Q&A: Danielle Mastro from Lights Lights Lights.

15th October 2012

Elias, Danielle and George from Lights Lights Lights.

Danielle Mastro approaches the world of illumination from a very unique viewpoint. Thanks to her background in fashion, she tackles lighting plans for her clients at boutique Melbourne lighting retailer Lights Lights Lights by drawing on trends and forecasts and considering the life of the spaces she's lighting.

"My design principles are definitely a reflection of my eager devotion to fashion and style, but ultimately it's my experiences and my journey that inspire me to create", Danielle says.

Danielle recently took some time out of her schedule to answer some questions for us on lighting trends, tips and more.

What have been the biggest trends in lighting that you've noticed this year?

So many trends! This fabulous industry is ever-changing and I could spend hours discussing its evolution but instead I'll share just a few to tantalise you...

Trend 1: Continued environmental awareness and the anticipation of rising energy costs have piqued interest in sustainable lighting. As the demand has heightened, so too has the introduction of thousands of "low energy" products in supply.

Trend 2: I personally love a little timeless elegance and I am very pleased to see a trend that goes back to basics and highlights simple and less indulgent product. Luminaires made with raw materials, fabric, texture and staple hues of black, grey and white have made their way into the hearts of our consumers.

Trend 3: Although flashes of neon colour have made their way to the European catwalk, Pantone's predictions of vibrant tangerine and radiant yellow have appeared in our homes. The sleekness of back to basics marries well with a pop of colour and spring/summer will see the introduction of luminaires that reflect this demand.

What are the keys aspects of great lighting design?

1. Understanding our clients. Offering a creative design is important, but without understanding the needs of the client, the design lacks purpose. The client that works from home at their dining room table requires a different level of light to the newly wedded couple that would like to create romance in their dining space. We chat with clients over a coffee to develop a sincere understanding of their personality and taste. We build that personality into our design to create the perfect combination of form and function.

2. Research, Research, Research! We spend hour upon hour scouring the globe for innovations in design and technology. We involve ourselves in networking events and spend time talking with colleagues about our industry. Educating ourselves is not only imperative to our personal and professional development, but it empowers us with the knowledge to educate our clients and offer them unique designs.

3. Mock it up! A great man in the lighting industry who shared his life works with us advised us to "mock it up" many years ago and it stuck! His experience in the industry is intimidating to say the least, so who were we to argue? When we are unsure of our selection or need confidence in our design we step into our dark room and do our very best to mock up the space we are considering. Is it too bright, is the colour temperature warm enough, is the angle of the lens too narrow, are the fittings aesthetically correct for the area size? The answers become clear to us when the concept is executed and the design develops strength and conviction.

Can you give people some tips on what to consider when choosing lights for their home?

Tip 1: Consider your lifestyle and personality and select product that is signature to your style. It's really no different to shopping for the perfect pair of Louboutin heels, if they call your name and request to live in your wardrobe, it would be rude to decline the offer! Light fittings are no different, they need to represent your style and personality, and you need to love them enough to live with them for some time.

Tip 2: Educate yourself on the function of your selections. Absorb information in a safe and professional environment and understand firsthand the philosophy of your lighting design. Find the perfect lighting professional to share the journey with you and guide you in your decisions (did I mention that Lights Lights Lights are the greatest!).

Tip 3: Assess the sustainability of your choices and consider selections that will reduce your carbon footprint on our extraordinary planet.

LED lighting is still a fairly young market in Australia. How responsive have customers been to this new technology, and where do you see it heading in the future?

LED, now 50 years young, has evolved in leaps and bounds in recent years. Consumers are very eager to understand its capabilities, but it is widely apparent that Australia's lack of product regulation has resulted in an enormous amount of misinformation. The market is saturated with inferior product, and our consumers enter our showroom baffled with details and selections. With good intention, they are increasingly curious of the benefits this technology has to offer, so we make it simple... we educate! We lure them into our dark room and show them in real terms what to look for when making the ultimate decision. Colour rendering index, operating temperature, lumen outputs, consumption totals, lifetime, dimmability, colour temperature and frame design, all imperative elements to consider. Clients are fascinated by the realm of possibilities this technology offers, which makes their move to LED inevitable.

Although our commitment to educate is certain to persist, the future of LED in our country is hinging on the implementation of regulation and procedure. We look forward to a day when the efficacy of products such as the D900 Curve and the DR700 retrofit set the benchmark for Australian standards.

For more information on Danielle and Lights Lights Lights, visit their website.