Meet Chris Cody

What path did you take to become a lighting designer?

After completing an apprenticeship as a structural and mechanical draftsperson, I decided to focus my efforts on combining my newly gained technical skills with something more creative. In late 2012, I decided to move to London and apply for a job in design. After 3 months, I interviewed with a lighting design consultancy and was offered a role. After 2 years in London, I returned to Australia and continued working as a lighting designer in Sydney.

Why does light matter to you? And why should it matter to our clients?

In architecture, lighting is one of the most important influences on the quality of spatial environments. I see light as materiality that contributes to the overall built form of the environments we occupy. Light has the capacity to stimulate your emotions and has an impact on your response to space. As lighting designers, we understand the impacts of light on people and the environment. This knowledge enables us to develop more precise lighting solutions for the spaces we occupy.

What innovative new approaches are you seeing when it comes to lighting design?

The use of intelligent lighting control and better application of the public lighting standards for public lighting projects is becoming more common. This is a positive step in terms of achieving higher quality and more sustainable lighting outcomes.

Recently, I worked on a project where a Casambi (Bluetooth) lighting control system was used to control a series of pole mounted lights along a public pathway. This system enables individual luminaires to be easily adjusted to suit different times of day. For example, during busier ‘rush hour’ times the light levels are raised to a higher level in certain areas to accommodate for higher pedestrian and traffic volumes. Later when the traffic volume is less, the light dims to a lower level making for a more sustainable approach to public lighting.

What advice do you have for aspiring lighting designers looking to break into the industry?

Every lighting project is different and must be undertaken in a different way to past projects. For this reason, you should always keep an open mind when it comes to your approach to a lighting design and look for opportunities to innovate.

How do you ensure that your lighting design meets the needs and preferences of the end users of the space?

The first step is gaining an understanding of who the end users are. What are their needs and aspirations and how will they interact with space and with each other? From this, you can develop ways to define the lighting approach and actively redefine this approach throughout the design process.

Why should a client engage a lighting designer, in addition to an electrical engineer, in the early stages of a project? What are the benefits?

More than ever before, there is a growing focus on the quality of the environments and spaces that we occupy. Lighting is one of the most important aspects to the quality of a space.

As lighting designers, we understand that a healthy and high-quality environment makes for healthy and high quality human experiences. This understanding gives us the tools to actively define a narrative for the lighting design and actively look for ways to enhance the architecture of a space to achieve quality outcomes. Our involvement in the early stages of a project enables us to achieve a higher level of integration within the architecture and further refine and develop the lighting design narrative throughout the design process.