Category Archives: Blog

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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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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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?

Hoods

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.

Cans

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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Dim it to Warm it

At times the path of LED lighting development has been surprising. Paradoxically, despite overturning the lighting scene in the space of five years – LED innovations are keen to look identical to their incandescent forbears. The first priority was to match the form factor to make the shape of the lamp appear familiar to consumers. More recently, attention has turned toward the nature of the emitted light itself – illumination akin to halogen. How retro is that!

The beloved low voltage halogen invented in the late sixties had an inherent quality that fortuitously was flattering to an interior. The act of dimming – reducing the power to the lamp – had the effect of warming the colour of white light – taking the colour temperature down from 3000K to around 1800K.

LED came along and we lost the glow – dimming reduced the light level but just that – no orangey warm light as the current is lowered.

So in this age of LED, did we decide to move on from this charming feature of traditional lighting? Obviously not – it wasn’t long before LED fittings have been tweaked to mimic the comforting glow as a circuit is dimmed.

As lighting consultants and suppliers of lighting to predominantly high end residential and hospitality projects, you would think that we would receive regular requests for the return of a warm dim – but we haven’t. I would suggest that lighting design should not rely upon a single circuit of overhead light fittings to produce a cosy atmosphere in a room. However, many do – and this is where I am grateful that we can produce this effect in the highest quality LED downlights … when it is required.

How does it work?

All LED chips produce a blue light and they have a phosphor coating to create the colouring of white light. So unlike incandescent lamps – there isn’t a tungsten filament to burn – the light just lowers.

So, to achieve the desired amber glow, LEDs are incorporated into the array that solely re-creates amber light as the white LEDs fade and therefore the amber LEDs take over.

However, a problem arose in our view, that the amber LEDs positioned in the fitting were not able to replicate the same pattern of light that a halogen fitting would normally produce. Typically the amber LEDs are a couple of small LED chips and so the dim would change the shape of the beam of light as the main source of light was reduced.

We now have a product that retains the exact shape and beam angle of light as the product is dimmed whilst the colour temperature lowers to 1800K.

Call us for details on the range!

 

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When LED Sees Red

Red is for passion, love and seduction. It can mean danger anger or adventure. Our distant ancestors saw red as the colour of fire and blood – the very essence of life. For all of these reasons red is engrained in us and these instincts contribute to make red the most important colour. It is no less important in our interiors. Yet the LED lighting revolution has struggled to produce a white light that makes reds rich in colour, often making russet, mahogany, ruby and scarlets appear flat and lifeless. Now, a new wave of LED lamps is emerging and a new scale of colour calibration has been adopted to help us gauge how vibrantly solid state lighting illuminates our designed spaces.

Reds Make Colours More Vibrant

Richer Reds make all colours more vibrant and whites a truer white. This helps to enhance interior designer’s creations and compliment furnishing choices by showing a full spectrum of colour within fabrics and materials. Colour accuracy of soft furnishings and wall coverings can be adversely affected by the imprecise rendering of the colour red. The old CRI scale is calculated on average values based on R1 – R8 coloured swatches. Here is where the ‘LED colour blind spot’ occurs. R9 is one of six saturated test colours not used in calculating CRI. Note that on the CRI calibration below R9 is not measured.

However, R9 is important when assessing the quality of LED light. It seems that most LED sources reveal this CRI value only and as long as it has a value of over 80 Ra. In other words, LED lamps with high R9 values to produce the most vivid colours that are essential for professionally designed interiors an retail display application. However, we cannot rely upon the traditional measurement chart to judge the level of R9 in a LED lamp.

So it is time for a new metric compatible with our LED world. Scientists at the US-based Illuminating Engineering Society have developed a new system commonly called TM-30 which is based on a reference set of colour samples that is more representative of objects in the real world than the pastel samples used in CRI. A Rg value will repl

 

ace the existing Ra and it will accurately score LED lamps for colour ‘red’ accuracy. The new measurement has been approved in the US although it has yet to be accepted by the CIE – lightings international body.

