For those who don’t already know him, Architecture & Design is delighted to introduce one of Australia’s leading lighting designers, Mark Elliott, Principal and Design Director at PointOfView.

In this article, Elliott tells us a little about becoming a lighting design professional, working with Pritzker prize-winning architects and building an international reputation with a small firm.

In future editions of the Architecture & Design newsletter, Elliott will share expert insights on cutting-edge lighting technologies and some the latest in lighting design techniques.

Background of a lighting designer

Training as a furniture and product designer, then discovering a passion for light, Elliott has successfully applied his understanding of form, proportion, materiality and texture to lighting design projects now for over 15 years.

In the years before moving to Australia he worked with a number of international lighting design studios in Europe including BDP (Building Design Partnership), at the time one of the continent’s largest multi-disciplinary architectural design firms, and Isometrix Lighting + Design where he formed his passion for hospitality lighting design.

Edificio Forum in Barcelona. Architects: Herzog & de Meuron.

His experience covers work with several world-leading designers, including six Pritzker Prize winning architects; across sectors of work from high end residential and hospitality, such as the multi award winning Hotel Puerta America Madrid; with designers such as Zaha Hadid, to civic works, such as Hong Kong Airport and Edificio Forum Building Barcelona with renowned architects Herzog and De Meuron.

Tell us about some key career milestones?

There are a number of projects which stand out in my mind from my career so far, the first would have to be Hotel Puerta America Madrid (Spain). This is a project that I still see benchmarked and used as a reference to projects being conceptualised today. It was a once in a lifetime project where each area was designed by a different leading architect or designer.

Hotel Puerta America, space by Norman Foster. Images: e-architect

The challenge as a designer was working with each of the creative personalities, and working within their style whilst delivering quality and consistency in the lighting throughout the hotel.  With clients such as Sir Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Ron Arad, diversity was the key driver and working at the top of my game and pushing boundaries was an expectation. 

Hotel Puerta America, space by Zaha Hadid.

Moving on from this and as a direct result, after I moved to Sydney, I got involved with Marc Newson’s design (who I collaborated with on Hotel Puerta America) for the new Qantas First Class lounges, which, 10 years on still look fresh and new.  More recently I’m proud of the work we did on the Anzac Memorial in Sydney, which was turned around from concept to completion within six weeks! and with great (award-winning results). 

Qantas First Class lounge with Marc Newson. Image: POV

Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney. Photographer: Brent Winstone

Current day, professionally, I’m proud to be principle of PointOfView, taking over the mantle from David (Becker) who retired from the company in 2012 and carrying the great work that David did to build this team into one of Australia’s premier lighting design studios and having recently been asked to design the lighting for two of Australia’s most acclaimed architect / design firms in Hassell and Bates Smart, I feel we must be doing something right. 

Hassell Studio.Photographer: Brent Winstone

Bates Smart Sydney Studio. Photographer: Brent Winstone

I am most proud of our growing international acclaim, a small studio in Australia, we are now sought out, beyond our shores for projects such as resorts world Manila, Four Seasons New Delhi and Worli Commercial Towers in Mumbai with New York architects KPF, competing with the world’s best to win these projects and working with the world’s best design, which brings inspiration to my team and drives them to innovation in our designs.

Tell us a little about some recent benchmark projects in Australia?

We enjoy the cross pollination of ideas across different sectors of work, from commercial lobbies such as Chifley in Sydney, to the controversial HotelHotel in Canberra. 

Chifley. Interior designer: Davenport Campbell. Photographer: Brent Winstone

At Chifley we brought sculpture to an iconic Sydney building through custom designed ‘lighting elements’; at HotelHotel we pushed the boundaries of darkness to create mood and drama.

Hotel Hotel. Interior designer: March Studio. Architect: Fender Katselidis. Photography: Peter Bennetts and Ross Honeysett.

In a following article (click here to read), Mark Elliott gives his take on the state of lighting design in Australia and what’s most exciting with regard to new technology.