Lighting designer Noha Mohsen displays the fundamentals of light that her studio Enlighten champions through her own airy home in El Gouna.
What sets the tone when you walk into a room? Is it your pose, your stride, how fashionably late you are? Actually it has nothing to do with you, it’s all about the lighting. Our moods are enslaved to it. Even an art gallery that exclusively displays adorable pastel pictures of children playing with kittens can look sinister under the wrong lighting. And that principle applies everywhere, even to your own home. A principle that designer Noha Mohsen, Founder of Enlighten, was more than happy to demonstrate while she was repurposing her El Gouna abode.“People don’t realise that they’re living in bad lighting until they try good lighting,” lighting designer Noha Mohsen, Founder of Enlighten, tells #SceneHome. “I wanted to give our home a facelift, applying lights only when necessary.”
Her approach towards her home reflects how Enlighten tackles their ‘Projects We Love’ initiative, whereupon they provide lighting solutions to enhance existing spaces.
Back in El Gouna, Mohsen takes us through the kitchen which uses task lighting such as linear lights below the cabinet, while a second set above it provides some special effects. “There are two aspects to lighting, the design and the experience,” Mohsen explains. “Architectural lighting is what gives soul to the space and influential lighting dictates how it’s experienced.” This sophisticated arrangement is thin but emits plenty of light with options that range from cosy to - frankly - sexy.
Mohsen studied interior design in London, followed by an MBA in New York. When she returned to Egypt she wanted to do something different. Spotting a lack of lighting options, Mohsen launched her lighting showroom in 2008, introducing contemporary options at a time when they were limited.
Influential lighting comes in a wide range and in this home, a decorative example hangs over the dining table. “The space is airy and has an Indian influence. We went with lighting pendants that have a contemporary lantern design with golden rods that diffuse the light and make the space feel cosy,” Mohsen says. “Using one or two products created a sense of harmony. Mixing a variety could lead to a noisy space.”
A long track leads the way into her home, linking the dining room and the two tracks in the living room. “The geometry needs to be considered when using linear tracks so that they serve the space best while minimising the lines,” Mohsen says of the living room. It features tracks that start at the blue adapted painting by Adel El Siwi, and passes over the coffee table in the middle. “From there it’s the hidden lights that set the experience.”
Such lights are applied behind the sofa and around the window, creating a nuanced yet beautiful setting that complements the city lights outdoors. As for the warmly hued terrace it features a tray from Mohsen’s collection and through it she displays even more fundamentals. “Setting the ambiance requires self-restraint. The trick is to know that lighting the tray in the terrace is enough to light the whole space.”
Linear lights were used to create a sense of balance, and according to Mohsen, it’s essential to keep colour temperatures constant and warm at home. “The amount of light is influenced by the colour palette,” she explains. “Had it been a darker interior I would’ve increased the amount but kept the temperature warm.” Colour depends on the energy you want your space to exude. At home, we need to see well but also wind down.
“It’s important to know early on what are the things you want to highlight,” Mohsen says. “For me, it was the artwork.” As an art collector, Mohsen developed an acute sense of technical lighting to display her possessions. Unifying the light source allowed artworks to do the talking. “In a lot of cases people aren’t sure of what they are going to hang ahead of schedule. So the lighting needs to be approached with versatility.”
Back in her Giza home, Mohsen struggled with not being able to light her art. In El Gouna, spots did the trick for her. As for the house as a whole, it showcases what Mohsen and Enlighten constantly strive for, spreading knowledge about the energy of light and the effect it has on well-being. “The best compliment I’ve gotten for our work is that people are feeling better in spaces we design.”