“Horse riding is synonymous with pride, chivalry, dignity and nobility – all of which are indispensable characteristics for a leader. I have learned a lot from riding and horses. I love my horses and they love me too. Horse riding is a beautiful world and whoever discovers it falls in love with it and cannot stay away” – Flashes of Thought , Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum


Universities mainly prepare students to be lighting design consultants, but not necessarily clients or leaders.  Being a client and a leader is something that is mainly learnt in practice and in the real world.

Working as design director in one of the biggest Real State Developers in the world, has given me a unique insight of the client’s and project’s requirements.  From this perspective, things are perceived very differently than from a lighting consultant’s point of view, as many additional factors and stakeholders need to be considered in the design process.  After working in this role, my appreciation for the lighting design practice has greatly increased, but also changed.  My understanding of a client’s role is now very different, as I have realized that a client indeed has more power, but with that power come both a great sense of responsibility and a lot of pressure.  Also, being a leader has taught me overall to understand the importance of managing people – international teams of consultants, contractors and end clients-.

In following blog posts, I would like to share the many lessons learnt, reflections and experiences that have opened my eyes in my role as a leader and creative director over these past years. 

In terms of design process, I will take you through key concepts and analyze each one of the following ideas from both the client’s and lighting consultant’s perspectives: The Project’s Vision and Brief; The importance of a Design Narrative; The Ownership of a Project; Notions of Practicality; Using Common Sense in Design; Empathy with end Users; and Education of Clients. 

I will touch on the subject of the role of a client in a project.  What it is to be a  “client”, and cast some light on the challenges of representing a company in constantly changing external conditions in terms of market demand, trends and economy.

Finally, using the all encompassing concept of the “Leader as a Beacon”, I will explain why it is essential for all of us to acquire leadership skills, not necessarily to lead from the top, but from the middle as well.  I will describe the importance of being a leader who sees the big picture, motivates pushes, protects the team and also makes tough decisions when required.