Designers on your doorstep

Ilan El

Never has it been more important for the spaces we inhabit to be nurturing, uplifting and engaging. I am constantly drawn towards the way design affects people and my ability as a designer to create spatial experiences. With the ability to highlight, shift mood, create ambience and have a strong presence as a design object in its own right, lighting is the ultimate design challenge.

Thankfully, and perhaps ironically, lighting is considered part of the construction industry and therefore our business has continued apace. However, our core philosophy, that the ambience of the spaces we inhabit have a huge impact on both our mental and physical wellbeing has been brought sharply into focus. Our practice has not so much altered but evolved and expanded as more people realise the importance of design, and particularly light, to maintain and improve their physical and emotional wellness and comfort.

Never has it been more important for the spaces we inhabit to be nurturing, uplifting and engaging.

I have watched with absolute joy the journey of Fitzroy Street’s new Price Centre. Its use of such a solid material as concrete in a way that is so light, airy and fluid is mastery of architecture and engineering. It fosters pride in who we are, not just as members of the LGBTQI community but as Melbournians and represents the diversity of its occupants. The new Pride centre provides a memorable and exuberant identity, enhancing inclusiveness and belonging.

The toilet is my favourite space in my home. No, seriously. My home is an old warehouse space and had been neglected for many years. Between lockdowns, I was lucky enough to renovate the smallest room in my home. It was old, grubby and purely utilitarian. I had a new ceiling installed, had it repainted and installed one of our interactive colour-changing feature pieces in there. The piece features a moss panel providing a visual softness. The colour changing aura allows for a play of light throughout the small space. Two timber pendant lights were installed next to the sink and a shelving unit, made from an old print tray brought a whimsical element to the space. Each time I go in there it brings a smile to my face. And when friends visit (when lockdowns allow) one can often hear a giggle as they set the light colour to suit them. So much joy from such a tiny, and often-overlooked space.  

The Cannon Vase holds an important place in my heart. It symbolises peace and is actually a very personal design of mine, inspired by an old song ‘Flowers in the Barrel’ sung in my years of National Military Service. Yes, once upon a time I was a military man, trained in the Air Force as an officer and therefore required to complete four years of service. I was but a boy when conscripted and left a man, equipped with skills and self-discipline to succeed in civilian life along with a yearning for peace and acceptance throughout the world. The image of flowers in a gun’s barrel or a tank’s turret is an image that has been used as a peaceful protest against war and violence. The Cannon Vase is the embodiment of a desire for peace and acceptance throughout the world.

Our inability to travel overseas has had me pining for my family and friends back in Israel. Connecting to our collective culture is so important so I have found myself returning to the flavours of my roots: a Moroccan Semolina Soup - my version of healthy comfort food.


  • 2 litres of water + chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 dozen cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch coriander (enough to fill 1 cup chopped)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 & 1/2 cups coarse semolina (Gluten-free)

1. In a large pot, combine the water, stock, oil, chopped coriander and garlic

2 Add the semolina gradually while stirring to avoid lumps 

3. Cook for 5-10 min and serve!

IMAGES [Top to bottom] > All images courtesy of the artist
> Victorian Pride Centre image source > Recipe image source: unsplash

Designers on your doorstep

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