LISA HINDERDAEL: Using Light to Power Change

Every once in a while, we connect with someone that just glows with passion and perspective. That was my experience with Lisa. I couldn’t stop asking questions, and when we were done, I felt like I had a fresh perspective on the world of architecture and design. She has such vision and excitement about her work. Her fascination with light and ways to create an experience with illumination were fascinating. Her work speaks volumes about her talent, but one of her greatest assets is her business mind. I hope you enjoy learning about Lisa as much as I did. I couldn’t be more excited about HagenHinderdael and all they represent. I have interviewed both partners in the past, but this time was special. Different. Illuminating.

Lisa Hinderdael, Architect

Lisa is co-founder at HagenHinderdael, a London based collaborative practice creating decorative lights, products, and interactive installations. HH’s ethos is to design with the afterlife of our lights and installations in mind. Working closely with local craftsmen to combine skilled methodologies with sustainable materials and cutting-edge technology, we produce elements and experiences that bear the incentive of a continuous afterlife.

Hinderdael was trained in architecture and urban design and focuses on the creative vision of HagenHinderdael’s lighting range. With an eye for detail and delivery, she is responsible for turning the HagenHinderdael ideas into reality – resolving the technical design of products and providing the studio’s logistical management. She also oversees operations and finances.

Prior to launching HagenHinderdael, Lisa was Operations Partner at Design Haus Liberty where she was responsible for the running of both architecture and lighting business. This double outlet allowed her to foster her creative passion for light and installation design and led to her starting her own lighting business inspired by nature and its geometries. Lisa designed the award-winning teardrop light and has managed the design and delivery of several bespoke installations including Simorg at Cardiff Stadium 2018, Dewfall at the Venice Biennale 2016, and Mercury at South Bank Tower 2015. Her luxury lighting designs can be found across several high-end brands including Cartier, the Four Seasons, and the Waldorf Astoria. Lisa graduated with a Masters in Architecture in Urban Design from London’s Bartlett School of Architecture in 2012. She was a traveling scholar to the Veneto in 2010.


Where’s your favorite place in the world and why?

Laos. From the 4000 Islands to Konglor Cave and the 2-day slowboat down the Mekong– every step of visiting this amazing country was an adventure. I recommend that anyone who hasn’t been to get this one on your bucket list fast! The transport links may not always be the easiest, but if you allow yourself to unwind and slow down, you won’t regret it!

What’s the last thing you watched or read? How was it?

I have an odd obsession with crime series and earlier this year binged on Unsolved Mysteries. To lighten the spirits, more recently I watched a Netflix comedy detective series called Swedish Dicks. Just finished the last episode yesterday 😊 The last thing I read was No Need To Die, gifted to me by Steve Edge. It may be short and sweet, but I felt like I could relate to so many of the tips being given. If you ever need some lifehacks and are someone who doesn’t enjoy reading – this book is for you! The last thing I heard was Trump’s rhetoric and actions bring the US to a stage seven out of 10 on the genocide counter. It’s a terrifying graphic if you ever look at it!

What’s an interesting problem you wish you could solve?

How to survive natural disasters in a sustainable way – if I could design the world’s first floating city, that would be my dream job! I have always wanted to help those in the wake of storms and spent several years post-Katrina rebuilding homes in New Orleans and researching how small scale interventions in the public realm could revitalize a community hit by natural disaster.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Our vision for The World’s Largest Tea Pot!

How do you best learn?

By doing. I really believe that if at first you don’t succeed, try try again – as there is nothing more satisfying than finding the solution to something you have worked hard at.

Tell us about starting a business during a global pandemic.

I can honestly look back and say, no regrets. Yes – it’s been the hardest time ever to start up. But it has also been the one time where the world seems to be at your feet. All of your high profile contacts are no longer jet setting around the world and everyone is re-thinking what their business strategy is. Whilst they do this and catch up, you are almost a step ahead as you have entered the game with a fresh strategy and no overheads!

Tell me about a time you had difficulty working with a group. What were the dynamics that made it difficult and how did you solve the problem?

When I first started in my professional career, I struggled to speak up and voice my opinions as I often felt too young. But what I quickly learnt is that we are all working towards the same goal and so the more I voiced my opinions, the more I was respected and able to push things forward. I would say to anyone, if you ever feel too young – you are not! Sometimes the freshest minds have the best ideas, so listen to your peers, work as a team, and let your brain be a sponge to new generations of knowledge.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

My partner. I have to give him so much credit for being my rock and keeping a smile on my face through a tumultuous few years of loss. I always go back to one of our first photos that still hangs in our flat. I am sprawled out on the kitchen floor crying my eyes out in laughter and holding my stomach in pain– and about what? Absolutely nothing! Those are the moments I cherish.

Tell me how you prioritize your time and projects.

Calendars & set appointment times. I am someone who strongly believes that if you don’t respect your own time, nobody will respect it in return. I don’t like last minute meetings because I think they actually make us much more inefficient people – never having the full picture and spending far longer resolving something that hasn’t been prepared for properly. I am not afraid to tell someone they need to wait, if it means I am going to deliver them a better end product.

If you could go back and give yourself advice in college, what would it be?

I don’t believe in looking back. I think it’s important to reflect on our lives but who we are changes and moulds so much as we grow up. But if I could instead say thank you for a piece of advice I did once receive – “just make sure to always do what you love.” Yes, the money matters but if you don’t have the passion and drive for what you do – what is the point? I would much rather spend the rest of my life paying myself minimum wage and loving what I do, than getting good pay but doing something that doesn’t motivate me.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? What did you learn?

Quitting a stable job and throwing my life plan out the window to travel Southeast Asia with my partner. As someone who plans everything and has an itinerary for every trip I take, I heeded a good friends advice to not pre-plan anything. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. It may mean we have to delay children for a few years or look at changing our lifestyle, but the memories and experiences are irreplaceable. And learning to let go and live in the moment was a great life lesson.

What’s your favorite quote?

The quote I always go back to is the final line of the Great Gatsby: “… so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” I don’t know why, but I always felt a resonation to this metaphor – as if the whole world we live in is just a rat race to achieve goals and milestones set as the norm or right way by society, and for what purpose? I never was someone who enjoyed reading as I have been a creative my whole life, but this is just one of those quotes that sticks with me. But ask me what the book was about and I honestly cannot recall.

Interview conducted by Anna Sirmeyer.