How do you add value for your clients?
The notion of value within each lighting design scheme is as individual as the client and project itself. The value stems from understanding what the client wishes to achieve and providing them with a good lighting design that is above and beyond their expectations.
When I mention good lighting, I’m referencing the fundamentals of Illumination, design (project parameters and specification) and control but also connections to the visual perception and psychological response of our clients using that space.
As an independent lighting design consultant we are responsible for the design input which relates to the illumination of the space or structure. Clients are now understanding the importance that lighting holds within a scheme; an interior designer specifies materials, textures and colour palettes however without good lighting design they won’t tell a story, the brief, set out by the client themselves. The same goes for the architectural design, the built environment; its structures and surfaces are enhanced through lighting and makes spaces truly dynamic.
At Hawksbee we do not see ourselves as a separate design entity on a project, a project that achieves its intent is a scheme where the design experts work collaboratively.
What was the path you took to get to where you are today?
It wasn’t a preordained plan to become a lighting design consultant. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be creative within a design-based industry starting off in London.
I completed my degree in Interior Design and then went on the search for a position with ‘design’ in the title (definitely not preordained) – I was at the beginning of my career and believed that anything would have been an opportunity to learn and experience.
I gained a position at a design & supply consultancy working on food and beverage projects; these were the days of tungsten, fluorescent and metal halide, LED was relatively new technology. It probably sounds a little backwards but it was utterly invaluable understand ‘old’ technology; companies endlessly trying to dim metal halide, working out the right lengths of fluorescent battens with an overlap within a circular coffer, the projected heat of a tungsten halogen.
After a few years I moved to an independent design lead consultancy. This is where my passion for lighting design grew from. This is where I designed for the project, its clients and its end users which lead me to set up my own design consultancy, Hawksbee.
Tell us about the most unusual project you have worked on.
I’m looking forward to working on it!
I’ve been lucky enough to work on a neuroscience building in the heart of London enormous Illuminated sculptures in Macau, mixed use developments in the middle of deserts or on alpine mountains or boutique mews townhouses or (quite humbly) a mobile telecommunications store in Barbados.
A number of years ago there was a late request on a project for a space that none of the immediate design team knew the use of. It so happened that the client wanted a lighting design for intimate escapades – enough said. Apparently it's quite a common request nowadays?!
Talk us through the process of creating a lighting scheme.
Before any thoughts of what and how we wish to do something on the project we look to understand why. We need to acknowledge the narrative of the project, what does the client wish to achieve, how they currently use their spaces and what they aren’t getting from their current scheme.
Our lives are a little different at the moment and so the space in which we inhabit have also had to adapt. They are both work and play, they have to provide different things for different people, for the purpose of different tasks. The most effective way to change a space is through lighting, design and its control.
Rational is a big thing for me when designing. This may sound quite controversial however there are designers that might throw every kind of detail and product into a scheme; inground uplights, grids of downlights, low level / high level concealed details, marker lights, rgb colour change, wall lights, back lit / edge lit… all sorts with no thought to the process, the narrative we discussed earlier.
If the client wants that – that’s great! However, does this really work – work for the client, work for the task, work from day to day..
And when all this lighting comes to the end of its lifetime, we really must be considering whether we can recycle and reuse the component parts, are we designing sustainably?
Great lighting and its design should provide feeling but must also last.
If you were a superhero tell us what your superpower would be?
I’d be pretty boring here; super strength, be able to fly and shoot lasers from my finger-tips… lighting lasers!
What does the future hold?
All the exciting things we don’t know yet.
It’s great to plan ahead, gain experience from the past, best to live in the present!