• Lighting India
  • Dec 20, 2016

Interview with Sushant Surve, Principal Designer, Brainwave Designs

Brainwave Designs is an independent architectural lighting design practice in Mumbai with a team of architects and interior designers – working towards building beautiful lighting environment and ambiences. In an exclusive e-interview with Lighting India, Sushant Surve, Principal Designer of the firm, is fielding questions from P K Chatterjee. Excerpts...

How do you visualize the inherent link-up between good architecture and lighting?

Architecture can be analyzed in any dimension whether as a space, material or as an entity but at end is essentially perceived by the lighting environment, that encompasses both the object and the observer. Light plays a crucial role in the design of visual environment.

Architecture, people and objects are all made visible by the lighting sensibilities. Light impacts our well-being, the aesthetic effect and mood of the space.

It is, in fact, the lighting that enhances and extenuates the architecture; one cannot exist without the other. Light defines zones and boundaries of various spaces. It creates links and delineates the spaces from one another. There is no singular approach to aesthetic values, but light is one expression that conveys the intent and characteristics of design.

How is the Indian market absorbing this concept?

Indian market is absorbing this concept in an optimistic manner, but still have a long way to understand and appreciate the concerns from a lighting designer’s perspective.

What are the basic elements of effective lighting?

• Customization and implementation w.r.t the given architectural elements (like texture, main features, dimensions and so on.)
• Lighting products (portfolio-indoor, outdoor w.r.t CCT, CRI, GAI, COU and so on.)
• Lighting controls (dimming, on/off, DMX, RGBw and so on.)

What are the differences between the lighting schemes conceived in European countries and those designed in India?

Lighting goes hand in hand with architecture. Its about analyzing architectural elements irrespective of the continents. It would only be unfair to compare lighting solutions, which may depend on various factors like topographical conditions, weather, climate and language.

How is the demand among the Indian customers changing? What are the latest trends here?

The demand has already shifted towards

a. Sustainable design
b. Balancing between renewable and non-renewable resources like, solar panels integration, global warming consideration and so on.
c. In indoors, tunable white is getting a good awareness as a starting tool for a lighting designer w.r.t. the behavioural management of the employees.

Does high project cost often stand as a stumbling block in delivering the best to the customer?

It is a cause of concern in most scenarios.

Do you feel that cost and quality-wise at least at present we invariably need to depend on Chinese products?

No, we need not be dependent on China as a country, since many Indian manufactures are bridging the gaps in delivering similar products.

How do you go about designing a new project? How does the customer benefit in the process?


• For any conceptualization, the first essential parameter is PROBING rather immediately putting up a solution or any recommendation. This is the MOST important activity of BWD.
• Then, it all starts taking inputs like final budgeting, defining the core areas, understanding the challenges if imposed, like carbon rating, LEED certifications contribution towards non-global warming processes, ESCO systems and so on.
• Once we arrive with a consensus, with all the clarities, our design department acts accordingly, various activities like in-house sampling, adhering to the parameters to be recommended for that need for the project begins.
• Then Mock up etc while choosing the right products & vendors are initiated…
Benefit to the customer:

Since, the time is an essence for us all, the customer without wasting time and energy gets RIGHT VENDORS, PRODUCTS with an appropriate / desired lighting design to be chosen for his/her further purchases & implementation.

How do you manage to give service all over India?

We have a drawing standard and system in place, which is explained to client’s project team and architects during our concept meetings. This makes life easy for any client and his/her team to communicate with us from any desired location.

What is your suggestion to the decision makers of the new projects?

a. From the very beginning LIGHTING CONCEPTUALIZATION along with a Lighting designer / consultant must be initiated.
b. The flexibility for a lighting scheme must be given so that at the initial stages lighting consultant along with PMC, Architect, Electrical consultant, Façade consultant and so must be frozen for the FINAL outputs as conceived initially without wasting revenue, time and people’s energy. This helps in yielding much creative & desired lighting schemes for any customer to own the PRIDE of the space. It really assists to even lower the overall Operational & maintenance budget of the client.