Let there be light

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What began as an experiment during lockdown has culminated into a full-fledged business in timber lighting for 17-year-old Nicole Liz Faria. NT BUZZ gets enlightened

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ

Since childhood, Nicole Liz Faria has always been fascinated by the concept of lights. And as a Class 12 student in Science stream, her interest in it only evolved further. She would cut holes on paper sheets, cardboard, leaves, and glass to see how the lighting would be affected. “I tried it out with different densities of the torch light,” she says, adding that the ample time on hand during the lockdown gave her an opportunity to delve into this more. A self-taught wood designer, she then decided to begin experimenting with wooden light fixings. Given the availability of bamboo in her neighbourhood, she chose that as her medium.

And what began as a lockdown experiment has now culminated into a business for the 17-year-old, who is also into athletics. Indeed, encouraged by the support that she received from friends and family who were amazed by her lamps, ceiling lighting, etc, she began her own design studio at home where she works on wood light fixtures.

Although initially a one-person team, with her online classes beginning, she now has a carpenter and a few other people to help her out.

The youngster first works on a new design herself. “I don’t use the computer to make my designs as the computer does not give me the feel of the finished product I want,” she says. She then gets to work on the first creation featuring the new design, doing everything right from the wood to electrical wires to bulbs. Sometimes, she says, it takes four to five rounds to get it right.

She plays with light and shadow and also with colour and cane and wood a lot. “Wood gives you a lot of flexibility to play with. I work with both soft and hard wood, be it teak, mango, siris, palm, etc. And you don’t have to burn carbon to prepare the finished product,” she says, adding that the idea is to make the designs as natural as possible. There is no use of steel or iron. The bamboo is bought from a local supplier, bulbs are bought from an electric shop, while cane baskets are sourced from Assam.

Once the first light is made, the team of electrician, carpenter, and wood treatment and varnishing people take over, to create more of the same design as required.

Within a few months of her starting this venture, Faria has made a name for herself, as the response she has been receiving is quite overwhelming. “My father’s office manager saw my designs and decided to help me commercialise the idea,” she says, adding that she has also advertised on

WhatsApp and people were fascinated by the designs.

The work she does, she says has to have the ‘wow’ factor to it.  “The client should love it. If it’s not a ‘wow’ then I am out of business,” she says.

At present, she is designing a bakery in Panaji and a kitchen garden concept.  She has also been signed by vice president of Food and Beverages, GoldStone Hotels and Resorts, India and co-founder of Atharvshala, Chef Sunil Soni to replicate this bakery store design to more than 2500 stores nationwide. “Even though dad knows Chef Sunil I had to present my idea to get it. It was not easy but I knew I was hitting the right cord,” she adds.

She is also working on an art café based in Mumbai, apart from seven other brands. These will be done in the next nine months. “I also have another big project which could hit the international market next month if all goes right,” she says, adding that she prefers working with brands that are going to have chains in the hospitality food space. “I don’t mind doing individual stores too provided that there is no interference with my creative skills on the designs,” she says.