Women in Office Design – Marcela Pomphrey

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This month’s Women in Office Design (WOD) column features Marcela Pomphrey, Founder and Marketing Director at 299 Lighting.

Getting Started ….

I came into the workspace industry late. Personally, I think this is a good thing because it gives me a great perspective from other industries.

My background is fairly unconventional as well. I was born behind the Iron Curtain, in the former Czechoslovakia. I studied German Literature and Journalism at University, planning to pursue a career of German literature translator. Luckily for me, life didn’t follow that plan.

In 2005, I arrived in the UK, without very good English. While at Air France at London City Airport I worked hard on my English and moved up from the check-in desk to Duty Manager.

Three years later, I landed the job that changed my work life. Thanks to my talent for languages and my ‘go getter’ attitude, I earned the opportunity to work for performance cycle clothing brand Endura and develop the brand in Europe.

In 2009, my husband and I started our own business from our kitchen table as 299 Lighting. My role was looking after our marketing. Coming from outside the industry, I instantly broke all the ‘rules’. We were more fun and more creative than other lighting companies.

Daily Life ….

As Marketing Director, I lead the company’s creative vision. We have a strong identity and an enormous passion that has fuelled us from the first days around our kitchen table. My role is to make sure we stay true to this, every day. I have a fantastic team of five and work with some external companies on very specific projects.

What can the industry do better to promote careers for women in design …

I have seen a large shift in more women coming into the industry over the last 12 years. Women in Property and Women in Lighting are do a great job engaging women and inspiring more to join the industry. Many companies are doing great work, talking to students and presenting the industry as an excellent place to work. At 299, we are huge fans of the Apprenticeship scheme, offering opportunities and starting people in a career.

What current topic or trend are you particularly excited about?

Wireless technology in lighting is definitely a trend that is taking off. Each brief is now requesting sensors, wireless controls and lighting that offers more than just illumination. Our RIBA-approved CPD course on Wireless Lighting is proving very popular. We are also excited about the potential of additive manufacturing and 3D printing.


About Women in Office Design

Women in Office Design is a networking and learning platform for like-minded women in the workplace design industry. Founded in May 2018 by Harsha Kotak, an interior designer with a vision to inspire and empower women working in all areas of the office design industry, WOD is a growing network of 1500 plus global members. www.woduk.com
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