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Architectural Lighting Design Process

Architectural Lighting Design Process

lighting-design-process

When you’re taking on the services of any architectural lighting designer, you’ll want to know details of the lighting design process. And how does our remote lighting design service works? Here I’ll take you through the steps.

Local or remote lighting design process

When I start a lighting design project, in effect I will generally follow the same process whether the building is local or remote. Usually the lighting design will be done at the planning stage and there have been times when I’ve planned the lighting even before the previous property on the site has been knocked down to make way for the new build.

Benefits of planning architectural lighting design early

Firstly, you will want to have an idea of costs for the electrical work and architectural light fittings before starting the build or renovation work. Your electrical contractor won’t be able to quote correctly until he has the information to hand. If you have this planned early the process will be much smoother.

The process of talking through the lighting design means that you need to think through how you’re going to use the space which is a useful exercise in itself. Focusing your mind on aspects of the interior may throw light on other areas of the architectural planning that you need to address before the work starts.

My architectural lighting design process

  1. Initially it’s good to have a chat on the phone to get an idea of the extent of lighting advice and design you require, and for you to decide if you’re happy to take it further. I offer a flexible service so if you only want to have part of your property designed that’s fine; I’ll quote accordingly.
  2. After our discussion and, on sight of the plans, I’ll quote for the design work and then you can decide if you would like to proceed.
  3. If you wish to take things further, a time will be set for the design work to be carried out with a prior meeting arranged via Zoom or phone to go through your vision for the property, lifestyle etc and any elements of the build that might vary from the plan. An invoice for 50% of the design fee will be sent at this point.
  4. Turnaround is usually 7-10 days provided I have all the information to hand.
  5. The full design, including marked up plans with full details of circuits, schedule of proposed lighting and lighting design specification will be sent to you together with the balance invoice for the design work.
  6. At this stage it’s good to mull over the design for a few days and then decide on any changes you would like to make. Any alterations that are made within two weeks of submission are included in the design fee.

Please note: If you would like some general advice on how to enhance the lighting in your existing property, I offer a lighting consultancy service where I will visit to go through your options and give you details of products that could suit the project.

Fee: £150 for 1.5 hour consultation. No mileage is charged if within 20 miles of Truro. Travel charges will be advised for visits beyond this perimeter.

Tips:

Try and collect as much information on the property as possible, especially for renovations where certain elements of the building aren’t apparent on the plans.

It’s worth looking through Houzz and Pinterest to get ideas that will inspire your design process. If I know the broad style you are aiming to achieve it will help me to align the lighting design with your vision.

NB It’s easy to get carried away and like and save a wide range of design styles. They can all look so gorgeous! Try and focus on this particular project and what you envision for now.

If you’re smitten by one particular light fitting, then please let me know. The chances are I will recognise it or, if not, will know of a similar luminaire.

Even in the early stages it’s good to know the kitchen and bathroom layouts. These may not have been completely designed at this stage, but it helps me to know the layout and style predicted. I certainly need to have these before I start the lighting design.

If you’re bringing furniture that you already own into the property, it helps me to know where these special pieces are going to go before I start the design. This may well affect the positioning of the lighting.

Also, if you have artwork, or envisage collecting some pieces, it’s good to indicate where these will go. For example, lighting can be incorporated into joinery or reflected off walls of paintings. The more I know, the more streamlined the effect will be.

Did you know?

  • Colour Temperature and Colour Rendering will have an enormous effect on how your fabrics, wall and floor finishes will look. Get it wrong and the effect can be flat and dull.
  • Having lights too bright in the evening can impact the quality of your sleep. That’s why factoring in low mood and navigational lighting is so beneficial.
  • Lighting doesn’t need to be expensive. A single, narrow-beam downlight placed in the right place can have dramatic effects. The devil is in the detail.

To discuss my architectural lighting design process why not call me to chat further on 07796691435

Claire-Pendarves

Claire Pendarves is a lighting designer with over 20 years’ experience

Luxplan offers an online lighting design service ranging from one hour zoom consultancy – ‘Ask me Anything’ to full lighting design and specification. I design and spec; you buy independently

Meet the lighting designer

How to Design Energy-Efficient Lighting Plans

How to Design Energy-Efficient Lighting Plans

How to design energy efficient lighting plans

Lighting technology is changing all the time although sometimes, when googling, references to outdated products such as incandescent light bulbs will be made. No one uses these any more. Or fluorescents – not many new lights are designed to take fluorescent tubes.

Everything has now moved towards the LED light source which can be used in a variety of ways.

Accent Lighting

LEDs have brought us all sorts of ways of bringing in energy efficient accent lighting. For example, miniature LEDs placed near a wall can graze up the surface and, if punchy enough, cast soft reflected light onto the ceiling. They look lovely when placed near a stone wall or a surface with texture and can act as marker lights, with each fitting only using around one watt of electricity.

They can look great in niches and shelving. Again, hardly expending any electricity, they create interest and add to the design ‘shape’ of the room.

Linear LEDs

Linear LED profiles are also very popular nowadays and add a contemporary flavour. These can be used in recessed profiles either washing light down walls, or placed in coving to wash light upwards. This effect of indirect light is very soft, working on the principle of reflected light, although bear in mind that the amount of reflection you get will depend on the colour of the wall or ceiling surface.

Coffered ceilings are very popular in large interiors and can bring light into the centre of the room as well as being an attractive design feature. Although the linear LED used in this method of lighting is technically energy efficient, if the run is long, the number of watts can add up. Take a coffered area of 3 metres by 4 metres for example; this is a total of 14 metres of linear lighting. A high output product could take up to 20 watts per metre so this would be the equivalent of 280 watts to run. Not bad in old-fashioned terms but more than using LED downlights.

Downlights

LEDs are brilliant for overall lighting but there’s a huge range out there. Wattage can be anything from around 4 – 12 watts depending on punch and the quality of the fitting.

Of course, it’s always worth factoring in the cost of the fitting – and that doesn’t mean buying cheap. Often, by cutting corners when you buy the fitting you could end up having to replace it within a couple of years – and then you’ll incur the cost of replacement and the electrician.

Tips for Buying Downlights

Downlights can be glary but if you select a fitting where the light source is set back, you’ll get a softer effect.

Remember that LEDs don’t like getting hot. That’s why the good quality ones will have a fan effect at the back of the fitting to distribute the heat. This means that they don’t like being squashed into tight spaces and certainly don’t like insulation packed around them. So, ensure you follow the fitting instructions and remember that, if you have living accommodation above, you’ll probably need to have fire rated fittings and some of these will be more bulky than standard ones.

Finally, I would normally recommend 2700°K for most areas although the cooler 3000°K can work in kitchens and bathrooms.

The cooler the light temperature, the more light output you’ll get but the difference is miniscule and the experience can be harsh under a 4000°K no matter how energy efficient it appears to be.

Claire Pendarves is a lighting designer with over 20 years’ experience

Luxplan offers an online lighting design service ranging from one hour zoom consultancy – ‘Ask me Anything’ to full lighting design and specification. I design and spec; you buy independently