Ramy Makhaly

"Alien with Extraordinary Abilities." That is how the US Immigration identifies Ramy Makhaly's Artist Visa and status in the United States. After receiving his master’s degree in lighting design at NYSID, Ramy has made it his mission to learn as much as possible about architectural lighting, and light itself as a medium. Following graduation, Ramy was offered a position at Office for Visual Interaction (OVI) and immediately made himself visible amongst the team.

Throughout his career, Ramy insisted on feeding his design curiosity by constantly being a part of an array of projects to make sure he was learning everything he could about lighting and what they entailed.

Currently, Ramy is a leading project manager. In addition to his day-to-day job activities, he is responsible for developing lighting design strategies for iconic architectural international projects with world renowned Architects including Zaha Hadid Architects, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, Foster+Partners, Kohn Pedersen Fox and others, as well as training other designers on his team.

Ramy has recently been named 40 Under 40 North America by Lighting Illumination in Architecture magazine.


Where are you now and what kind of work/projects are you currently working on?

I am a project manager at Office for Visual Interaction (OVI), an internationally acclaimed lighting design studio based in NYC, specializing in leading design and management for iconic architectural international projects ranging from commercial towers, masterplans to condominium buildings, and public parks, with world renowned Architects like Zaha Hadid Architects, Foster+Partners, and more.

How did NYSID prepare you for where you are today? 

NYSID’s MPS-L program has given me a broad understanding of lighting design, specifically in the architectural industry. I was given the opportunity to learn various skills that has helped me in my career including: AGI32, creating mock-ups, and presentation skills. I was often challenged during my time at NYSID to come up with creative solutions, utilize my interior design background, and to think of innovative and integrated architectural lighting solutions. The combination of these hands-on and conceptual skills have helped me reach where I am today in my career.

What career advice do you have for current students?  What is critical for the future professional?

My advice would be to have an open design mind. I remember always wanting to have my brand, and my signature when developing designs during my studies. I am continuously learning that true design is not something you can brand or mark. True design – in my opinion – is responsive and flexible, made to fit for the people who will be using the space. Another piece of advice I would give to current students is to try all different facets of lighting design. For example, different project types – exposure to different experiences, no matter how much you like or dislike a certain project type, taught me the lessons I needed to be in the position I am in today.

Who influenced you?

During my course of study, Charles Cameron was the program director. He was very influential because he taught me about real life, value-engineering, lighting controls, coordinating with other trades, and so much more.

Eric Chenault was also influential. Although his course was very technical and specific to lighting technology, he taught me about humility and design language. His way of interacting with people and talking about Design was an inspiration to me.