Lights On: John Chua of GRVTY Media On The Essentiality Of Thoughtful Light Planning

Most of us normally don’t think twice about where the lights in our home go, as long as they’re placed in the general positions. A pendant lamp above the dining table, some task lights for the kitchen countertop, and a couple of ambient lights in the bedroom and we’ll call it a day. But when John Chua, co-founder of the digital media group GRVTY Media realised what a godsend good light planning was after he settled into his home. 

With the help of Sol Luminaire’s experts, his new abode is now tastefully - and precisely - lit up so no corner goes dark, and each luminaire has been placed to illuminate what it’s meant to.

What’s the story behind GRVTY Media?

GRVTY is a story of preparing yourself for opportunities, having the alignment of timing, opportunity and saying yes to things that scare us.

From how my co-founder Jacky reached out to me, to how we started from one brand Vulcan Post, the creation of MOSG, The Daily Ketchup, DiscoverSG, R U OK (and more) to how we became a full suite creative and content agency, it really has been a story of saying “yes, why not. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Throughout our journey, we have been blessed with countless benefactors in the form of our team members, clients and investors.

How has the media landscape changed over the years?

Algorithm shifts have affected how the media game is played. While it means we can game it - to a certain extent - and optimise it for our clients, it does not reward open-minded creativity. That’s why we are seeing the same formats being copied and repeated to death on TikTok, YouTube and even in movies.

It’s a new game now that requires you to time your audience, create the audience, market to your audience, retain your audience and if you got it right, wait for it to be imitated so that the market size increases for the industry. Then you go again.

I’m not complaining though. It’s pretty fun too.

How would you describe your home and what were your main inspirations behind the design of your space?

I take zero credit for how my home turned out. My very talented interior designer Shuwen from Rezt & Relax tasked the both of us to create our own mood board and long story short, we executed my wife’s vision.

We host quite a bit and wanted the space to fe"We host quite a bit and wanted the space to feel open and intimate but also inviting. A place we’d be excited to go home to."el open and intimate but also inviting. A place we’d be excited to go home to and a place where we feel comfortable falling asleep or lazing around anywhere. "We host quite a bit and wanted the space to feel open and intimate but also inviting. A place we’d be excited to go home to."

Do you have a favourite room and why?

Definitely the living area. The space is connected such that one can see the living room, dining room and balcony all at once. That’s one of the main reasons we bought the place!

Throughout the house, we planned for and placed visual anchors that encourage you to look closer. From the quirky Boba lights to the uncluttered balcony view to the huge Mytilus pendant lights that look like a 3D sculpture that hangs above the custom dining table.

The kind people at Sol Luminaire also took our home’s layout and planned the lights for us so that the house is perfectly lit.

How did you incorporate spaces for work within your home?

While I mostly work from the office, I do spend a lot of time at home. As such, it’s very important that I’m able to adjust the temperature of the lighting so that the same environment can condition me to be productive or to unwind.

We also picked Sol Luminaire for 90% of our lights because we can easily film our vlogs at home without worrying about the flickers in the footage caused by the camera’s frame rate.

Why did you choose the lights you picked?

We heeded most of the lighting recommendations from Kai and Owen from Sol Luminaire. Listening to them planning for lighting reflections on our television, highlighting certain spots and intentionally not lighting certain parts, we knew we were in good hands and had no business trying to plan it ourselves.

After settling into our new home, we started to really appreciate the thought placed into every lighting point. Like the quirky flamboyant lights that draw the eyes up to the curved ceilings or how there aren’t any lights above the bed. There are also tiny understated lights that don't draw attention away from the anchors of the space yet brightly light up each room.

Which is your favourite Sol Luminaire light?

It has to be the most expensive light in the house, the pendant light from the Mytilus Series.

When my wife and I first laid eyes on it in the showroom, we looked at each other and nodded in unison. But because it was pricier than other pendant lights, we told ourselves that we were going to look around first. That became the benchmark for the 20 other lighting boutiques we went to and we couldn’t get the Mytilus pendant light out of our heads.

Even when it’s turned off, it looks like a floating sculpture in the middle of our living area. Also knowing that every piece is a handmade 1-of-1 really made the case for us.

I have to admit it was a slight splurge. But seeing it in my home, I have no regrets. I’m 100% taking it with me when I move.