An Illuminating Profession of Art – the Director and Creative Lighting Designer at Candela Lighting Design, Nilusha Rajapaksha

Symbolizing the true essence of the Sri Lankan culture and indulging in a heavenly rapture of creativity, Nilusha Rajapaksha, the Director and Creative Lighting Designer at Candela Lighting Design, shares with us her mesmerizing story of lights!

Graduated from the University of Moratuwa in 2006 with a BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering, Nilusha has toppled massive obstacles and challenges to create an astonishingly remarkable statement in her professional life. Working in substantial corporations as an electrical engineer, she has contributed to flourishing masterpieces like Atlantis-The Palm Dubai (the world’s biggest man-made island), the world’s largest fountain- Dubai Lake Fountain Project, Yas Marina Hotel Abu Dhabi and the St. Regis Resort Abu Dhabi, during her 5-year time with BK Gulf LLC, Dubai.

Continuing her deeper interest in light creations, Nilusha stepped up her journey in a UK lighting design firm called Neolight. Joining one of their leading branches in UAE back in 2012, she was able to collaborate in various projects like Bab Al Qsar – Abu Dhabi, Five Star Hotel (Marriott) – Azerbaijan, Namaste Hotel – India, Luxury Villas – Dubai etc., receiving esteemed accolades as ‘The Best Lighting Design’, both interior and exterior, at the Middle East awards in 2013. Nilusha has reached great heights in Neolights, branching her expertise into the South Asian Market, working for local locations such as the Colombo City Center, the Hilton Colombo Refurbishment and a lot more. Furthermore, she also allocates time from her artistically-orbited scheduled to lecture at some well-established institutions such as the ECET Campus, City School of Architecture and the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects. Meanwhile, Candela Lighting Design rose to fame in Sri Lanka during the year 2014 to help further facilitate the demands of light design.

Candela Lighting Design stands strong in the design industry as the sole Light Designing Company in Sri Lanka. “Lighting designing is a combination of art, science and technology. Here at Candela, we are leading with modern technology within the region. Our designing services align well with the international practice, and we constantly keep ourselves updated with the trends in the industry”, states Nilusha when explaining the need to attend lighting fairs and meet lighting designers worldwide. Providing an  unmatched service, Candela now serves leading firms in the UAE with remote sub consultancy services, also accomplishing remarkable hospitality projects in the very recent past. Nilusha’s passion for light designing has marked her abilities as the Ambassador in Sri Lanka for Women in Lighting (WIL), gaining the trust and recognition from a group of international designers.

Taking pride in her choice of profession, Nilusha clarifies,even though I possess a long-lasting childhood dream of being an electrical engineer, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the traditional practices. Instead, I always wanted to think outside the box, without being bound to the common trends.”She further continues, I wanted to experience creating beautiful spaces like my very first construction project, the Atlantis hotel, Dubai. That’s when I was assured that lighting designs were my forte”. Nilusha further takes delight in her abilities to understand the connection of lights with people’s moods, and makes sure her masterpieces speak the same. Her meticulous attention to detail has landed her with superior projects down her career lane, providing her unimpeachable insight for her job.

With their firm capacity to bridge gaps and scale scopes according to the necessary project, Candela’s impeccable design team provides unrivalled design solutions to clients from the far north end to the south end of the country, while maintaining a persistent demand internationally. “We also assisted certain foreign-initiated projects that weren’t originally by us, as most of the individuals are facing Covid restrictions”, Nilusha elaborates on some of their humble decisions.

Nilusha holds a resilient knowledge in Dialux, the software that helps light designers globally create wonders using simulation. Furthermore, she is entitled as an awarded trainer by DIAL for Sri Lanka and Germany, creating opportunities for local and foreign design students to enhance their future designing goals via her enriched lecture sessions. Nilusha explains “Even though lighting designing is more of an art-related subject, we sometimes need to prove the lighting levels in certain spaces in which we have to carry out calculations through the software and provide reports to the design team/clients as a part of our design documentation. This has enormously helped us in lighting audits and street lighting calculations”.

Explaining the cornerstones to their success, Candela portrays a tremendous effort towards their projects, regardless of the size and demand. “I make sure that we follow the best international practices and the experience gained throughout my career journey. And we never give up! We undertake challenges and explain core decisions to our clients, explaining complex design ideas”, adds Nilusha, while also elaborating on their prompt response to any urgent demands. “We take brave decisions in unstable cases to protect the project and continue to execute as per the intended design. We do our best for the betterment of the project. This is why our clients love us!”

Nilusha also widens her explanation on their additional services. “The 360o technical designing for lighting control systems are the go-to lighting design installations techniques for high-end villas, luxury apartments, boutiques, start-up hotels, restaurants etc. Generally, it is named as central lighting control system, home automation or guest room management system”, she adds, when determining the importance Candela gives to their clients’ money, providing them with the value they deserve.  She continues We recently launched a project management tool called the Candel Cloud, intended to give the utmost attention to the construction of our projects, whilst guarding it under the same umbrella”.

Although, amidst a pandemic, Nilusha believes that she was able to maintain a steady flow of services compared to other fields in the industry. “We had a reasonable flow of demands in the first pandemic year with the foreign projects we initiated before the pandemic. During the second year, along with a couple of local projects and also created an opportunity to branch out into other fields like online fashion businesses and a brand new book app called ‘Ceylon Book’, she explains when mentioning their recent short-term and long-term investment. Furthermore, Nilusha believes that their strong financial planning whilst catering to their local & foreign clients, assisted and encouraged Candela and the team to stay ahead of the curve.

Possessing a stronger urge to advance in the most passionate aspect of her job and to spread awareness on the importance of lightning to individuals and organizations involved in construction, Nilusha hopes to broaden her services and sharpen her expertise to serve her clients even better.

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