For many of us, lighting design is a small part of a bigger process of interior decor. We spend weeks, maybe even months researching colours and textures, ordering material swatches and pinning furiously on Pinterest only to add in lighting fixtures at the very last minute.
At Your Coffee Break, we knew there had to be more to think about. We were intrigued to find out more about lighting, so we spoke to renowned lighting designer Sofie Refer. As co-owner of Nuura, she has a real passion for creating designs that bring hints of nature into the comfort of home, something which has been in her genes from an early age.
‘My grand parents always thought I would be a florist as I was very fascinated by the nature and flowers at their summer house north of Copenhagen’ Sofie tells YCB. ‘They told me I always spent hours studying flowers etc. while we were there.’
Sofie actually ended up studying at The Danish School of Design and went onto work on impressive lighting projects such as the Four Seasons Hotel in Abu Dhabi and Shiseido Head Office in Tokyo. She has also been on the receiving end of design awards from prestigious publications such as Elle, Homes and Garden and Blueprint Magazine to name a few.
After working as a lighting designer for several years, Sofie launched Nuura with partners Nadia Lassen and Peter Østerberg. After three years of working on the project the team used their mutual passion for high-end lighting to build a carefully curated range of luxury lighting pieces for home and commercial use.
However, working on big city projects hasn’t altered her love of nature. In particular Sofie is inspired by Nordic nature, using the grandeur and generosity found in the environment to make the centrepiece of each collection.
Sofie always creates the chandelier first before moving on with the rest of the collection, letting this one cornerstone set the mood for further lighting pieces.
‘After I have designed the chandelier I find great joy in designing the entire collection. It becomes sort of ‘a family’ that gives the possibility to have more designs from one collection in an interior decoration. I really like repetitions, – you find this in nature all the time, and it gives a both playful and peaceful look.’
For example, a big favourite here at the YCB offices, the Anoli 3 chandelier captures the tranquility of falling water in the form of glass pendants inspired by droplets of rain.
For Sofie, the idea of lighting a room is more than just functional in a physical sense. She loves that her creations can have significant impact on how people actually feel when they walk into a room with carefully a chosen lighting set up.
‘We aim to bring life and joy through our collections. Light has a positive impact on our wellbeing which has been scientifically proven. Through the life and joy our light spreads we wish to support a happy and healthy lifestyle.’
Just take the gorgeous Blossi Table Lamp for example. It is inspired by golden light during the Nordic fall, specifically designed to give an indirect, soft light perfect for setting the mood in both domestic and public spaces.
Talking to Sofie we can see that she takes a methodical approach to her life in general, making sure she herself is happy and healthy through calming rituals before she tackles a day at work.
She wakes up early with the aim to spend some time alone focusing on having a peaceful morning. During the interview, Sofie even tells us the best piece of advice she’s ever been given:
‘Focus on your vision and make it happen. What you focus on will expand.’
After her morning yoga practice, she heads to work where she thrives in a busy energetic atmosphere. In fact, Sofie even says that creating and working as part of a team is undoubtedly the best part of her job.
Looking to the future, Sofie is ambitious and committed to growing Nuura and making beautiful lighting to suit a variety of spaces.
‘We will be launching new collections twice a year and we are working with international designers too which is very exciting!’
The aim is to create meaningful and contemporary lighting collections in Nordic aesthetics, and Sofie says that high-quality materials and manufacturing will always be a top priority for her team.
The name Nuura itself should glow brightly and remind people of its meaning: light and honour.
Sofie explains, ‘it is a very meaningful name to me as my intensions with my designs is to honour light’.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.