Light life. / by ILAN EL

People often ask me, what made you choose lighting design and why? 

The short answer - It chose me. The long one starts with childhood memories, when my brother and I got our first Lego kit. He built a spaceship and I built a house. He added jet engines and I had to have a chimney. 

Fast forward 20 years or so and there I was, an architecture student. I spent 5 years studying history of art and design, engineering, psychology, sociology, chemistry, philosophy and architecture of course. Definitely the most creative, challenging and happiest years of my life (I'd go back there in a second!). 

I asked myself more than once, why do I need all that knowledge? all these subjects? would that make me a better architect? a better person?

Architecture defines our built environment; our cities, our workplaces, our homes. These affect who we are, how we interact with one another, how we live our lives. So yes, studying social sciences made me a better architect, a better designer and a better person. As someone responsible for the way people live, having better understanding of their needs was crucial to the way I was to design their living or working spaces.  

People often ask me, what made you choose lighting design and why? 

The short answer - It chose me. The long one starts with childhood memories, when my brother and I got our first Lego kit. He built a spaceship and I built a house. He added jet engines and I had to have a chimney. 

Fast forward 20 years or so and there I was, an architecture student. I spent 5 years studying history of art and design, engineering, psychology, sociology, chemistry, philosophy and architecture of course. Definitely the most creative, challenging and happiest years of my life (I'd go back there in a second!). 

I asked myself more than once, why do I need all that knowledge? all these subjects? would that make me a better architect? a better person?

Architecture defines our built environment; our cities, our workplaces, our homes. These affect who we are, how we interact with one another, how we live our lives. So yes, studying social sciences made me a better architect, a better designer and a better person. As someone responsible for the way people live, having better understanding of their needs was crucial to the way I was to design their living or working spaces.  

That was the first time I needed to design a luminaire. Like any other project, I dived in head first and learnt as much as possible. The most important thing I realised back then and put into practice till this day, is that unlike any other object, luminaries have two states of existence, On and Off. When Off, it's just another object in space but when turned on it comes to life and in return light our lives. 

It was literally a light bulb moment, I saw the light and knew that's what I wanted to do more of. I searched the globe and decided to join RMIT's master of design program to further my skills and knowledge. I spent the following 3 years studying illumination, colour psychology, behaviourism and practical electronics. All concluded in a solo exhibition where I presented my findings alongside various luminaries, exemplifying how physical interaction with lights can and would change our behaviour in the built environment. 

Two years down the track, I opened my design studio specialising in custom made architectural and decorative lighting. 

Ever since that light bulb moment, my passion for innovative design extends beyond the physicality of mere objects. Design is about experience - a philosophy that encompasses spatial relationships and the creation of touch points between people, artefacts and their evolving environments.