Albi Serfaty, founder and creative director at Aqua Creations, talks about stackable ToTeM lighting collection

Tell us something about yourself?
I am in love with Aqua Creations studio and it is an honour to design for this company. Aqua Creations has a history of 27 years of creating iconic designs combined with cutting-edge technologies.

How would you describe the lighting design you’ve created — ToTeM for Aqua Creation? Which areas are best suited for it?
The ToTeM collection will become Aqua Creations long-term basic lighting line. There is a need for such affordable light options that are perfect for home and commercial design. I see the collection best suitable for public spaces such as school entrances or restaurants. I also love to seem them hanging near staircases as long hang “earrings.” Since the To, Te, and M models are different in size and shape, they are suitable for both low and high ceilings. The versatility makes them great for every kind of project.

ToTeM stacked pendant light at Chang & Co.; photography: Raquel Lang

Where is the ToTem available in the Middle East and other GCC Countries?
The ToTeM collection is available in the UAE via Aqua Creations, Caspaiou Design & Interiors, and Debbas. It is also available for purchase in Turkey via Tepta Lighting in Istanbul.

How do you arrive at your design choices? What influences have there been and what practical considerations?
My preferred way to design is to solve a puzzle that is placed in front of me. The ToTeM collection is the first collection we designed to fit a client’s very specific needs. We created a lamp that would function in various modern spaces, with very good light in CRI and light power, that was LED-powered and that would be present in a space, but not dominate it. The ToTeM collection became that answer.

What do interior designers and architects tend to overlook when thinking about lighting for their projects?
Interior designers tend to overlook the impact of lighting in projects. Light is magical and lighting in a project needs to produce great light, but at the same time be pleasant to look at it. Secondly, it’s the pricing. Designers have to fit great lighting with a specific budget. The third is matching. Designers always have a conceptual design for space and the lighting should add to it. The fourth aspect is that lighting should be with LED-bulbs that are dimmable. All these considerations reflect good taste in design.

Can you tell us about a recent project/products you’ve been really pleased with, and why?
Aqua Creations just finished designing and building a 35m long lamp in a youth hostel lobby led by my pattern and project manager. I was so happy with the technology. 13 VAL (video art lamp) panels are featured and blend with a black-metal finish. The LED panels are controlled by a dedicated app that we created. I love the way the lamp changes and dominates the hostel lobby and bar ambience. I believe computerised lamps are the future of lighting.

What are the biggest trends in lighting design right now? The latest trend was called technical lighting, but now I see a movement to lighting design that can do so much more for us. We need and should get so much more from our lights rather than on and off, dim, and high CRI. Lighting should be as a hi-fi speaker that is able to play any kind of music. At the moment, most lamps are “playing” only one light. This must change for health reasons and because we can use the updated technology of computers and RGB LED. This is our focus during the last three years. This is the future of lighting.