Holiday Issue 2019

44 Mar19364 Shining a Spotlight on the Unsung Heroes of Architectural Design Founded in 2012, Studio Illumine is a design- first, independently owned, lighting design practice based in Shanghai, China. In March, the firm was recognised with the ‘Award for Excellence in Innovative Lighting Design’ in LUXlife’s 2019 Leading Designer Awards programme. Following this achievement, we spoke with the firm’s Founding Director, Azlan Nazam, for more insight into the region’s impressive dedication to advancing the greater design industry. “Experience has taught us that no two projects are alike. We believe that in order to produce a successful project that surpasses the clients’ expectations, the design has to be tailor-made to the clients’ needs and reflect their working processes and culture. Studio Illumine has had the privilege of working with many repeated clients due to this ethos.” - Azlan Nazam on how Studio Illumine offers an exceptional client service Lighting is the unsung hero of the design world. Regardless of the quality of the architecture and the magnificence of the interior design, lighting can make or break a space. It can also be transformative, ascending the most unlikely of rooms into extraordinary statement pieces. Studio Illumine understands the importance of lighting – according to Azlan, it is the firm’s lifeblood, defining every success since their establishment seven years ago. “Studio Illumine assists its clients in the implementation of lighting into the built environment, starting from the concept design phase and following all the way through to the construction commissioning and styling phase. The studio itself is comprised of a small team of designers with a passion for light, architecture, art and design, bought together from various backgrounds and from all over the world. “Since its founding, the practice started out working mainly on the lighting for high-end office interiors. They helped craft offices for multi- national practices like McKinsey & Company, Deutsche Bank, and Ogilvy & Mather. The studio quickly expanded into retail lighting through their collaboration with Nike on their offices and stores. Not long after that, Studio Illumine expanded their involvement in the education, healthcare, and the public space sectors over the space of five years.” Today, Studio Illumine celebrate an enviable reputation in the industry, forging long-term partnerships with clients such as Nike, acting as testament to the firm’s considerable ability and expertise. With this in mind, Azlan insists that the team have played an integral role in establishing the studio in such a competitive environment. “The team plays an enormous role in the success of the practice. As our team of designers come from various design backgrounds, our approach to lighting is seldom the same, which lends well to the diversity of the studio's portfolio of projects. Since the lighting design industry in China is young, energetic and thriving, this fast-paced world of lighting design demands creative solutions to new sets of problems. Our ability to provide diverse design solutions plays a large role in our success.” Here Azlan takes a moment to discuss the greater architectural industry and how it is changing in light of swift development and relentless innovation. “Architectural lighting design is a relatively new industry that emerged out of ‘lighting engineering’. Traditionally, most who worked on architectural lighting were engineers and based their solutions on number-based calculations to obtain the optimum light quantity in a space. Due to this, spaces often tend to feel practical and visually flat as the objective is to obtain the necessary lighting levels. Studio Illumine believes in “lighting with meaning”. We strive to bridge the gap between ‘traditional lighting’ and creative design, taking lighting beyond merely its functional means. We address visual comfort (the absence of glare), we aim to create drama with light and we use light to express built forms and architecture.” “The recognition of lighting as another tool of design that can be applied to architectural elements, helps us to create spaces which are like pieces of art. We see ourselves not only as designers, but as “artists” who work with light, and we believe this sets us apart from most of our competitors in our industry.” Finally, Azlan offers more insight into Studio Illumine’s future, as they look to capitalise on their burgeoning reputation in the sector. “In order to manage our clients better, our team is expanding and will be moving into a new larger studio mid this year. That aside, the studio is also taking on the education sector in our continuous effort to share good lighting with the masses. Already, we have given talks and attended conferences on “Lighting for Education”, in order to promote the usage of better lighting in schools and higher learning institutions in China.” Name: Azlan Nazam, Founding Director Address: WE Building, 218 Wending road, Unit B-513, Xuhui district, Shanghai 200030, China. Tel: +86 21 5419 9303 Email: inf[email protected] Website: