All posts by Andrew Orange

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning as professional designers has the double edged sword of opportunity and necessity. Nice if we have the time, foolish if we do not make it.

The term Continuing Professional Development within our industry has at least allowed us all to say that our competence comes from the mindset of not knowing enough, rather than knowing it all already. So the door to learning more remains widely open.

However, there is the rub! With so many doors to go through to keep abreast of change in so many fields, as designers you have to master the art of grab and run – darting through each door and running out with armfuls of info to hopefully read at a later date.

As the gatekeeper to our (not biased) very important door of lighting design and supply – I want to ensure each visit remains brief but beneficial and as it’s an Orange door – fruitful!

Each raid you make must yield more ‘how to’ -design, & ‘by using what product’ -supply. That way you build your knowledge based in the reality of real life application.

What is important to you?

Your contribution is essential to help shape our content to suit you and the other time poor designers who read this blog.

So here is our ONE question survey!

What do you want to learn more about lighting design?

We would love to hear from you personally – use our contact form found here

I look forward to reading your answers but for now – grab these goodies and run.

Last week’s issue was on Light & Mood – if you missed it you refer back to it here

As independent consultants and suppliers, we go where we please; building relationships with the manufacturers who understand our needs can favorably help us to supply their product to you the trade buyer. A shortlist of key companies are on our homepage but that’s not an exhaustive list and it adapts to cater to your project requirements. So ask if you do not see what you need.

For a quick (1:49min) and effective whizz around a great collection of beautifully designed contemporary lighting amongst some equally good looking Mediterranean visitors to the recent Euroluce Lighting show in Milan – here is the Spanish manufacturer Vibia, ask us for trade prices.

Thanks for contributing.

Light & Mood

Light has the power to change our mood.

Are you suffering from a late night boxset Netflix binge and are now paying the price?
Solution: you need some cooler white light to wake you up!

Are you finding it hard to relax after a crazy day at the office?
Solution: Dose yourself with warm whites of light to usher you into a sense of calm.

It’s amazing that as designers we have the power to harness this amazing insight into human behavior and use it for the benefit of our customer. Look at the applications of each colour temperature and ask yourself if you are utilising this opportunity enough? This isn’t just for the canny lighting designer, but all of us can do this if we fully understand how to control the colour temperature of a light source.

How Do You Control Colour Temperature?

A source of light will create a colour of light that will be measured as having a colour temperature. It has the measurement of a degree of kelvin. For example 2700K is a warm white. Now we are in the age of LED lighting, within the ranges of useful temperatures the manufacturers want to make, we have a wider choice of source of light to use.

VIDEO: Colour Temperatures

This short 3min video taken from our blog archive, explains colour temperatures and acquaints you with the natural colours that can be recreated within interiors by walking you through a range of colour temperatures.

LED: Bringing Outside Colour Inside

In this archived blog, with the kind permission of Chris Orange Photogrpahy (fabulous interior design photographer too by the way used by others within our industry), we inspire you to explore the wide range of colour temperatures by labelling stunning landscape photography with degrees of kelvin.

The power is in your hands! Explore the possibilities of enhancing the mood of an environment by using the right colour temperatures.

As a company we are committed to your education in lighting. Our longstanding blog of teaching and observations about lighting is openly archived online so please do use our valuable free resource.

Faceless Business

We are not a faceless business.

With regret we are all witnessing the decimation of the High St as the new world order of online sales just makes sense. Whilst in the Toy Dept in John Lewis Oxford Street recently, I felt that I was betraying an old friend as I became irritated with their lack of choice on the shelves. You could argue the retailers model of curating choice for us is becoming superfluous as we demand a world of options?

However, do we want to sleep walk into a world of faceless business at the cost of convenience? Acceptable maybe for home shopping but it’s crept into business to business sales.

We all know Astro Lighting? They have progressed over their 22 year history into an indispensable source of lighting. Their foundations were in retail which meant that their progression into the hospitality, contract & design sectors – all our bit – has seen them widely exposed to the retail forces of online sales. The traditional retail and trade price structures deteriorated into extinction and consequently we have a product many of us want to use but have very little in the profit to warrant the service we deliver. Prices have plummeted for all of us as the benchmark has been set by online box shifters – the faceless business – not design professionals.

However, we have great news. Astro, in an attempt to strengthen their sales in our market, have adapted their discount structures and validated Orange Lighting with Project Partnership status to the design community. They understand that faceless business is undermining their professional product and we are one of their ambassadors.

Our ethos is relationship first. We see you.

Our aspiration is to empower you with lighting knowledge, be authentic, treat you as individuals and value every engagement.

Do come to us with all your Astro Lighting enquiries and if their pricing online has caused you any issues, I hope we will all see some improvement in the near future.

The face of lighting is Orange!

(our thanks to Magritte for his paintings!)

New 2019/20 Catalogue just out this week – view downloads or order a copy

VIDEO: Outdoor Lighting Tutorial

Embrace the outdoors – is the message of this quick tutorial on the four key things to know about garden lighting!

Designers, Specifiers and Installers can be reluctant to include the garden and outdoor spaces within residential projects. The fact is LED lighting has revolutionised exterior lighting – in terms of cost, longevity and ease of fit! So the following tutorial aims to inspire all those who have shown qualms, to brave the outdoors.

We want to help you specify and supply your Integral LED outdoor lighting range. Click below to see the full range:






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Tailor-made Lighting Services

The tricky thing about technology and the disruption it causes – is that you never quite know which direction it will take. For instance – ten years ago everyone was taking retail away from bricks and mortar and toward online. Who would have believed that that trend would be reversed? Well from our own part, at Orange Lighting, that day has arrived! We are announcing the close of our sister retail site “houseoforange” in order to realise a brighter future!

For our customers; Interior designers, Architects and Specifiers of lighting – buying lights online is not a simple matter of looking at an online catalogue and filling a virtual shopping basket. As LED and controls packages become more complicated and projects become more sophisticated – our customers demand more. Every purchase comes with extra value free advice on a whole host of issues….compatibility, light quality, durability and longevity are just some of the issues that have to be discussed.

So, we have acknowledged the needs of our clients and will offer extended free consultancy services including a virtual appointment service – through It will join the online blogs, tutorials and instructional video that are already on offer at the site.

In a way, we are reversing the online retail trend by abandoning ‘off-the-rail’ and re-embracing bespoke tailoring. Hence, when you want to plan the lighting scheme for your next project in the new year – call us, book a virtual appointment – heck – we will even Skype!

Having taken your brief – we will fill your requirement with the best products at the keenest prices – and offer timely logistics to smooth the process of lighting. All accompanied by our recommendations and product guarantee.

Remember, we have direct relationships with the leading brands and have sourced the quality products at all levels of budget.

Astro Lighting – Hugely popular as such good design, quality and price. Despite being seen widely online you should be buying and specifying with confidence through us as a main dealer.

See our range of higher end architectural LED downlights that have proven indispensable for quality hospitality and residential projects. With so many projects still going strong long after their 5yr warranty – they pay for themselves many times over. (Visit our Downlight Product page).

Visual Comfort Lighting – ask for trade access to the European collection from this mammoth American manufacturer. Making the entire Ralph Lauren Lighting range to name just one, we supply these ranges prewired at 220V.

Wandsworth Controls – with over 100yrs of manufacturing the best quality of switch plate, we now offer their entire range and sophisticated controls that can be linked with them – direct to you avoiding the usual route of electrical wholesalers.

So call us or press the meeting button and organise your next personal lighting plan. The fitting room is just over here…

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When Interiors Go Crazy

You know us creatives secretly want to give our imagination a free hand and interior design is no exception. Hospitality is one sector where in the effort to differentiate from other offerings – can push projects to the extremes. In the case of the Duck and Waffle, all you can say is – wow! The concept 24/7 restaurant invites diners to experience a playful take on traditional British cuisine with broad European influences while overlooking stunning views of London. The space is a profusion of shapes, patterns and colours – a feast for the eye as well as the digestion. So when it comes to designing a lighting scheme, it’s tricky enough to visualise the space for any project simply from 2D drawings – but what about this crazy ceiling!? How do you tackle a lighting design when there is hardly a flat surface in the scheme!? This space is busy but there are some calming and beautiful parts to this interior too.

The project was conceived and delivered by 01 Creative and photographed by Chris Orange Photography, in pictures that capture a scheme that is a triumph of precision through designed chaos.

So how would you set about designing it?

1. Planning the lighting design remains the same – all the key areas need lighting – countertops, back walls to widen the space and to draw the eye through, table tops etc. Thankfully drop pendants are still en-vogue so they can surreptitiously suspend light sources through all kinds of shapes and tangles.

2. Notice the curved corrugated iron sheets in the ceiling? To my mind – a brilliantly clever choice:

• lowers the ceiling to create a more intimate space and shields the eye from a profusion of exposed services.

• Creates repetition which every lighting scheme loves as we can bring in a flow of lights and darks – each panel lighting the top of the one behind with a very warm white.

• Light is being used to accentuate the corrugation too – so there is a greater detail shown in the contrast.

• A vernacular design choice for the theme of the space.

3. This type of ceiling, in reality, is great as you can hide cables and have the opportunity to commission the space with care whilst retaining flexibility in positioning – as long as that is an original intention of the design. Circuits still need to be specified and taken into the spaces they serve, terminating them in readiness for the fittings to plug and play after – spotlights on leads with a plug into a lighting module for instance. Black track lighting is a winner in this type of space.

4. Glass and bottle racks reliably hide light fittings in perfect places and within the narrow lines of a dropped ceiling they are still required to give the traditional downlight a home – in this instance over the bar stool area along the window.

5. Typical for a bar design there is a trend for very rich whites – lower than 2700K – achieved by dimming decorative tungsten halogen or choosing LED decorative pendants that are available from 1800K to 2700K.

6. As you enter the space the flooring contrast between the polished concrete and pathway of stone tiles invites the user deeper into the space – the light plays a role with the parallel lines of the bar and plinth lit with LED strip showing the way and with the back cupboards of food all lit.

7. Remember the silhouette technique in backlighting objects – the well lit wall (from track lighting) behind the unlit display of farming/garden tools – creates a greater impact – we are more interested in the outline and shape of the tools than we actually are on the tools themselves – it’s drama/theatre that works so well.

So the message is, be brave! Take each element and play with the lighting until you find a point of harmony – but don’t forget the functional aspects too. The trick (as always) is to plan flexibility into the scheme to give you best opportunity to achieve the best result. Of course, with any project that looks daunting – call us we will be happy to help with the planning.

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Voice Activated Lighting Control

It seems the lighting and the electrical press have a never-ending appetite to talk about wireless connectivity. Perhaps contrary to the flow, I ask the question as to whether voice-activated lighting control is simply a gimmick for the techie geek of the family or a genuine tool for us as designers to embrace and offer to our clients?

Certainly, automation is a growing market which cannot be ignored – as the wall of gizmos will testify in every Maplin store this Christmas – but is it ready for the professional? Currently, as an indication, it’s not a product we have access to at a trade price as it is more of an off the shelf retail product.

Philips Hue weighed in as the first serious contender and others have followed. Most publicised is Amazon’s Alexa voice control system that can incorporate lighting. Even Ikea have their own smart lighting system – I witnessed a man who was keenly picking up product according to the plan he had scribbled down on a piece of paper, a system which promised to harness the wonder of light control remotely.

So if it cannot be ignored and given your clients expect you to be savvy on all things new – here is what you need to know.

Q. What do these systems do?

A. Allow an individual lamp/light fitting to be controlled through a phone/tablet, a handheld controller or by means of voice-activated commands.

Q. Are they really techy and difficult to set up?

A. No – not really, as long as there is a strong wifi signal in the space, and a dedicated router (installed out of sight) to send commands to the chosen array of compatible light fittings. In effect, each lamp or light fittings is IP addressable, meaning it can be located on the internet and told what to do.