In replacing CRI, TM-30-15 offers a new way to evaluate the colour of a light source by measuring the fidelity (match to a reference) through a Rf fidelity reference and a gamut value Rg indicating the strength of the apparent chroma.

It is time to pump up the Reds in your next scheme

A number of products have become available – both in lamps and luminaires. At the higher end – we recommend a new luminaire that promises richer reds. The downlight features a new chip that delivers almost 100% across all R categories – major step in the right direction – toward a perfect lighting scheme.


The product is priced at a premium so we offer the original version of the fixture too.
We also supply an excellent GU10 spotlight by Integral LED – Real Colour that has a high CRI (95). For a small extra outlay of budget, it will make your reds pop and your pinks sing!

So it is time to embrace vivid reds in your next interior project. They may be a little more expensive now – but we predict – it is a step that will soon become standard. Call us for more details!

 

 

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Hitting The Floor With Style

 

We often talk about the importance of entertaining the eye with visual stimulation. Interior design presents the viewer with colours, shapes and textures in our field of vision to feast upon. However, lighting determines how these objects, furnishings and coverings are perceived. As we have mentioned in the past, ironically, the room scene is governed by dark as well as light. The introduction of small pockets of light is effectively a highlight, picking up textures and forms e.g. the side of a curved bath, the colour and texture of a brick wall.

Accent lighting is essential to pick out points of focus – or give a three-dimensional shape to an object. For this reason, it is key to have a complete tool-kit of lights and this includes the floor up-lighter. I believe that (almost) every project can find a role for this useful fixture which offers a discrete yet effective way of introducing accent light into a space – from the subtle through to full power up-lighting.

 

Lets, not underestimate the contribution that accent lights make as a by-product to the overall lighting of an interior. For instance, a small row of three in-ground uplights near a wall will not obviously give that much light but is worth having as they create interest. However, come the evening when the artificial lighting is the only light in a room, the light hitting the ceiling although only small, contributes a significant amount. It’s not truly appreciated until you turn off that circuit do you realise what role those little lights were really performing.

So when do you use an in-ground uplight? : When designing a lighting scheme, the initial stages are to make sure functionality is ticked so choosing light sources that do this is the first step. Then it’s a series of lighting choices that fill in and provide the highlights – the atmospheric level of lighting in particular. This is where we turn to the in-ground uplight. An ideal choice in the instance of emphasising repetition, where an architectural element of the space can be introduced to the viewer’s attention.

Installation Tips
Naturally, it is important to choose the correct model of ground-light to suit the floor it’s being installed in.
Screed floors are commonly the type of poured floor that feature in new builds and extensions. 1st fix preparation to retain a space for the in-ground light is essential. Here we often deploy a mounting sleeve cast into the hole to make the power accessible through the hole and subsequently, the light fixture then pushes into the mounting sleeve for a watertight fit.

 

In the instance of a decorative floor laid on top of the screed, be it tile or timber, then a mounting sleeve can be fixed into the floor with a screed cavity underneath providing space for the excess cable to be coiled. The fixture then push-fits into the mounting sleeve.
Alternatively, a timber or planked floor would usually, simply be a hole cut and a spring clipped ground light fitted or mastic glued in place if it comes without a friction fix solution.

Output?
How to choose the output? The question is what do you want the light to do? Do you want the light to play onto the ceiling, do you want lots of reflected light or just the accent lights we’ve spoken of above?

My approach is to simply sort them into roughly three categories of small, mid-sized and large at the commencement of design option discussions with clients. The depth of the fitting can be critical so this sometimes dictates the choice – but on the whole, we are selecting approx 100 lumens, 100-300 lumens and then choosing higher outputs for the larger sizes.

100 lumen – typical niche light output so visible beam @ 300mm against a wall.
100-300 lumen – typically visible beam @ 300-750 mm.
300 lumen upwards – typically visible beam @ over 750 mm.
Although this is a rough measurement and it depends on the chosen beam width and how far the fitting is from the wall but it helps define the solution that is required.

Bezel Finish
Bronze is hugely popular as a dark finish but not black as it stands out too much and avoid stainless steel which is overused in a similar way. Specialised finishes for sea and spa use can be considered as well as solid brass which weathers very well when used outdoors.

