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.
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!
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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22106718
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.
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?
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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20553143 for a description of field-induced polymer electroluminescent (Fipel) technology.
If you want to get good levels of task lighting at the basin in a bathroom you could go for a mirror with built in lights. Be careful though when choosing the mirror as the built in lights are more often than not purely decorative, and can produce glare. A better way to achieve the same effect would be to use a plain mirror with wall lights either side. This way you can get a good level of task lighting and keep the glare to a minimum.
Large contemporary sculptures, placed in the centre of a town, can have a very dramatic impact on the overall ambiance.
Include lighting as part of the sculpture and it moves to another level providing drama and spectacle at night.
For an example of just how inspiring this can be take a look at:
The 2012 Olympics were spectacular in every way, but for me, as a lighting designer, I was particularly in awe of the lighting of the opening and closing ceremonies. Wow! Amazing! Phenomenal!
The always fascinating Engadget web site reports on an LED lamp with a Bluetooth interface that lets you control the lamp from your phone. This is more of a gimmick than a practical home automation system but fun nonetheless.
See: http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/19/bluetooth-bulb-lets-you-switch-on-time-dim-and-color/ for more information
Most of my clients want a certain amount of wow factor from their lighting scheme. For some this simply involves the subtle lighting of an architectural feature or a work of art. For others something with more impact is required. This was clearly, and understandably, the case with Playboy whose lighting scheme (see below) was recently shortlisted for an award from Lighting magazine.
LED technology marches on at a pace with Osram announcing the first LED replacement for a 75W E27 lamp available in Europe
Osram reckon you will save around 400 Euros over the lifetime of the lamp compared to its filament equivalent.
Technical data includes:
- 1055 Lumen
- 30,000 hours
- @320 degrees light emission
I recently stumbled across this design concept for a street lamp. Although it is not at all practical, I love the thinking outside the box that came up with this radical design for a street lamp that is powered by the kinetic energy of a swing, and energy harvested from its solar panels.
Kids with time on their hands could be used to charge up the street lamps during the day by swinging back and forth for hours on the swing!
Click on the image for more information.
I recently got hold of a sample of a small, adjustable, surface mounted LED spot that is perfect for display cabinets and architectural highlighting.
It was love at first sight! As with all of Precision Lighting’s products it is immaculately proportioned and beautifully made.
Take a look at:
It does though really need to be seen and held to be truly appreciated.
With filament lamps it is very easy to determine if a particular dimmer switch is compatible. It either needs to be leading edge or trailing edge, and this is determined by the type of lamp and transformer to be used.
Unfortunately, life with retrofit LED lamps is not so simple. The technical specification of the dimmer switch alone is no longer sufficient. Experience has shown that it is necessary to physically test particular lamps with particular dimmers. Fortunately companies such as Philips have produced lists of compatible dimmers for their range of MasterLED lamps so as long as you choose a dimmer from the approved list you should not have a problem.
This compatibility issue means it is essential that electricians are guided to install the correct dimmer for the lamps to be used.
We run a number of CPD courses which may be of interest to Architects.
Our courses include:
1. Top Ten Lighting Tips
2. Low Energy Lighting – Facts and Myths
3. Step By Step Lighting Design
These course are available free to anyone who quotes: E26XW9FGYHZ2
I recently started offering Architects a free one hour consultation to discuss any project of their choice, as a way of introducing the variety of ways WowLighting, and lighting designers in general, can add value to their services. This has had an extremely good take up rate with lots of very happy Architects clearly seeing the benefit of getting input from a lighting specialist.
Working with Architects is always a pleasure because they are quick to see how often very simple lighting techniques can radically enhance their designs.
It is always a pleasure working on projects where the client gets actively involved in creating the most appropriate and most exciting lighting design. The more input from the client the better. The more they question the proposed scheme the better. By this process the client ends up with the best scheme possible. The end results can be spectacular.
Sadly however it sometimes happens that wonderful lighting schemes are compromised by poor implementation. It is absolutely crucial to keep the lighting designer involved to the very end of the project. This is especially true where substitute light fittings are proposed, often by the electrician on site. What is often not fully understood by clients is that the light fitting can make or break the lighting scheme.
Wall lights, for example, differ hugely in the effect they produce. Some are entirely decorative and produce very little functional light. Others are bright enough to light a whole room. If a wall light has been specified in the lighting scheme to provide ambient lighting for a room, and the client picks, without consulting the lighting designer, an alternative purely decorative fitting, the client will end up with a space that has woefully inadequate lighting.
These mistakes can be very easily avoided by consulting the lighting designer at every stage of the project to make sure that every light fitting chosen is suited to the intended task.
Never hesitate to talk to your lighting designer about every decision to do with the lighting. That is the only way you can be sure to get the lighting scheme you paid for!
I am currently working on a number of large churches where we are hoping to use some elegant custom made hoop chandeliers with low energy low maintenance LED lamps (current favourite for these lamps is the Philips 10W MasterLED).
With beautiful spaces such as churches it is important to minimise the visual impact on the building with respect to cabling and transformers. These hoops use low voltage lamps, so with up to 4 transformers per hoop, and 13 hoops per church there is a danger that the interior will be blighted by lots of ugly boxes housing the transformers.
The solution…VoltMaster from Multiload. Their very clever technology allows the transformers to be located up to 50m away from the light sources using slender low voltage cable. A very intelligent and elegant solution.
Want to add mood lighting to your living room or bedroom? Don’t have any money to spend? No problem!
One of the best lighting effects there is happens also to be the cheapest. For most of us it is free!
Ok enough fanfare … I will cut to the chase: Take an ordinary table lamp and put it on the floor in the corner of your room, preferably behind a table, chair, or large pot plant. Turn it on and you will get a discreet plume of light up the walls and onto the ceiling, effectively silhouetting the table/chair/pot-plant. The exact effect you will get will depend on the type of lampshade you have. You may find it better to take the lamp shade off.
Give it a go. You will be surprised just how wonderful the effect is.