DHA Designs is an internationally successful lighting design consultancy based in Studio 4, 6-8 Cole Street.
The company provides both interior and exterior lighting designs for everything from museums and galleries to restaurants and hotels—even lighting ships, aircrafts and trains—with an impressive portfolio of clients from across the globe.
DHA Designs was incorporated in November 1988 and boasts 30 years of uninterrupted trading, all of it in the SE1 area with the last 14 years here in Cole Street.
Desmond O’Donovan is one of five partners & directors of the company: “All five of us have more than 20 years of service with DHA showing how we are a loyal tight knit team. We have three other full time designers who work with us here in Cole Street plus a part time
accountant. We have a range of skills honed in architecture, interiors, product design, engineering and theatre.”
DHA stands for David Hersey Associates and was founded by Tony award winning lighting designer David Hersey. David is one of the world’s leading theatrical lighting designers, having created the lighting for shows such as ‘CATS’, ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘Miss Saigon.’ He is retired from DHA Designs although he remains involved in theatrical projects from time to time.
Explains Desmond: “David and his assistant at the time, Adam Grater, saw a gap in the market back in the late 80s for theatrical lighting to be used in architectural projects, particularly museums and exhibitions. DHA Designs was formed to fill that gap at a time when lighting design was an emerging discipline. It is now much more widely recognised and our skills are seen as essential in the delivery of a quality environment, be it a building façade, a permanent exhibition or a restaurant interior.
“Being a highly collaborative business, often with intensive long-term ventures, we have been fortunate enough to work with some great people such as Future Systems architects on projects like Selfridges in Birmingham. We also enjoy close relationships with some of this country’s great museums such as the British Museum, V&A, Science and Natural History museums to name just a few.
“My most interesting client is the Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn who’s been with us for decades—David worked on the Mirage Hotel, designing the famous volcano, and then the Buccaneer Bay show at Treasure Island. I joined DHA in 1996 to work on the iconic Bellagio Hotel below; an incredible experience!”
Despite the glamour and obvious excitement derived from commissions abroad, Desmond says it’s always good to come back to the office in Trinity Village and catch up with the team.
“We have always loved the SE1 area, moving to Trinity Village from Waterloo in 2003. We enjoy the local feel and the new restaurants that keep popping up around us. When we moved here it was much quieter but there was less variety in terms of food and other services. Now we are spoilt for choice!”
© 2019 The Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond. All Rights Reserved.
Registered charity in England and Wales under charity registration number 211869.
Registered office: Trinity House, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4DH.