Q. Can they be a real option for a pro solution?

A. I hesitate to use the word complete but yes with reservations. A new project is increasingly demanding of new automation, remote control of heating and hot water, thermostats, CCTV, fire alarms, smart power outlets, switches, front doors, speakers, fans, air conditioners etc. Each new gadget has their own system of control so the client can end up with multiple apps on their phones to control them all. Lighting control needs to operate in concert with other functionality – so we have to specify something up to the task.

What if we can centralise all these systems into one – the Apple Homekit is sweeping in with a hub that is inviting manufacturers to become compatible so it can all be controlled from one app – a serious advance to enable a slick solution.

Q. Do we lose light switches?

A. We can offer a traditional bronze dolly switch to you and make it ‘smart’ – using a light switch manufacturer’s own app – but we have the compatibility of light fittings to consider and the system to investigate thoroughly.

How about this… Choose any switch you like from us and simply use it as a switch to turn a circuit of lights off and on. Then install a wifi controlled network that talks to each lamp and light fitting on that circuit – so the compatibility is guaranteed and the dimming and choice of colour etc. is done through the tablet – and you can still turn them off and on from the wall which to me is essential – you get the best of both.

Q. Are there enough light fittings that can be controlled?

A. There is a pro lighting manufacturer who has created a compatible network of good light fittings and the remote control – it’s a rapidly growing market. E27 GLS lamps and colour changing LED strips are out there – but is there a pro high CRI white 2700K white LED strip out there ready to be installed by the kilometre? – I’m not aware of one. Currently, that step still calls for a traditional digitally control scene setting dimmer rack.

So – like so many things that are in transition – it is a jungle of choices out there. If you want a clear path to a solution, talk to us and we will guide you through the tangle of technology and terminology.

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End of Year Round-up and into 2018!

Well, it has been a momentous year for lighting! I agree with many of the industry pundits and think we are on the verge of a major transition. LED is maturing into a more sophisticated technology and features like wireless controls will become a more prominent factor in our lighting schemes. However, one should ignore the basics at one’s peril. There are still areas of conventional incandescent lighting that LED has yet to re-shape. Form factor, quality of light and safety aspect will also loom large in the coming year.

A singular view on 2017 from the team at Orange Lighting is witnessing how many ‘early adopter’ LED projects from 5,6 even 7 years ago have achieved way beyond their expected lifespan. In truth only a tiny fraction have required customer claims under warranty. Perhaps we are speaking too confidently, too soon – but we have become very accustomed to not going back to a lighting circuit once it has been installed. After all, when a fitting stops working even after many years – it can be regarded as a failure. Of course, we acknowledge that there are component parts such as drivers that can become weak links in the chain and fail long before the LED light source. It would seem – on a durability level – LED is here to stay!

Orange Lighting particularly specialises in high-end hospitality and residential lighting supply and design. Some of the following may not obviously be required in this sector – but think again – it will affect us all in some way or another.

Techie Bits, Bells and Whistles

Again, the pundits forecast that there will be hardly a lamp that doesn’t have some form of connectivity by the end of next year. This is presumably driven by competing manufacturers seeking new features to drive sales. No doubt market experts have seen a tidal wave of gizmos coming our way – emanating from Chinese Trade Shows. Then there is the death of Zigbee and the triumph of Bluetooth Mesh. Of course, we will all be telling Alexa to dim the lights and punching colours into our phones before a dinner party within 12 months.

Naturally, LED light source has spanned the gap between light emitting source and intelligent bits of techy kit for a while and inevitably it will converge. Bluetooth wireless control will be a consideration for us all but (reality check), I have yet to be offered it as a serious protocol for a commercial project – watch this space? However, I believe that (whether you like it or not), understanding the control of your lighting scheme has never been more important.

A wake-up call for Emergency?

In the new year, Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s inquiry into the London’s Grenfell Tower fire kicks off in earnest, highlighting regulations, standards, guidance, specification, installation practice and maintenance regimes for emergency lighting. In some ways, emergency regulations have seemed remote compared to other aspects of our work. Even if the emergency side of lighting is partially relevant to your professional life, we must keep abreast of how the regulations are likely to be updated and improved. It is now (understandably) – high on the agenda.