IP Ratings
Best protect for the potential spill of liquids on a floor and water cleaning which requires IP65 minimum – allowing jet washers to be used. You will find the typical IP rating will be IP66.

Power Supplies
The smaller uplighters will certainly require a remote power supply – or driver as they are called for LED sources. These drivers will run repetitions of uplight in series. The location of the power supply is very important as it will not fit through the small cut out hole. Larger uplighters predominantly need a remote location too for their drivers.

So ensure that floor up-lighters are in your toolkit when you set about your next project. They may require a degree pre-planning but when they are used correctly they add a great deal of cleverness and sophistication to a design. They also act to reduce the clutter of fittings and pretty much facilitate a seamless lighting scheme. Naturally, we are on hand to specify the best options for your scheme – just give us a call!

Lighting: Going Trimless

Trimless is in some ways the perfectionist’s choice and in this era of minimalist design, it is becoming extremely popular. The seamless look has a clean elegance that has caught the imagination of designers, architects, and clients alike. Stylistically could we be heading out of the predominant post industrial aesthetic back to a more minimal clean lined aesthetic?

Essentially trimless is a way of hiding the fixture or fitting and to allow the light itself to play the dominant role. Although trimless downlights has been on the radar for a while, niches, uplighters and floor washers, are now increasingly in vogue. Quite simply, LED has again played a major factor. Longevity of solid state light sources enables us to integrate lights anywhere in a space – with added peace of mind on future maintenance. Lower operating temperature also allows fittings to be enclosed in all areas too.

So here is a quick guide to trimless and some advice on first and second fix strategies when planning an interior.

What is trimless?
A flush solution that allows the light to become an architecturally integrated element.

How do you install them?
First, a housing for the light source is plastered into place at the stage of first fix electrics. It then becomes part of the wall/ceiling.

The subsequent second fix is when the internal part or the guts of the light is fitted.

Benefits and tips
Glare is greatly reduced as some trimless fittings will raise the light source deep within the ceiling.

Fix Panel2

Some fittings have a choice of trimless fixing or a second fix bezel. The light fixture remains the same except with the trimless version the location of the fixture has to be decided at 1st Fix stage and is NOT moveable later in the project.

Popular trimless fittings are floor and stair washers where a number are run in a row. A group of fittings are usually wired in SERIES, meaning the power supply (driver) is remote and the wiring daisy chains to each fixture and terminates back at the driver.

UTS-Data-Lounge

Some models offer a particular frame according to whether it’s being fitted into brick or plasterboard, so be sure of the material into which the trimless fixture is being fitted.

You do not always need to re-plaster a wall or ceiling when using a trimless product. There is a range of trimless downlights that can be installed at 2nd fix and ‘feathered’ into place with fine plaster filler. It’s not as easy to install but is a helpful option when trying to get the look without the added expense of more plastering.

This is one job where the plaster becomes key to the project’s success. In terms of integration, it’s best to look out for some potential snags.

trimless lounge

Avoid badly designed products that do not allow sufficient depth of plaster around the housing and can cause cracks in the plaster later in the installation, especially around rivets or plasterboard screws that are not countersunk.
Remember – trimless wall lights do not usually have a glass front so the product can collect dust over time once installed, so it will require periodic cleaning.trimless shout out

If you want to explore trimless – don’t be a stranger. Call us and we will explain their application and give you a guided tour around the fixtures and fittings available.

 

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Video: Lighting Controls Explainer

Lighting controls – you either love them or hate them – certainly they are becoming more complex by the day!

They are also increasingly popular with customers and are now demanded by clients with medium as well as large budgets.

You need to be ‘versed’ in Lighting Controls to be an up-to-date designer:

Everything you need to know about analogue to digital lighting controls.
Featuring DALI through to Zigbee, Bluetooth and beyond.
Short six-minute briefing in a CPD format
FREE to all.
Watch it before your next client meeting!

Have a specific question about lighting controls – just give us a call.

Sponsored-by-Wandsworth3

 

 

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