Your Interview Melike Ozden
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
Let me at the very onset introduce myself. I am Melike Ozden, and currently I am working at Design Brilliance as their Lighting Design Head.
The undergraduate curriculum of the Architectural Faculty, Yildiz Technical University Istanbul, introduced me to a wide variety of Architectural Design in city-scale subjects. Various courses like Urban Planning, Environment Psychology, Planning to City Centre and Recreation Area planning provided me with a strong footing in the theoretical concept of Environment planning and its perspectives. While I was a student, lighting design caught my attention. I started as an intern at a Lighting Design Firm. My passion for this field increased every year. And now I have been in this field for more than 8 years. My total experience in Turkey is 5.5 years and that in India is 2.5 years. I have undertaken international projects in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey and India, and other places. Also, I have stage Lighting Design experience too. With exposure to 360-degree workings across every field of lighting design. These experiences have put into my perspective the importance and relevance of Lighting Design and the application of its fundamentals to the problems faced by the real design world. So, I realize that by learning and developing my knowledge of Lighting Design, I will be able to significantly contribute to society by understanding true Lighting Design. I have seen many variations of architectural design inside my project scope and believe I will develop and gain new perspectives.
I am very eager to adopt and learn new technologies. In order to understand different Lighting design concepts/disciplines, I am doing my master's at Wismar University. The good reputation of high-quality education standards, an extremely distinguished faculty, and research facilities are the factors that have further improved my skill sets.
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?
I am currently working in India and moreover, I am working on residential projects. I have experience in Hospitality, Commercial, Landscape, Education, Tunnel Lighting, Urban Lighting, Museum, Heritage Lighting, Stage Lighting, and Photography Lighting. I like working on more detailed solutions which are necessary for the work.
I like creating a special impact with new details.
What project are you most proud of and why?
I am working on the Istanbul Historical Peninsula Lighting Design Guide also. In Turkey, the historical peninsula is the most important part. I am proud of this because as a Turkish citizen I am able to protect this area and take a decision in the Lighting part. Because protecting and healing one’s country's culture has to be a priority for designers.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
Coming to India and changing the Lighting Design perspective.
Each Country has its own perspective on light. In India, White Light is prevalently dominant, especially in residential projects. Convincing about healthy light levels and healthy light colour are challenging.
How does light inspire you?
Lighting is all about connectivity and has a language of its own. Even without knowing other languages, when I look at a good lighting design, I can understand what the designer is trying to depict. I want to communicate with people through lights. In the future, post my Ph.D. I would like to share my perspectives with people not only those who I meet but also as a professor of a lighting design college.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
As a woman, being in the construction sector is very difficult, and being a ‘stage lighting designer’ is even more challenging. But any gender or institute or company cannot stop real talent, enthusiasm and passion.
The future for women is great! The world is slowly accepting the values, principles and professionalism that a woman brings to the table, albeit at a snail's pace.
Work hard, chase excellence, success will follow. And nothing beats success like success.
“As a woman, being in the construction sector is very difficult, and being a ‘stage lighting designer’ is even more challenging. But any gender or institute or company cannot stop real talent, enthusiasm and passion. The future for women is great! The world is slowly accepting the values, principles and professionalism that a woman brings to the table, albeit at a snail's pace.”