After more than 14 years’ experience in lighting design, last year Lauren Lever established her own practice – Minoux. arc sits down with Lever to discuss the move, and her aspirations for Minoux.
How did you get into lighting design?
I am one of the ‘old school designers’ in our industry, when lighting design wasn’t a subject that you could take at university. We came from different backgrounds, whether that’s architecture, product design or engineering. This is part of the reason why I love our industry, as we have such a rich mix of backgrounds and knowledge. I always had a passion for design at school, even though I was one of only two girls in the class and was told that it was normally categorised as a boy’s subject; this still didn’t stop me as I loved the subject and wanted to learn more. This led me to study Product and Furniture Design at De Montfort University in Leicester. During my time there I decided that one of my work pieces would be to design and build a light fixture. When it was time to see which career path I wanted to go down, I found out that lighting design was an actual job and I jumped at the opportunity. I have now been in the industry for more than 15 years and continue to love what I do.
What led you to setting up your own studio?
It was something that I always wanted to do and knew that it would happen when the time was right. I decided to take the leap and start my own lighting design studio last year and I haven’t looked back. Some people thought I was mad doing it in the middle of the pandemic, but I believe there is never a right time to start a new business; you just need to jump right in.
Do you have a ‘Mission Statement’ for Minoux?
I feel my ethos is all about creativity, innovation and being customer focused with an appetite for great lighting design. No project is too small, and I relish the opportunity to share my passion with others.
Will you specialise in a particular area?
I have worked on a number of diverse areas during my career as a lighting designer, but found my focus is prominently in the Hospitality, Residential and Commercial sectors. I do not have a ‘house-style’ and believe that each project deserves to be designed and tailored to suit the client’s needs. I particularly enjoy working on hotel projects, where varied atmospheres and ambiences can be created for each space; ranging from dark and moody bars, to sensual spa experiences or bright and welcoming receptions.
How have your past experiences shaped your approach for Minoux?
I believe that my past experiences have shaped me into the designer that I am today. Each lighting consultancy had their own particular specialism, which has helped me learn all aspects of lighting design and improve my skillset. I have had the pleasure of working for some of the top women in the industry and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn from each of them.
What are your aspirations for Minoux? What do you hope to bring to the lighting world?
Lighting design is still unfortunately one element of a project that gets left to the last minute or forgotten about. I believe that lighting can make or break a project. I have been lucky enough to talk at many events in front of architects and interior designers, which has allowed me to fly the flag for getting a lighting designer in at the earlier stages of a project, showing the end client that good lighting design doesn’t need to cost the earth.
Can you tell us a bit more about your collaboration with Prolicht and Tom Dixon for the Workspace Design Show?
I had the pleasure of working with the Workspace Design Show and they asked Minoux to provide a lighting installation at their main entrance. I was excited to see what could be achieved within the iconic space of the Business Design Centre. Lighting installations should be fun, engaging and draw people in. Prolicht had recently collaborated with Tom Dixon to design a range of light fixtures which shows a rawness and industrial feel to LED technology. Looking at the range, I thought it was perfect for the show, combining the use of smooth lighting controls and programming which was provided by Casambi; this allowed the product to come to life using animation.
What sort of reaction have you had so far? Do you have a lot of work already in the pipeline?
The reaction has been really positive and supportive, especially during the pandemic and I have been fortunate to hit the ground running. It is scary and daunting at times, but looking back I wish I took the plunge sooner. 2022 is looking promising to say the least.
What does the future hold, both for Minoux and for the lighting industry as a whole?
The lighting industry has come on leaps and bounds with the growth of new technology. The new focus at the moment is all about sustainability of fittings and circularity, which has been a long time coming in my opinion. We need to work with manufacturers and future proof our designs to develop much more sustainable projects. As for Minoux, watch this space.