SORAA Luminaries: Martin Barclay
April 2019 - by SORAA
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Martin Barclay brings a high-end approach to lighting projects no matter where he goes. As SORAA’s specification sales manager in the United Kingdom, Barclay works closely with lighting design firms and specifiers to identify effective design solutions for any space.
Throughout his 25 years in the lighting industry, he has worked with top lighting companies and manufacturers, in addition to running his own lighting design and supply company focused on illuminating upscale residential projects worldwide.
Read our interview with Barclay to learn more about his passion for light, career milestones and predictions for the lighting industry’s future.
When and how did you discover your passion for light?
The lighting design industry didn't really exist when I was starting my career. People just fell into it. I always had a passion for design, and once I found lighting, I fell in love with it. I am still in love with the industry and lighting to this day.
How would you articulate your philosophy about lighting?
Always think in terms of layers of light, with each layer having its own task to achieve. Design with the thought of setting a scene. Only light what's worth lighting—don't waste it.
What is one thing everyone should know about light?
Light is invisible until it reflects against an object. Only then do you see the effect of light.
What drew you to work at SORAA?
Before joining SORAA, I was working at Light Projects in London. They were one of the first SORAA distributors in the UK. So, I have known SORAA and worked with its products for many years. I only work for quality brands and liked SORAA’s approach. Having found out that SORAA was about to launch a range of fixtures, I ask to join the company.
What separates SORAA from other lighting companies?
The quality of light, the convenience of the SORAA Snap System™ and our ever-changing, innovative product lines.
How would clients describe their experience working with you?
Hopefully fun, honest and willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.
What do people appreciate most about your approach to lighting?
My experience, product knowledge and honesty.
What lighting design project are you most proud of?
I designed the lighting for La Zagaletta, a private house in Spain, which ranked Number Four in the world's Top 100 homes in 2007.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young person in the lighting industry, what would you say?
The lighting industry is a phenomenal place to be. The people are great and very diverse in character. I have traveled around the world and have seen places that not many other people have seen. All of this has come from the lighting industry. The best advice I can give anyone in specification sales is: Be yourself, be honest and enjoy the experience.
How do you think the lighting industry will change in the future?
There is good and bad coming. The Bad: Lighting is becoming a commodity. Large companies will likely take over, producing cheap light with poor design. The Good: This will allow creative companies like SORAA to really shine above mediocre, mass-produced products that are already starting to take over the market.