A quintessential lighting gallery- LIGHTBOX located on MG Road, New Delhi is popular among the true connoisseurs who have impeccable taste in the space of interior design. With over 15 years of experience in working on Lighting Design and Fabrics for the International Market, Sharika Nath Radhu translated her passion for design into opening LIGHTBOX four years ago. Sharika Nath Radhu has curated at the store, timeless objects of beauty, which emulate exclusivity and a luxurious modern character. She likes to work closely with architects, interior decorators and clients to understand their vision of the project and helps put together beautiful, functional forms that speak volumes in terms of exuberant outlooks, which are a balance of both classic and contemporary.
LIGHTBOX represents an eclectic mix of iconic European Lighting brands and signature designer products along with custom installations, to make people fall in love with their homes. On my visit to the LIGHTBOX, it was a pleasure to not just completely immerse myself in the magical atmosphere of light that envelopes you as soon as you step in, but also to get an opportunity to interact with Axel Meise, who is the founder of Occhio.
Occhio which is retailed in India through LIGHTBOX, is one of the most innovative and fastest growing companies in the lighting sector and is the market leader for high quality designer lighting in Germany. Axel Meise in collaboration with Sharika Nath Radhu is also responsible for lighting the home of the German Ambassador in New Delhi.
I had a fantastic opportunity to discuss with Axel Meise, his passion for lights and his favoritism towards the halogens over LEDs. LEDs have recently become the popular choice for the energy saving conscious Indian consumer. In defence of the halogens it can be easily appreciated that they can be dimmed to save on the electricity. Halogens are his choice for an ideal bedroom! The simplicity and the subtleness of Occhio’s modern designs blended together with a superior technology, magnified radiance and it’s ease of approachability and adaptability to any consumer’s need is a benchmark in the ever evolving lighting industry. Be it in the lenses that are used to magnify the light or an ease of change in angle that can give myriad light effects that change mood in a matter of seconds.
This is something that makes me want to put the Occhio lights on my luxury wishlist. These are the lights that blend well with every space, as you chase the perfect compositions of lights and shadows to suit your personal taste in rooms. The highlights of one of the most interesting conversation that I have had with an entrepreneur, a visionary who is so passionate about what he does is what I would love to share.
So Axel, What was the trigger point that eventually led you to pursue a career with lights to fit each and every person’s needs?
The magic of light and fascination with light had always been there in me since I was a child. It was a hobby that I pursued as a kid when I used to play with the lamps. Also, there was no consistent concept that existed in the lighting world earlier when I started working with lights. I was usually working with different lights from different brands with different designs, but even then, mixing them together never got me the desired results that I aspired for, this is what led me on the pursuit of Occhio. Occhio means eye in Italian. How the lens in the eye reacts to the play of lens through our lights is the kind of thought that we play with at Occhio.
Can you describe your first project and it’s result commercially?
I designed a table lamp in 1985, though it was not successful commercially but it had been appreciated by a lot of people. Even if you think a product is designed very well, but, no one buys it then it shows that there is something that is not right with the product. It is ultimately the consumer who actually lets you know whether your product is great or not. It doesn’t matter how many awards a product wins, if no one buys it, then the product is definitely lacking something. But later on as a first step towards the lighting world, we as a start up sold 25000 pieces in the very first year. That was an excellent feeling.
Truly, that’s a remarkable feat! And where do you get your daily dose of inspiration from and what makes you feel most rewarded?
Everything around me inspires me, I get inspired by biology, technology, geometry etc. In fact our new series of 3D line of products heavily derives inspiration from geometry, in terms of display. Our lighting solutions make sure that technology connects with emotions and we are able to make people happy when they choose Occhio. Positive reception from people is the instant recognition that really makes us feel most rewarded.
I absolutely have to agree with you on that! Axel, is lighting solution from your point of view, an art or science?
Lights are more art than science. Lights can dramatically change everything you look at. They bring out the vivid colors in every piece of furniture that you have and lights are a must to bring out the beauty of Indian architectural designs. You can at any point of time decide whether it is the art piece you have at home that needs more lighting and would look better or is it some other corner that would look better with slightly more light. To appreciate light more, there have to be some dark places and some other places which are full of light. Though it largely depends upon personal choice but it is always helpful to have a lighting expert guide you through your lighting problems. Most of our clients know what they want and what they are looking to get when they purchase Occhio.
Also does technology ever become a barrier or a hurdle in your pursuits? Do you think you have pushed the lighting industry a notch above where it already was?
Technology has always been ahead of us, and we are always looking for creative ways to mix technology with our products. But in doing so, we keep in mind the adaptability of the product. Everyone should be able to use the product without requiring any explanations. We make use of technology to best cater the human emotion.
Yes, we have pushed the lighting industry as we are always ahead in terms of creating something new. As soon as we create something, it usually gets copied by the competitors. But the people are usually just copying the concept; they cannot copy our philosophy as that is the intangible part.
So if let’s suppose the product gets a little defect, I would be very reluctant to let a local technician touch it, in that case what should I do?
We have highly specialised people who know our lights best and the after sales services are handled by our esteemed partner LIGHTBOX in India. LIGHTBOX has the right people for our lighting solutions. Our lights are made with the mindset of longevity and durability for over 20 years. Our customers only want the best from us for the price they pay. I once met a person with Rolls Royce and he told me that “This is the cheapest car I could find”, what he emphasised was on the quality aspect of Rolls Royce that makes it last for years. For us quality is the foremost priority.
I am so glad to hear about how seriously you take your after sales service! Which of your products are most economically efficient?
LEDs are most economically efficient. But, people need to realise that out of all the electric devices they use, light contributes the least to the electricity bill. This is why my first choice is always halogens. You can always lower their radiance density as per your convenience.
That being said, do you enjoy residential lighting or commercial lighting projects like restaurants, hotels, offices etc?
Both. For us these two go hand in hand. Our products are state of the art products that can blend well in either of the environments, combined together or even separately. Occhio is highly user friendly. We can also mix LEDs with our other lights to create the desired look that the customer wants.
Which award amongst the many the Occhio has won is the most close to your heart?
All awards that Occhio has won give amplified amounts of satisfaction. Every time we get an award for a new product, it makes us feel that we are on the right track. Satisfaction of people is our biggest award.
If there were no constraints then what would you innovate to create?
The vision and coexistence between new technology and existing technology creates everything that I want. The good balance between the new and the old is required by the people. Something that everyone understands is what Occhio always prioritizes on creating.
The most exciting thing that I want to now know is that what exactly is in store for Occhio’s customers in future?
Something unexpected, a surprise. We want to impress our customers and provide them with what they have never seen before, both light wise and design wise. It is important for us to make the customers wait until the product is perfect. We are striving for seamless control to make our customers happy. We are implementing gesture control for the fading concept. We want to use gesture control for dimming the lights and increasing the intensity of the lights. We also intend to integrate our lights with an app for Ipad. We strive to continuously add value to our product to make the customers happy.
LIGHTBOX is located on 3rd Floor, 356-357, MG Road, New Delhi, 110030, India. Tel: +91 22.214.171.124 / +91 126.96.36.199