Musings from a Lighting Designer

Thoughts on developments in lighting design and lighting products

Fast progress / slow progress with LED lamps

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 3:59 pm on Thursday, February 13, 2014

Almost every day I hear about new retrofit LED lamps becoming available. This is in many ways good news with lumen output, CRI, and price continuing to improve. Unfortunately things are not as simple as they used to be with filament lamps. You cannot rely on specification alone. There are lots of compatibility issues to consider with dimmers and transformers. Without manufacturers supplying extensive compatibility tables one cannot be sure that a new product will work properly without trying it out yourself. It is simply not possible to try out all new products. Consequently the uptake of new products is very very slow. Manufacturers really should do more to test their products and provide assurance. Indeed things are taking a step back with some well known manufacturers such as Megaman actually removing compatibility tables from their websites as they do not want to be liable. Caveat emptor is very much the rule with LED retrofit lamps. This surely has to change.

The march of the LED continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 10:18 am on Monday, January 27, 2014

I was very interested to discover today that LEDs are now being used to light the most famous painting in the world. The Mona Lisa at Paris’ Louvre museum is lit by 34 LEDs at 3200K

Mobile Pendant

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 1:16 pm on Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just come across this rather lovely mobile pendant light fitting from the supremely talented Michael Anastassiades mobile pendant

Lovely church pendant

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 4:07 pm on Monday, January 20, 2014

We do a lot of work with churches so it is always good to see how other designers work. Really love:

Full circle to task lighting for work places

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 11:58 am on Thursday, January 16, 2014

I was very pleased to read in the Dec 2013 issue of Lighting magazine about a new study from Arup that confirms what I have always thought, that task lighting is preferable in many work places to Category A overhead lighting.

Lower in energy consumption, more flexible, and much preferred by the users!

KNX is the one!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 12:57 pm on Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We regularly look at developments in lighting control systems to ensure we are using the best price:perfomance systems available. Conscious that a lighting control system is a very significant investment for most of our clients we always try to recommend the most cost effective solution.

Life has just got considerably easier for us now that KNX prices have become so competitive. Customers can now have the technically best solution at the keenest price. Going with KNX has now become a no brainer. Being a multi-vendor open standard system, supported by over 300 manufacturers, KNX is also the most future proof system on the market.

At last some straight talking about LED lamps

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 1:05 pm on Friday, October 4, 2013

Finally there is a manufacturer who talks straight about LED lamps. I strongly recommend anyone interested in ensuring they source the correct LED lamps to take a look at this web page:

Of particular note is the section on the importance of taking beam angles into account when comparing LED lamps with their halogen counterparts. It is astonishing how many very reputable manufacturers claim 50W equivalence for their LED lamps when the LED lamp has a much smaller beam angle than the 50W halogen version. Sadly too many people are fooled by this claim and end up with too little light. It is the lumen output (for the preferred colour temperature) that should be used to determine how much overall light a lamp will give, NOT the lux level immediately under the lamp.

Fabulous Church Lighting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 9:31 am on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I do quite a bit of work re-lighting old churches but so far have not had the opportunity to develop a lighting scheme for a new church. If ever I do get such an opportunity then I am sure I will take inspiration from the stunning scheme created by Mindseye for The Church of St Moritz in Augsburg. Discreet, sensitive, restful, and effective. It ticks all the boxes.

st moritz church

Work it with Water

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 6:36 pm on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How to enhance the exterior lighting for a hotel? Plonk the hotel in a massive pool and use the reflections in the water to add drama.

I love the effect created for the Crecotel Resort in Amirandes. Very simple yet stunning!

water reflections

Don’t forget natural light!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 8:28 am on Monday, September 2, 2013

It is nice to be reminded from time to time how important natural light is in any lighting scheme. Lighting schemes work best when the Architect and the lighting designer work together to make the best of the natural light in a building, or, as in this example from the fabulous Chapel of Notre Dame Du Haut, create structures with the specific purpose of providing natural light. Stunning!



Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 10:17 am on Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I love Bocci’s balls!

