From shopping malls to high-end hotels, Victoria University (VU) alumnus Nagieb Azhar is literally lighting up Malaysia’s skyline.
A Bachelor of Engineering alumnus, Mr Azhar is the founding director of Lightwave Lighting Design – a lighting design consultancy which is responsible for illuminating some of Kuala Lumpur’s most prestigious office buildings, residential towers and shopping complexes.
Now, he is currently working on the KL118 skyscraper – set to be the tallest building in Kuala Lumpur, surpassing the Petronas Twin Towers, when it is completed in 2020.
"The lighting is designed to be integrated with the entire length of the façade," Mr Azhar explains.
"This is where I come in as the consultant for the tender, construction and commission stage of the façade lighting system," he says.
"It’s going to be a very challenging task but I’m game for it – I’ve done complicated installation and handled big projects in the past, and KL118 is another step up for me."
Leaving Malaysia to study at VU 1987, Mr Azhar graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (specialising in Building Engineering, now called Architectual Engineering) in 1992 before returning to his home country, where he began working as an electrical design consultant with global engineering firm, Norman Disney and Young.
"Ironically, I wanted to be an architect when I finished school but I couldn’t get a place at any Sydney or Melbourne universities.
"But I’m so glad I went to VU because the experience has shaped who I am today.
"During my degree I was drawn towards lighting; I found illumination engineering to be a fascinating subject because there is so much scope for creativity.
"Needless to say, I have no regrets that I wasn't an architect!"
In 2004 Mr Azhar opened Lightwave Lighting Design, specialising in lighting conceptualisation, design and project management for both commercial and private enterprises.
"Lighting design is a special discipline; it’s both science and art.
"For me, this is my creative outlet and I have been very fortunate to combine my career and passion."
Mr Azhar says the opportunity to study at VU as an international student broadened his personal and professional outlooks.
"The whole experience of living and studying in a western city like Melbourne was a journey that got me to where I am now.
"I became independent, open-minded and hard-working as a result of the experience."
His advice to students considering careers in engineering is to "identify and build on your strengths".
"Any course related to the building industry is worth pursuing as the construction industry in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia is on the rise.
"The future is bright for this industry and for its employees. As a student, you just have to believe in yourself, take chances and remember failure is not the end of everything."