Your Interview Sonia Pepperell
Designer, Educator, Product
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
Hey, my name is Sonia Pepperell and I have worked for Thorlux Lighting, UK for over 13 years. I was, up until recently, a lighting designer working on projects such as retail, education, healthcare and rail. My background is in architectural lighting and product design and am now a product manager dealing with commercial products. I always loved art and design, and so after finishing my foundation diploma in art and design, I moved onto a degree in product design. I didn’t realise there was an industry of lighting designers until I went for a job interview. From there I have completed my LIA certificates, both internal and external lighting and the LET Diploma in Lighting Design
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 like problem solving, whether that’s; how can we light the space or where can position the luminaires to give us the lighting requirements we need? My current role is more about what do we need in our product range to make these things achievable where I draw heavily on my experience as a lighting designer.
What project are you most proud of and why?
I worked on a large new build with Birmingham City University and although I am proud of the project from a lighting design perspective, it stands out to me because I really felt part of the design team. We worked closely together during the whole process from design to completion, so I felt a real connection to the process and the final building outcome.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
For parts of my career, I have battled with the importance of the lighting designer job role. I believe the world needs lighting professionals, without whom lighting products would not be suitable for the applications in which they are used, and spaces would not be designed for people for the right reasons. The SLL has helped me understand the industry and what my part is.
How does light inspire you?
I love how lighting can completely transform a space and how it can be used to showcase the architecture of a building. I’m always impressed when I can’t tell where the lighting is coming from.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
There is not always a right or wrong answer to design, as long as you have a reason why you have done something, it’ll be great. Have confidence in what you can or have achieved (a note for myself).
“There is not always a right or wrong answer to design, as long as you have a reason why you have done something, it’ll be great. Have confidence in what you can or have achieved (a note for myself).”