‘Hand-Crafted Sustainable Lights Are Making Headlines’

From the least important to becoming the most important part of the design, lighting has come a long way. The design industry has taken a paradigm shift by catering to specific areas of designing with the help of experts. An expert in restaurant lighting design, Radeesh Shetty, Lighting Designer and Founder, The Purple Turtles, in a conversation with Ambarin Chougle highlights the shifts in the lighting design and his journey of collecting, curating and creating!

How did you venture into lighting design? How has your journey been?
After spending 7 years working in corporate, I realised it was a good time to start a business. Initially had a restaurant idea but it had its limitations and a lot of investment was required. While looking for lighting one day, the limited options available made me think and there was no stopping after. 9 years down the line, the lighting company has beautifully transformed into a lifestyle brand. We design with freedom and source with responsibility, all for the love of collecting, curating and creating!

In recent times, people have realised the value of lighting design unlike earlier. What is the significant shift that you have seen in the lighting industry?

Lighting industry has come a long way in terms of the keen interest and the sheer awareness of lighting and ambience for space. Lighting plays an important role in setting the mood and creating a look. Industrial appearance for all bars is passé, designers and architects are spending a lot more time and money in carefully curating the looks of any site such as specialised thematic looks from a Japanese, Korean restaurant to an Italian café, recreating the look of their origin and with modular concepts such as Social, a co-working space during the day and restro-bar by night, the décor and lighting has really enhanced the overall aesthetics.Conscious, eco-friendly options have become a priority for everyone such as LED, sustainable design materials.

Radeesh Shetty, Founder & Director, The Purple Turtles
Radeesh Shetty’s ‘en-lightening’ journey began more than a decade ago, while shopping with a friend, who was decorating her new home. Incidentally, they were looking for decorative lights and observed that there was a large consumer base looking for good light fixtures at affordable prices, that wasn’t being catered to.

With his observation, Radeesh saw an opportunity and committed himself to an idea. The obvious gap in the market sparked his latent entrepreneurial spirit, and so The Purple Turtles came into being. Along with a friend, Gaurav Rai, and acclaimed lighting designer Jenny Pinto, Radeesh set out to provide a definitive platform for local talent in the light fixtures business to showcase their creations. This was at a time when there was no such player in the market. Soon, The Purple Turtles began to offer personalised and customised lighting solutions for homes, offices, resorts, spas and restaurants. Their clientele spread from SMG in Goa, to iconic companies including Google, TCS, Microsoft, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook and Ericsson. Building on their success with corporate and hospitality projects, The Purple Turtles went on to open an experience centre for architects in Bangalore’s Indiranagar area. The jump from an experience centre to a storefront and retail space was followed by a foray into the surging e-commerce arena. The product line evolved alongside, to encompass other curated, locally-sourced home décor products of the highest quality.

Currently, with the online metamorphosis and booking sales, the next evolution from the house of The Purple Turtles is much awaited.

What are the most important factors you consider when designing lighting for any space?
While working on the lighting, one must always keep in mind the purpose and usage of the space. Don’t go for the run of the mill colours and designs for your lights, consider adding the hint of colour in your lights. Layering different kinds of lights after understanding the purpose of each is crucial. This way you don’t rely on any one source of light but a combination of multiple tables, pendant and floor lamps. Having one accent/ eye-catching floor lamp or furniture piece will draw the attention towards itself making the room appear longer than it actually is.

How are newer things like tunable white, power over Ethernet (PoE), Artificial Intelligence (AI), indoor positioning impacting your designs? Are you using them?
As technology is moving forward, we’re also working with it. There’s a huge shift in the LED segment because of research with newer products, constant innovations, variety of colours, quality, and even automation which is no more an expensive or a rigorous task. These LEDs are app compatible with smartphones and can be easily used to create moods. We do have projects with PoE in the pipeline.

What other trends are you seeing in lighting design?
Minimal, functional Scandinavian looking lights never go out of style but distressed and rustic lamps are back in vogue. Statement chandeliers is a must have. Also, since people are getting more aware of the environment, hand-crafted sustainable lights are making headlines.

Which are the challenges you face while designing any space? How do you address them?
Of course, there are challenges. The production speed and quality is always a challenge, that we are always working to overcome.

What advice would you give to a new designer?
Be updated with current trends. Always surprise and delight clients with your products and offerings.

Spend time in sourcing, creating and curating the product mix, architects and end customers too should always find something new. This not only keeps you fresh and topical but also leaves the customers delighted with your products.


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