Happy Birthday to us Happy Birthday to us ….

We are 10!

It is now 10 years since we started WowLighting. And what an amazing 10 years it has been. The breadth and width of our customer base has been truly amazing.

In the 10 busy years since WowLighting started it has created lighting schemes for new build homes, refurbishments, hotels, restaurants, shops, churches, galleries, offices, sports centres, schools, etc., and has worked on projects for Channel 4’s Grand Designs and ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen. WowLighting works throughout the UK and abroad in countries including France, Spain, Ireland, USA, Tobago, Barbados, and Cambodia.

A celebration is in order so….

WowLighting is giving out prizes! The winner of our free entry competition will receive 10 hours of free lighting design consultation! This should be enough to create a fully specified lighting scheme for one or two rooms. But that is not all. We are also giving 10 lucky runners up a free 1 hour consultation. The competition is open to anyone including Architects, property developers, builders, and home and business owners, or even just the curious!

To enter simply send an email to info@wowlighting.co.uk with the subject “Competition”. Please include your full contact details as well. The prize draw takes place on September 29th winners will be notified shortly thereafter.

Now for some birthday cake :)

In praise of Maurice Brill

I often admire the work of other lighting designers but no more so than the work of Maurice Brill. It is the drama of his work that particularly appeals. Perhaps it is our shared background in Theatre lighting that draws me to his work. Hard to pick an example from so many stunning images though.

mb_square

Jep the thing for offices

Office lighting is too often hard edged and ugly so I was pleased to come across a range of office lighting products from Spectral Lighting that soften the impact and make for a gentler environment. Take a look at: http://www.spectral-online.de/en/produkte/produkte-familien/jep.html

000_Jep_startbild

Fast progress / slow progress with LED lamps

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.

KNX is the one!

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

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:

http://media.orlight.com/media/downloads/ECA_LED_Lighting_FS.pdf

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

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

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!

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!

chapellederonchamp

Balls

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.

bocci_1

Move over Philips there is a better product in town

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?

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.