Human-centric Lighting – coming of age?

As a lover of lighting, I intrinsically know that light affects us all in ways we haven’t completely understood. It’s recent history that tells the story of our brains being awoken by blue-enriched light and quickly even our handheld devices and phones have settings to filter it out. Be keen to understand more this coming year about how we and our clients can benefit from the right lighting for the right time of day. The time is coming where the same colour temperature from a light source throughout the whole day will be deemed as crude.

Lighting pollution will be a major issue…

This is not just an issue of street lighting and dark skies in the country. There can be no doubt that cheaper LED light sources and its low power usage is driving a clamour for more light across the board. A resurgence of outdoor lighting is underway too. Again – I have said it before – with much power comes great responsibility! We must think twice about how and where you use lighting in exterior schemes.

In the coming year – we will keep you abreast of all lighting developments and we promise to introduce you to new manufacturers and their offerings as and when we see them as being truly useful to your lighting projects.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Update: Lighting Showcase 2017

Well, the highlight of the lighting world (in the UK anyway) rolled into town at Excel’s Lux Live 17 – showcasing everything that was new and some glimpses of the future too! Many industries are undergoing disruption due to new technology currently – and lighting is no exception. LED has caused a seismic shift in an analogue world of incandescent lamps – but it seems we need to steel ourselves for yet another tremor – Connective Intelligent Lighting. The question mark underpins the reality however. Whilst seemingly the big news at the show was the first Li-fi ready downlighter – truth is hardly any of us design professionals are considering using it … yet! As a reality check let’s look at the movers and shakers that are ready to influence of working world in the year ahead.

1. Extrusion: flexi-extrusion! Not just flexible LED tapebut flexible LED extrusion too –mountable and presents a huge potential for creativity. There is a straight version too – both 18mm deep achieving a clean homogenous line of light. It might not be brand new but being enforced is the ability to hide LED in all manner of extrusions giving the designer a wide and varied palette to choose from.

2. Written about this before but to see the award-winning tiny wall washer provide so much uniform light was a delight. The unit is about the length of your hand and an inch wide which is an extremely discrete wall washer that paints the wall with a uniform light. The plotting of the fitting’s position to the wall is crucial and calculations are provided – but get the tricky bit right and you have a reasonable budget – and it’s a delight to use.

3. Integral’s Evo Fire downlight – We supply much of Integral LED’s solutions as they are well priced and theyhave a genuine eye for detail and provide a cost-effective useful solution to the generic types of light fitting. What’s so good about a GU10 fire rated downlight you ask!? Well LED has a number of advantages including low temperature which allows certain traditional fittings to be re-invented based upon fundamentals. Turns out we don’t need a Can or a Hood to contain fire = a strong clip and a resistant glass a bezel combination will do! Lightweight, cheaper and small – it’s the future of fire-rated downlights.


4. Concrete as an Astro Lighting finish … really?! We are used to brass and marine gradestainless steel but here is outdoor lighting in a polished concrete! It works really well – and so smooth to touch!


5. In 1964 Marshall McLuhan a pioneering media and marketing guru envisioned a ‘global village’ and prophetically described the internet as we know it long before it became a reality. At the same time, he foresaw electric light as pure information – amazingly seeing the power of artificial light in our built environment. Think about how much light we see at night now and how sophisticated our approaches are now to the lighting of buildings and interiors. In fact, every lighting choice we make contributes to a message – subtle, bold, highlights, pulls things back etc… awesome. I walked away sobered that with such power comes a great responsibility!


(Image: Gasholder 8 by Speirs & Major – subtle and powerful use of lighting to honour an iconic industrial structure)

You know – you don’t have to travel to Excel and run the gauntlet of the DLR and those foot aching aisleways to keep abreast of cutting-edge lighting. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call the Orange Lighting team!


