2013 start-up Malaya Blonde is bringing life back into the lighting design industry, and damned if they won’t have fun doing it.
June 11th, 2014
Words by Sophia Watson
“What does an uber lighting design consultancy cost to engage? – We don’t know, because we aren’t one.” In July 2013 veteran designers Sophia Ng and Tamsyn Little launched Malaya Blonde, a lighting design studio focused on pumping some life back into the discipline.
Traditionally a male dominated field, Ng and Little – who between them share over 20 years of experience – are giving the boys a bit of a reality check. Little explains: “We’ve worked with some real diva’s, men who take themselves and lighting way too seriously. Wearing all black and talking about how their designs are ‘life-changing’ – please! Where did all the fun go? We’re not saving lives, but if we can bring a bit of character and fun to people’s environment to make it a bit brighter, than that’s what are job is about.”
Not only are the two breaking the gender barrier, but the sector barrier as well. Having already completed four projects across various sectors, Malaya Blonde is focused on market segments that have “forgotten about lighting.”
“Since we launched we’ve done a few heritage pubs, a leagues club, high-end private residential and commercial office spaces,” says Ng. “Some of these are still ongoing, but so far we have completed four projects. While we’ve been nearing completion with some of our jobs we’ve been spending a lot of time on marketing and winning new tenders.”
“We like to look at areas of the market that have forgotten about lighting,” adds Little. “Aged care is a really great example, because it’s usually approached with this kind of ‘get the cheapest, brightest, crappiest light in there’ without caring about the quality of life, which I think is really sad. Sophia [Ng] and I both agree that the way we run a business is such that projects which haven’t been allocated a lighting budget or has been completely ignored, can still have a considered and budget-sensitive lighting presence.”
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