CTO Lighting – British Contemporary Lighting

British Contemporary Lighting by CTO Lighting

CTO Lighting produce some stunning pieces which have a balance of form that comes with exceptionally skilled design coupled with perfect craftsmanship.

Founded in 1998 by trained engineer Chris Turner and his wife Clare who originally came from a fashion background, the company has gone from strength to strength; they have even been commissioned to create bespoke pieces for The Savoy Hotel, The Dorchester and St Pancreas Renaissance Hotel to name a few.

Quality is key and they place an emphasis on using premium natural materials such as hand-finished brass, mouth-blown glass and artisan-crafted stone which gives each piece an individuality of its own.

CTO Lighting has an online shop as well as a brochure. Their showroom is in North London, details on their website.

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Christopher Hyde Lighting – British Classical Lighting

British Classical Lighting

Christopher Hyde Lighting was founded in 1995 and produces quintessentially English lighting, perfectly suited to classical homes, although they do now design and manufacture some transitional contemporary lighting as well. They have a factory in Milton Keynes and altogether employ the skills of some 60 – 80 artisans at any one time.

One of their main strengths is the amount of customised light fittings they can produce – various metal finishes, coloured flex cables and bespoke lampshades which attracts owners of larger properties, hotels and yachts.

Christopher Hyde have an online website and a showroom in Chelsea Design Centre, London.

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Original BTC – Beautifully British

ORIGINAL BTC – Beautifully British


I’m going to start my series on British Lighting with one of my absolute favourites: Original BTC.

I’m particularly fond of Original BTC as I sold a huge quantity of their wonderful lighting when I had a showroom several years ago. In fact I could honestly say that my company Illumina was practically launched on the back of Original BTC.

I remember stumbling across their small stand at a trade fair in 2005 when I was sourcing products for my new venture. I was bowled over by their clean, unique style and I felt sure they would sell well in Cornwall so I placed a large order on the spot. At that time, I seem to recall that the majority of their sales was overseas, especially in France, but over the years they’ve gone from strength to strength with showrooms now in London, New York, Paris and Taiwan. They also export to over 85 countries.

Founded in 1990 by Peter Bowles, Original BTC is a true family business with six family members being directly involved. They own six production facilities including a glass factory, ceramics factory and metal works with their headquarters and assembly factories based in Oxfordshire.

The company has also incorporated two other British brands into their empire. Beadlight and Davey Lighting (robust and stylish exterior lighting), which sit well with their interior range. Their service is excellent and they will always try to meet any specific requirements, such as extra length cord or in-line switches.

One of the other joys of ordering from Original BTC is that their packaging is perfect and I can’t remember ever having complained about breakages.

My all-time favourite has to be the Hector range and you can see the Hector lamp being made here:

Making the Hector Medium Dome Lamp

Original BTC has a strong presence online now as well as supplying many of the main retailers such as John Lewis and Heals.

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We Have Some Fabulous Lighting in the UK

For many years now so many of us have revered Italian, Spanish and Scandinavian lighting without paying heed to the wealth of fabulous lighting that’s designed and manufactured in the UK.

Without being jingoistic I truly believe that now is the time we should open our eyes to what’s available within our shores. There are some wonderful British designers and lighting companies who employ a huge number of artisans using British products. It’s time for us to support them and this, in turn, will do a bit towards helping our national economy.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to cover some of these companies so you will be able to see what’s available and hopefully this will encourage you to buy British.

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Our Lighting Design Service post Covid


Hello to everyone and I hope you’re all well and safe. Maybe I’m being a bit optimistic saying ‘post’ Covid but hopefully that will be the case in a few weeks.

Either way, I’ve done a lot of thinking during lockdown (as I’m sure many of you have) and I’ve decided to make some changes to the lighting service:

I’m now offering 3 tiers of my lighting design service ranging from a one hour telephone consultation to the full ‘gold’ service where plans are marked up and a full specification supplied – the same as offered previously. This will ensure the design advice is more appropriate to your needs and budget.

