INDHOUSE Meets Olivia Ann Calleja

What inspired you to become a light and interior designer?

Inspiration is a mixture of the people you work with and also depends on the ambience you are trying to create. My greatest inspiration comes from appreciating the cities I have visited and is often the result of a combination of cultures and diversity. On the other hand, it is also important to understand the people who will be living or working in a particular property and to convert this into inspiration and ideas which lead to great design. 


What sort of properties do you enjoy designing the most?

Well, I consider myself to be very versatile and enjoy having different projects to work on. Whether it is a project for a residential home or involves a commercial enterprise, a private living room, a retail outlet or a larger commercial unit, I am always open for the next challenge and prefer variety rather than having repetitive work


Why is lighting so important in interior design?

Light is an essential element of the design itself. It often determines important aspects of the design and is a crucial factor to highlight elements of the interior design and promote a healthy living / working environment.

Artificial lighting also offers you the opportunity to add a bit of drama to your design by giving it a bit of a theatrical twist. With proper lighting you are able to present objects d’art in their best light. It also allows the designer to give prominence to key features in the property while overcoming certain shortcomings, such as a dark corner or staircase.


Do you personally design with artificial or natural lighting in mind?

Actually, it is important to keep both in mind and my decisions would depend on the place and its location, as well as what it will be used for by its owners. Natural light is always the best advantage to have in a property and we are also able to play with tones of artificial lighting as fillers. It is a different process for every property as each property is unique in its relationship with natural daylight.


What was the biggest design challenge you have had to deal with so far?

Different projects offer different challenges. Such challenges vary and are usually not a result of the project itself but more likely due to what it will be used for. Clearly understanding the type of building and matching this to its intended use is a key element in good design, such as turning a house of character into a comfortable home, while preserving its architecture.


What would be your most ambitious dream project?

As much as I love residential buildings of all types and sizes, I also have a huge passion for commercial buildings. My most ambitious dream would be to design a shopping mall for top fashion houses. This would require focusing on every single detail to create a one of a kind shopping experience for their very valued and elite clients.

Interview compared – Pauline of INDHOUSE.