From adopting new technology to enhancing spaces and lives, Occhio’s luminaires are about more than shining a light
It is by no means coincidental that the Occhio brand is named after the Italian word for “eye”. For this groundbreaking international lighting company, the act of seeing is at the heart of its work, producing visually pleasing pieces of design that are also functional. “We bring the culture of light to the people,” Occhio founder and designer Axel Meise says of his unique vision. “Our light should not just illuminate a room, it should get a living space to shine.”
Axel’s astuteness emerged as a student in the mid-1980s in Germany. Dropping out of mechanical engineering studies, he began to design, build and sell lighting systems instead – his first attempt was not a “resounding success”, but it drove him onwards nevertheless.
“Light for the people, light for the architecture of today” is Axel’s ethos. “We enable people to give character to their living spaces. Because the demands on light are diverse, our systems offer a maximum of design freedom. We don’t just have a collection of luminaires, but rather a sophisticated portfolio of precisely co-ordinated products.” This portfolio is clearly and simply structured, with a holistic concept. “It is one of a kind in terms of scope and possibilities for use, allowing perfect solutions for every situation, room, apartment and house, in private spaces as well as in a commercial setting.”
Founded in Munich in 1999, the company started with a singular idea that was as simple as it was revolutionary: to create a lighting system that is consistent in design, lighting quality and “joy of use”. It began with what Axel dubs “truly disruptive” halogen technology – on which the Sento luminaire series and then the Più spotlights were based.
“Radical” LED technology followed, opening up new possibilities for Occhio in both design and control. “This can be seen in the Mito series, with which we have pursued completely new approaches, technically and in terms of design,” says Axel.
What makes the brand so different from the rest is its philosophy that quality of light gives quality of life. “Everyone feels this, but not everyone is aware of it. Raising awareness for this is our credo and part of our excitement.”
Axel’s passion is reflected in everything Occhio designs and makes. “Our products have the user focus in their DNA. We work on well-thought-out, intelligent concepts and systems that effectively meet the needs of our customers around the world. In doing so, we question ourselves daily in everything we do.”
Today, Occhio is one of the most innovative and fast-growing companies in the industry, designing products from its home in the heart of Munich and distributing them to more than 450 lighting and furniture retail partners, as well as its own flagship stores, from Germany (Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin) to Milan, and London to Shanghai. The breadth of design is ever-expanding, and Occhio’s collaborations show how far it has come over the past two decades, from its exceptional lighting design for Tohru Nakamura’s two-Michelin-star Munich restaurant, Tohru in der Schreiberei, to its long-lasting work with international brands, such as Rolls-Royce, Gaggenau and Walter Knoll. “Relationships are always our focus, between people and light, and between people and people.”
Guided by its origins, innovation is Occhio’s driving force. “What we do, we do with great joy. This is tangible every day at Occhio, in the stores and in the way we work together.”