Posts Tagged ‘lighting design’
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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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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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.
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.
Light & Build Show at Frankfurt – 8th – 13th March 2020
Euroshop in Dusseldorf, Germany – 16th – 20th February 2020
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
According to Lux magazine there are radical new Ecodesign law draft proposals stating that ‘manufacturers and importers shall ensure that light sources and separate control gears in scope of this Regulation can be readily removed without permanent mechanical damage by the end-user’.
In other words we are returning to the good old days of being able to change the ‘bulb’ in our own homes without having to call in an electrician and purchase a completely new fitting.
This issue has been my real bugbear since LEDs came in, especially in the days before the retro-fit lamps became so efficient and therefore met the regulations for lumen output per circuit watt. So many times dedicated LED downlights would fail and the electricians would shrug their shoulders and say ‘it’s just one of those things.’
By the way – why do dedicated LED downlights fail? Because they generate a good deal of heat – not usually at the front of the fitting but within the mechanism itself. Therefore the heat needs to be dispersed which is done with heat cooling fins but the cooling properties is often hindered by having a sealed fire rated unit which is so often required in new build properties today. Also, this is more likely to happen with poorer quality cheaper units.
But even quality fittings can go wrong and this brings back memories of a series of dedicated LED downlights that started failing on various projects I designed several years ago. These downlights were the new LED versions of good quality downlights I had used in the past and were supplied by a reputable manufacturer but slowly the fittings that had been installed in various projects started to partially fail. Not a happy scenario at all. Eventually the manufacturer conceded that the original motherboards had been faulty and even came down to Cornwall to replace the entire lighting of a three storey new-build property which was a huge relief to me and my client.
So this is why I am now wary of dedicated LED downlights and why I usually recommend good quality mains downlights that will take retro fit LED lamps, or if more output is required I will specify fittings where the LED part can be replaced separately. This ensures longevity and future proofs the fitting. It also saves a good deal of money both in purchasing the fittings and in the money saved by a) not having to call in an electrician every time a unit fails and b) not having to purchase an entire new fitting – if you can find it (and that’s another story…)
This new proposed regulation does make allowances for fittings where the LED cannot be changed separately, such as with smaller LEDs which are used for accent lighting. Generally I don’t find these to be a problem as they don’t generate so much heat and in addition I will always specify the best quality products here as I generally find it’s a false economy to cut corners in this area. In the end you get what you pay for.
So all in all I think it’s a good plan for this new proposal. It seems bonkers that an entire fitting is removed (and put in landfill!) just because part of the fitting has failed.
It looks like someone somewhere is seeing some sense and I only hope that these regulations will be put in place in the UK when we’re not part of the EU.
Claire Pendarves is Design Director of Luxplan Lighting Design
What’s the difference between a Lighting Designer and a Lighting Consultant
Your new-build project is progressing and you turn your mind to designing a lighting scheme. Who do you contract to do this work – a lighting designer or a lighting consultant? Here is a bit more background information.
Lighting Designer – Product Design
A Lighting Designer can be someone who designs the architectural light fittings and the luminaires that we include in our projects. For example Tom Dixon who has a wide range of his own lights as well as other products he designs, Marc Sadler who has designed several renowned luminaires including Foscarini’s Jamaica and of course our own Tom Raffield who creates beautiful bentwood fittings such as the Butterfly.
These lighting designers concentrate on product design and therefore their speciality is not designing lighting schemes.
Lighting Designers – Theatrical
Lighting Designers can also be specialists in theatrical lighting including opera and rock musical shows. These designers think big and bold and you can’t get much more impressive than Patrick Woodroffe and Adam Bassett http://woodroffebassett.com who made a lasting impact at the London Olympics and continue lighting rock concerts and classical productions throughout the world. Other notable theatrical lighting designers are Mark Henderson and Paule Constable to name a few.
Excellent lighting in theatrical productions is absolutely critical – get it wrong and the whole event is lacklustre and dreary no matter how impressive the production itself.
Architectural Lighting Designers
These are designers who primarily design larger projects such as offices, museums, shops, hotels, restaurants and larger residential complexes. For example Stanton Williams who recently carried out the lighting for Musée d’arts in Nantes and Maurice Brill Lighting Design who have done a plethora of international projects such as the Lanesborough Hotel in London and the Gritti Palace in Venice.
These types of lighting designers are very high end and any residential projects taken on would be exceptional as their work schedule is primarily taken up with the larger design jobs. All lighting designs would closely co-ordinate with other design mediums using BIM and their specialism is design only, not supply.
There are other types of lighting designers who concentrate more on residential lighting and generally work on the premise that they will design the lighting with the assumption that they will also supply the fittings. John Cullen Lighting for example have some of their own products manufactured to their specifications but also supply architectural lights from other suppliers to which they allocate their own codes. Although this means that ordering is relatively easy it also gives less flexibility for the client if the electrical contractor wants to supply direct from the manufacturer.
At Luxplan we work more as Lighting Consultants as we don’t supply the fittings and all our schemes are produced with full transparency so that clients can purchase the products themselves. However, we will also call ourselves lighting designers as that is the most general term used.
Scenario: You’ve just spent £600 on a designer pendant light for your new-build home and then you walk into your local McDonalds and see it hanging just near the stand for the ketchup and straws. How do you feel? Luckily I hadn’t just bought such a designer light and I hadn’t specified the light for a client but I did walk into the local takeaway to see this very much admired designer piece on full display and somehow, well, it just doesn’t feel the same any more.
So why do we buy designer items? Is it the form, the cut, the ergonomics? Or is it the exclusivity which is usually linked to the cost? In other words the pricier the item the more exclusive, ie fewer people can afford it so therefore seen less. But then large chain outlets will have big clout – they’ll be buying in quantity and, if rolling out the same design throughout the country, will undoubtedly be placing substantial orders with the producers which means that they can specify lighting without being overly concerned with the cost. But is it short-sighted of the design houses to supply to large chain outlets and does it ultimately have a negative impact on the way their products are perceived?
Above are some snapshots of designer lights that I have encountered on the high street. I love all these light fittings and I’m not here to name and shame any of them as they enhance our shopping and eating experience but to be honest I would think twice before specifying them for a client, or I would at least warn them!
What do you think?