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Illuminating Luxury: Karen Mannheim's Visionary Journey in Lighting Design

Karen Mannheim's journey in the world of luxury lighting design is a narrative of passion, precision, and innovation. As the guiding force behind TRAZZO, a company with three decades of excellence in Peru, she has led hundreds of projects, shaping spaces with light and elegance.

TRAZZO, renowned for representing exclusive brands like Minotti and Iguzzini, stands as a testament to Karen's commitment to quality and cutting-edge design. Her venture into the U.S. market, especially in elite locales like Golden Beach, and Fisher Island, showcases her ability to blend artistic vision with technical expertise, redefining luxury living with each project.

"Karen, could you briefly tell us about your transition from business studies to becoming a renowned lighting designer in the luxury sector?"

"I began in lighting design at 21, initially viewing it as a business. However, I quickly found a deeper passion for the art and science of lighting. Influenced by the likes of Piero Lissoni and his views on light's impact on space, I immersed myself in this world.

My education came from hands-on work, experimenting and learning in Italy and Peru. These experiences, over 30 years, have honed my skills, leading me to specialize in luxury design, where I combine technical expertise with creative vision to transform spaces."

"In your experience working with high-net-worth individuals, how do you tailor your lighting designs to align with their unique lifestyles and personal tastes?"

In crafting spaces for high-net-worth clients, I delve into creating sensorial experiences. Envision a client unwinding on a sumptuous velvet sofa, cradling a glass of rich, amber Scotch, as the soothing melodies of Armstrong and Fitzgerald's 'Summertime' fill the air.

My role is to design lighting that complements this moment of indulgence. I imagine a soft, warm glow enveloping the room, harmonizing with the jazz notes, casting a gentle light that accentuates the deep, comforting embrace of the sofa and the reflective dance on the Scotch glass.

This lighting isn't just about illumination; it's about enhancing the experience, where each sip of Scotch and each note of music is cradled in a tender luminance. With carefully chosen fixtures and strategic positioning, I create a space that's not just seen but deeply felt, a haven where light and melody blend seamlessly, resonating with the soulful rhythm of 'Summertime.'

"For homeowners or those about to build their dream home, could you share some key lighting design tips to enhance both the beauty and functionality of their spaces?"

"Lighting in your dream home should be an intimate dance between form and function, reflecting your passions and lifestyle. Envision a cozy corner, bathed in soft, warm light, perfect for sinking into with a vintage wine after a long day.

It's a haven for the senses, where the glow gently caresses each page of your favorite novel. In the kitchen, imagine precision lighting that cascades over granite countertops, turning meal preparation into an art form. It’s here that the aroma of fresh herbs and the sizzle of a gourmet dish come alive under a luminous spotlight.

For the art aficionado, directional lights can create a personal gallery, where each piece of art tells its story under a flattering beam.

Every light in your home should not just illuminate but also evoke emotions, crafting an ambiance that’s both luxurious and deeply personal."

What is your personal philosophy when it comes to lighting design, especially for high-end residential projects, and how do you ensure that each project reflects the individuality of your clients?"

"My lighting design philosophy emphasizes enhancing life quality and space. Collaborating with architects and designers, like Miami's Deborah Wecselman, is crucial for creating spaces where light subtly transforms.

Advocating a 'less is more' approach, I focus on the light source, ensuring it complements the design. Each project is a unique narrative, reflecting the client's lifestyle and preferences, seamlessly integrating lighting to elevate spaces beyond just illumination.

"What are your goals for luxury lighting design as you expand in the US and internationally, and how do you aim to innovate?"

Expanding globally, my latest endeavors include projects in the Middle East and closer to home. In Peru, I'm working on PEZET 3, the pinnacle of luxury multifamily living and my third collaboration with the esteemed RAMSA, led by the iconic Robert A.M. Stern, renowned for landmarks like 15 Central Park West.

Such collaborations, including an in-progress project in Golden Beach with Wecselman Design by Deborah Wecselman, continually push my creative boundaries. These partnerships are opportunities to redefine luxury lighting, creating spaces that are not just illuminated but vibrantly alive. My vision is to craft homes as bespoke sanctuaries, echoing each resident's unique story.

Image credit: Kike San Martín; Styling: Eva Sarragosa

Explore my projects and join our community of design lovers at, on Instagram @karen_mannheim, and connect with me on LinkedIn for more insights into the world of luxury lighting design.

By ML staff.


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