Posts Tagged ‘lighting design’

Lighting Design Awards 2019

Fabulous Lighting Design Enhancing Beautiful Buildings

I’ve just spent an indulgent hour looking through my beautiful glossy Lighting Magazine Special Issue for the Lighting Design Awards 2019. So much that is beautiful, so much that is now linear.

What struck me most of all is the indelible fact that neither architecture or lighting stand on their own but are intrinsically entwined. A beautiful building can be enhanced by taking advantage of natural light or by the addition of clever and artistic artificial illumination. And whilst a dull building can be enhanced by beautiful lighting the full panoramic beauty of perfect lighting design only comes to the fore when the quality of architecture and lighting are brought together in perfect harmony.

And that’s what these awards illustrated. Here are a few of my favourites.

Hotel Project of the Year – Winner – Muh Shoou Xixi Hotel

Ethereal and delicate. Wonderful use of linear lighting where the magic of the night is retained and the lighting would complement a full moon. Lighting design by Prolighting

Integration Project of the Year – Shanghai Sunac Sales Center

Where would the building be without the lighting?  How could this fabulous lighting design have been created without this stunning building?  Design by Bradston Partnership

Retail Project of the Year – T2 Luxury Mall, Melbourne Airport, Australia

Reminds me of origami – perfectly folded. Perfectly lit. Lighting design by Electrolight

Heritage Project of the Year – International Presbyterian Church, Ealing, UK

Soft linear lighting combined with the rhythm of conical uplights accentuating the fabulous shape. Lighting design by 18 Degrees

NB There were many other fabulous designs. For further information visit Lighting Design Awards


An End to ‘Throw-Away’ LED Downlights

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


Lighting Designer or Lighting Consultant

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.

 


Designer Lighting: Is it Diminished by Over-Exposure?

Designer Lighting

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?