, a commercial lighting practice in central London, and gained experience in developing lighting concepts and designing and managing larger commercial projects, where attention to detail is key to achieve the design intent. I worked in several high-end projects, including office buildings in central London as well as hospitality projects in Europe and the Caribbean, which are lots of fun but also very challenging due to technical regulations.
Ultimately, I set up on my own in August last year and have enjoyed working directly with clients and designers, focusing on delivering high-quality and pleasant lighting to projects. But due to my formation at KLC, clients have asked me to assist with the interior design from time to time allowing me to approach spacial planning and choosing materials with a lighting scheme already in mind.
2) What are your study/career highlights that you value most?
The environment at KLC is very creative but also professional, which prepared me with the necessary interpersonal skills to communicate and apply my design ideas. I like to see myself as a collaborative person and my highlights during school and after were projects that required a greater exchange of ideas. The group project at school was very challenging but to me it was also the most enjoyable exactly because it demanded openness and constant trading between me and my classmates. A couple of hotel projects, one in Serbia and another in in Panama, were also very challenging but also enjoyable because of the collaborative energy they required, with different design teams scattered around the world.
3) Where do you get your project and career inspiration from?
As you would expect my main inspiration is light itself, how it transforms a space, how it shows materials and colours and how it makes us feel. For instance, a warm light temperature can make a space more welcoming and people more relaxed, while a cooler light temperature can make a space feel crispier and people more vibrant. The transformative power that light has on other forms of design and our mood is, to me, extraordinary. Being able to apply that power is an exciting tool for any designer.
4) What has been your most enjoyable project to date and why?
It is difficult to pick one single project, all are somehow special. At John Cullen, perhaps the most interesting was the lighting for the London family home of an architect which I was involved at the initial stages. The house’s design was very different but the client was open to our ideas for the lighting, which highlighted the architectural forms and textures but also helped the overall mood feel very homely.
Projects at EQ2 were technically very challenging but perhaps the most interesting is a resort in Panama which is currently being built. The lighting design had to comply with all the standard environmental and safety regulations as well as complement the beautiful interiors, architecture and landscape design. However, as the resort is being built in an area of conservation, it also required light wave lengths that do not disturb marine life and we carried out a whole research to find the most appropriate LED products.
Since going solo the projects have been smaller, but very special to me because of how close I have been working with my clients and their interior designers. My first gym project was super challenging because I was also asked to help design the interiors - as well as doing the lighting - and both the budget and timeline to deliver the project (8 weeks from concept to finish!) were limited. But in the end the gym opened as planned and the feedback I received from the client - and his clients - has always been very enthusiastic when I pop by for a work out.
5) What do you hope to achieve in the future/aspirations for the future?
I hope to keep learning and applying new knowledge and expertise through lighting and design. I firmly believe design is not just a visual thing, it is a thought process and its results have a deeper effect on people. Both lighting and other forms of design can affect positively how people feel and behave. They have a transformative power that can enhance the perception of the world around us and from a single object such as a light fixture, to the lighting in a room or a whole community can leave a happy imprint on someone's mind.
6) Advice to future lighting and interior designers?
I guess the key thing in design is to prioritise people, being that the client and/or the people who will ultimately use the space you are helping to create. You should keep curious about people - as well as technology, materials, trends - because it is how happy and comfortable that a design makes a person feel that makes the whole process and experience joyful.