Beautiful and versatile they can be used in clusters to make stunning chandeliers or, as shown in this image, spread out across a ceiling to create an unusual and powerful effect. They also now come in a variety of colours that make them suitable for any location.


Move over Philips there is a better product in town

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 12:53 pm on Friday, August 23, 2013

For a long time now the Philips Master LED has been my favourite retrofit LED lamp. The 10W version has quite a punch but unfortunately has to use a fan for cooling which is not as quiet as one would like. It also has lots of compatibility issues with transformers and dimmers.

I have just finished evaluating an alternative retrofit MR16 LED lamp from a company called Soraa. This lamp is well engineered, has a class leading light distribution, broader compatibility with transformers and dimmers, and doesn’t need a fan. It is a little more expensive but worth every penny in my opinion. I will be using this lamp from now on. Sorry Philips!

The perfect garden lights?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 10:01 am on Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scientists in California think they are close to creating plants that glow brightly enough to provide useful light. These plants could be used for decorative effect in your garden, or, maybe, if bright enough, be used as marker lights along paths. Just how bright these plants turn out to be remains to be seen. We suspect they will provide no more than a very gentle glow, discernible only in the dark. But in any event they could form a novel addition to a garden lighting scheme.

It never rains but it pours

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 12:04 pm on Monday, June 10, 2013

I love this flexible and stunning chandelier designed by Thierry Gaugain. The effect is a raining cloud of OLED fittings descending from the ceiling. Between 37 and 137 fittings can be used with pretty much any suspension height you want:


Lighting reassures in public space

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 8:27 am on Monday, May 20, 2013

Badly lit public spaces can be so forbidding at night that few people want to venture there. When areas are dark there can be the fear that the space is not safe to use. Lighting designers LAPD have created a very effective and attractive lighting scheme for Gordon and Bereford Squares in Woolwich London. Particularly effective is the discreet linear lighting around the edge of the paving.


A novelty spin on the chandelier

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 9:20 am on Friday, May 17, 2013

Recently seen at Euroluce 2013 is an elegant take on the chandelier. Designed by Arik Levy for Lasvit, the JAR RGB has a central hand-blown glass bottle that contains the light source, surrounded by six multi-coloured bottles that create a variety of colour combinations. Beautiful!


Onwards and upwards

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 8:27 am on Friday, April 12, 2013

On the BBC News website is a very interesting article about a prototype LED light tube set to replace fluorescent tubes in offices and shops. This new development is capable of producing a massive 200 lumens per watt!

Don’t hold your breath though. This is not expected to reach the shops until 2015!

Take a look at:

Adding ‘daylight’ to a dark room

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 9:43 am on Monday, March 18, 2013

Providing appropriate lighting for a dark room during the day can be a challenge. Ideally the daytime lighting will make the room look as if it doesn’t need daytime lighting! This means the light source should be invisible and the light produced should be cold white, like daylight, and not warm white like conventional filament lamps.

My top three ways to achieve this are:

1. Use concealed LED strips around the edge of the ceiling to wash cold white light across the ceiling.

2. Use trimless wall recessed panels of light that mimic there being a window.

3. Use concealed floor standing uplights to wash cold white light up the walls and onto the ceiling.

The perfect match?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 9:52 am on Monday, January 7, 2013

Matching dimmer switches with mains dimmable retrofit LED lamps is a nightmare. There is only one way to be sure you have a compatible match and that is to check with both the manufacturer of the LED lamp and the manufacturer of the dimmer switch that the specific items and model numbers are compatible with each other. Unfortunately, while it is possible to ensure an acceptable match now you cannot be sure that things will work if the LED lamps are replaced in the future with different models.

Things you need to look out for when finding the perfect match include:

- What is the maximum number of LED lamps the dimmer can handle? Currently Philips recommends that the maximum loading of dimmer switches is de-rated by 90% when using their LED lamps. This means a 400W dimmer switch, for example, can only handle 40W.

- What is the minimum load the dimmer can handle?

Come in LED your time is up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Noble at 5:57 pm on Monday, December 3, 2012

Lighting technology is moving at such a pace that there is now a new lighting source on the horizon that could well give LEDs a run for their money. Take a look at for a description of field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) technology.

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