Your Interview Kamaleka Naidoo
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
My name is Kam Naidoo and I am the Relationship manager for the Australian brand Unios in NSW & NZ.
Initially, I wanted to be an interior architect. I first completed a diploma in interior design and then building technologies, during this time period I worked in a local lighting store and realised how lighting plays a significant role in the built environment. I went on to pursue a Masters in Illumination Design Science at the University of Sydney. Fast forward 14 years and I am now part of a wider lighting community, and a WIL Sydney advocate. I feel privileged to be part of this network of colleagues and friends.
Tell us about your work – is there a specific type of project you like to work on or an area you specialise in and why?
My role has evolved over the years as much has changed in the wider industry and beyond. With the advent of technology, I have seen the need to become more agile in the project life cycle. The best way to add value is by continually educating myself and others. My speciality is offering knowledge of lighting products from European brands to now working for an Australian-based company. My design background enables me to better understand the design intent, and in turn, suggest a solution that complements the project and enhances the space.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
Lacking confidence in my abilities has been the biggest challenge. I think this stemmed from a culture that required me to compare myself to the “norm”, which I now see as a stale mindset. I have had great mentors who encouraged me to think outside the norms, and to overcome stereotypes placed upon me. I think the challenge that now remains is collectively creating a new inclusive culture in our wider industry.
How does light inspire you?
Personally, the lighting industry has inspired me to challenge myself both in my role and in my thinking. Lighting is often an undervalued aspect of a bigger picture in design, and the contribution it makes to the final outcome can be so impactful. I think that suppliers, designers and contractors should continue to evangelise the value of good lighting solutions.Lighting is not just an object; it’s an essential part of design.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
Challenge yourself and others to build confidence around you. Align yourself with others who push you to question the status quo. Lighting should be accessible to everyone.
“Align yourself with others who push you to question the status quo.”