Your Interview Victoria Jerram
Introduce yourself (name, company, position, country) and tell us how you got into lighting design (including education/qualifications).
I am Victoria Jerram, CEO of Victoria Jerram Lighting Design in the UK and Chartered Electrical Engineer. As an engineer, I built ship simulators for the British and US Navies, and designed telescope instrumentation for The Royal Greenwich Observatory in La Palma in the Canary Islands. I have been fascinated by light as a creative medium since seeing James Turrell’s exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1993 and was inspired by Sally Storey’s work to make the career change into lighting design. I trained at The Bartlett, UCL and after working for one of the big London lighting design consultancies, founded Victoria Jerram Lighting Design in 2010. Alongside running the studio, I sit on the Education & Membership committee of the Society of Light & Lighting (SLL) where I enjoy helping others become part of the SLL community.
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?
As a small independent lighting designer, I get to do everything on my projects from pitching for new work through to drawing up lighting layouts in AutoCAD, and my favourite part of the project – directing of the scene-setting right at the end, when the whole vision comes to life. We work on all types of project in many different countries, from 12m high water sculptures in Oman and 5 star hotels in Switzerland to modernist-inspired houses in London. I’m passionate about all my projects but I particularly enjoy working with luxury hotels as they strive for continual improvement and the highest quality of service for their clients.
What project are you most proud of and why?
Eglon House is the project I’m most proud of, a super-prime live/work residence in London, inspired by Pierre Chareau’s modernist masterpiece, “Maison de Verre”, in Paris. The project took three years and after establishing a lighting concept that worked with both the building aesthetic and the live/work use, the biggest challenge was maintaining that concept throughout the long evolution of the project for a cohesive result.
What is the biggest challenge that you have overcome in your career?
Getting my first job in lighting was not as easy as I thought it would be - it wasn’t immediately obvious to potential employers how transferable my engineering and project management skills were to lighting design. The biggest challenge for me though was becoming an adoptive mother to 2 little boys and setting up my own business while they were both still pre-school.
How does light inspire you?
Light is essential – for our health and happiness and for making sense of the world we live in. It is also ever changing and magical, and I never tire of dappled light through trees, or the sparkle of reflected light off the river that I live next to.
What is your message for other Women In Lighting?
Believe in yourself: if you love lighting you will be a success.
“Believe in yourself: if you love lighting you will be a success.”