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Fire Rated: Lessons Learned

Late afternoon the day before the fateful Grenfell Tower fire, I happened to read the entire building regulations related to the spread of fire; I admit for the first time cover to cover. Although I am very familiar with the practice of how to specify fire rated lighting, I was in search of an answer in black and white in order to satisfy a customer’s question. Not surprisingly I could not pinpoint a satisfactory reply from the regs.

We had supplied a series of ceiling downlighter’s for a project upon which I had advised. It was a complete gutting and upgrade of two semi-detached houses which the client intended to rent out. The downlights were supplied without a certified fire rating and I received a call to say the electricians were refusing to install them.

The project’s architect when asked preferred fire rated downlighters – we advised against them – were we at fault?!

Q: Why did I choose to specify and supply downlighters that were not fire rated?

The building regs explain that fire and the spread of smoke must be contained – they do not currently go as far to say what one should do in a residential house to solve this – regulations are a directive so they must be applied with reasonable judgement. A fire compartment must stop the travel of fire and smoke for up to 1 or 3 hours, any compromise to the compartment – such as a hole in the ceiling for a light fitting – needs to be compensated for if there is a risk of spreading fire to another compartment.

A typical 2-storey house does not have fire doors and fire triggered door closers, which means the whole property is actually one large compartment. The reality is if a ceiling within that compartment is compromised with a hole for a downlight, the fire and smoke would pour out the door of the rooms way before the little hole in the ceiling!

Therefore, unless you are dealing with 3 storey’s where fire doors would likely be required, a singularly occupied 2 storey home does not need fire protected downlights.

Q: Why not specify fire rated downlighters anyway just in case?!

I sympathise with the architect of this project who emails instructed the client to opt for fire rated fittings anyway – just in case. Doing so can do no harm surely – apart from the clients budget maybe? I prefer not to direct for their use when they are not needed – however, we’re happy to accommodate over specifying if that’s preferred?! Some forms of fire rating extend the depth of a fitting behind the plasterboard which can restrict their use.

Q: What types of fire rating are there for downlights so you can specify appropriately?


A flexible cover or ‘firehood’ is placed over the back of the downlight. It has hole

s in it to allow cables to pass into it to power the light and allow the natural heat of the lamp to escape. You would think that a firehood with holes in it would not work but this coverexpands over the back of the fitting when subjected to intense heat, creating a temporary seal.


The most common entry-level downlight approach is a solid metal can be positioned over the back of the downlight. Again, easy to install as they come ready to install. However LED performance can impede in a variety of ways when they are located in ambient running temperatures higher than their specification, i.e. a canned fire rated downlight. When the airflow around an LED lamp is restricted, temperatures rise and the LED will suffer. Its lifespan could be compromised and colour temperatures may shift.

When using dedicated LED downlights, ask the manufacturer how best to achieve the fire rating and keep the running temperatures within acceptable levels. Our common choice of downlight uses an intumescent seal, keeping the back of the fitting open.

Intumescent Seals

A ring of intumescent seal around the back of the fitting, with no hood. This seal expands when subjected to the conditions of fire, keeping the downlight in place and sealing the holes to maintain the integrity of the structure. Nothing additional to fit so installation is easy. Operating temperature of the lamp unit is maintained within ideal parameters.

Fire Plates

This is a new one – conjured up by our friends at Integral LED who seem keen to re-engineer things for an LED age. There are alternative versions of the plate method but this is recently launched and exclusively for LED. First look and the fitting looks rather spare of materials. The design simply maintains a barrier to flames below the fitting which has a steel bezel and a special silicate glass to resist heat. The unit is kept in place with a strong spring. Its tested and approved and is less expensive. Its simple cutaway design offers the necessary ventilation for the inter-changeable LED lamps too.

Back to our project – with Grenfell Tower on our screens I understood and appreciated the decision of the client to pay the restock fee and higher cost to exchange them for fire rated downlights – despite us proving they didn’t have to. Naturally, rented properties and their inhabitant’s safety is our first responsibility. Perhaps the real tragedy is that we have to learn from such tragic events in order to make us scrutinise the detail.

For a full and extensive range of fire rated fittings and an appraisal as to where you should deploy them – give us a call, we will be pleased to direct you.

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