I no longer supply lighting at all for either of our websites. In the past I would only supply to local clients, or if Luxplan clients had difficulty sourcing products. I now only do the lighting consultancy service.

As I’ve rather enjoyed a more relaxed pace of life I will be spacing out my work more so life isn’t so hectic. This means I will take on one large project a week, possibly with a couple of one hour consultations. Everything seems to be waking up again now and work is coming in, so if you have a project in mind please book in your time slot and I will aim to keep it free for you.

Finally, due to reducing my turnover I will be de-registering for VAT which means the service will be cheaper for you. Up until now, VAT could not be reclaimed on my lighting fees but soon VAT won’t be charged at all which should help the bottom line. NB Customs & Excise is currently overloaded with companies de-registering for VAT so this may take some time.

I’ve been meaning to make changes for a while so that my lighting design service is more appropriate to clients’ needs. Please let me know if you think I could add something else that you think would be helpful to you.

Changes will be up on the website shortly.

Meanwhile, thanks to all my clients and I hope you stay safe and happy.

Lighting Predictions for 2020

What Changes in Lighting will 2020 bring?

Lighting has changed enormously over the past decade. What direction will it take in 2020? Here are a few of my predictions.

More Environmental Concerns

Let’s face it – the average LED downlight may be cutting down on the amount of electricity used but what about the environment impact of the actual fitting?  Cheaper dedicated LED downlights may stipulate a life of 40,000 hours as opposed to higher spec fittings which can last around 70,000 hours. Lower quality LEDs can often fail early, well short of their predicted life span. Then what happens to them?  They get chucked or recycled. The more expensive fittings will usually have better quality components so will last longer and are kinder on the environment.

The good news is we are moving towards legislation (in the EU, at least) that will ensure that the individual components of luminaires should be easily changed without damaging the rest of the fitting. Have you ever seen the size of an actual LED? Literally millimetres; so it seems madness to throw away a whole downlight when, in theory the LED, or the driver, could be replaced.

I’ve used LEDs from my favourite suppliers that I installed fifteen years ago – when LEDs were just coming into mainstream use. They were not cheap at the time but they are still going strong.  Ultimately you get what you pay for, within reason. This not only impacts your pocket but the environment.

Linear LED Lighting

This is hugely on the increase – either recessed, built within shadow gaps of a new construction, or integrated into profiles, cornicing, or furniture. Linear lighting is here to stay. It’s energy efficient, to a certain extent although if you add up the wattage on the most powerful versions, the energy consumption tots up.

And a word to the wise: the brightest, most powerful is not always the best choice. Sometimes it can be a struggle to find the most subtle for discreet areas when the last thing you want is to throw the balance of the lighting out of kilter.

Light Pollution

More consideration is now being given to light pollution. Personally I think that, when it comes to planning permission, more thought should be given to the impact of any external lighting on the neighbourhood and wildlife.

Health and Light

There is now a greater awareness of the connection between health and light. Whilst natural light is always the best option, lighting designers of hospitals and factories are now designing systems that will modify the lighting intensity, colour and frequency as the day progresses. This not only helps keep our biological clocks in line but can also have an effect on productivity and mental health, even dementia.

Looking forward

Light & Build Show at Frankfurt  – 8th – 13th March 2020

Euroshop in Dusseldorf, Germany – 16th – 20th February 2020


Lighting Tips to Cheer up Winter

Winter can be a gloomy time. Here are some tips and tricks to help us feel cosier and more cheerful

Decorex 2019 – Best Lighting

Decorex International 2019 had some fabulous new lighting. Here are some of my favourites

Lighting Design Awards 2019

Some of the best inspiration comes from seeing what award winning lighting designers are currently doing. Here are my favourites from the Lighting Design Awards 2019

Light and Mood – The Connection

Not only does good quality lighting enhance our mood but also our productivity and health