Category Archives: Blog

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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Nobu: Monte Carlo

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During these hot Summer days and nights – my thoughts drift back to a wonderful project – designing the lighting scheme for a NOBU restaurant in Monte Carlo (no less). In a place with seemingly constant sunshine, it was an interesting challenge translating the role of artificial light under the intense Mediterranean sun within a highly glazed space raised and cantilevered over the sea.
After all – lighting design primarily looks at illuminating a space when the sun goes down, but it is important to remember that it remains an important tool to use in the day. The interior scheme had a cool coloured palette so light reflected very well – but we still needed to produce highlights with lighting strong enough to cope with a restricted field of contrast. Inside, the drinks and sushi prep bars needed to be lit well throughout in the day.
The challenge was to create an illuminated atmosphere conducive for high-end dining in what became an increasingly restrictive space. The concrete construction and the various site constraints stopped us from using many ‘go to’ solutions. Coupled with the interior designer’s preference not to use floor and table lights; the opportunities to position and hide lighting fixtures shrank dramatically.

What do you do…

This is when every lighting fixture counts and it must make a major contribution to the scheme or it’s out. Too much lighting kills the dining atmosphere and we had to heavily rely on downlighting from a relatively high ceiling. This is where commissioning and the scene setting was so important, to build in lots of circuits for as much control as possible within budget and shape the scheme from there.

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We also decided to create pockets of light that formed accents, lightly contributing to the overall lighting levels at night. This was mostly affected by lighting the sculpture.

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The one place we could deploy recessed floor lights was to enhance the evening scene with a shimmer of the fabric which echoed the rippling of the sea. The was achieved by siting voile fabric surrounding the private dining tables, and uplighting and downlighting the material with a 3000K warm white shallow recessed floor up-lighter.Voiles

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Another challenge was lighting a huge winding sculpture – a bespoke piece only seen in sketch form at the time of our design. The key was to light it dramatically without spoiling the ambience of the rest of the interior. However, how do you light a sculpture that is so open, where some of the light catches on the form but a lot of it will just pass through and travel deeper into the space?

“What do you do with this light spill – harness it or minimise? How do you avoid glare to the diners?”

The solution to this major piece of the lighting design jigsaw was to light it in pockets to create accent light. Choosing lines of sight from common thoroughfares we lit the piece to draw the eye through the space to the sculpture. The fixture we finally chose to do the job was a deep baffled LED spotlight on drop rods, with a long snoot at the front of the light to restrict potential glare unless a diner tried to look down the barrel of the fitting. This also helped funnel the light and stop unwanted spill.

“How do you create a flexible lighting scheme in a widely open plan space that required flexible table plans – in fact no specific set table plans?”

Downlighting was the only tool at our disposal. Breaking the fixtures down into multiple groups for a number of preset scenarios so the tables could be moved but would have to follow the spotlight onto the middle of the table.

The issue with too much downlighting is it can flatten the scheme with light mostly coming from one direction. They had to be significantly dimmed at night but were still on call to whack up to full on dull winter days. Amazingly, even Monaco gets rain!

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The captivating drama of the restaurant is the sushi preparation area ‘staged’ within the restaurant. It had to be well lit for the safe functional use of extremely sharp knives, the sculpture above had to be lit too – all without bleeding out too much light into the dining space and flattening the lighting scheme.

We initially tried to rely on the overhead downlighting through the sculpture but the lux levels were not sufficient and we had to cancel out unwanted shadows from the sculptural rods above. We choose polished chrome display lighting to increase the levels, positioned close to the task area.

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There – a thorny problem but successfully resolved and a scheme that has received complimentary feedback by the operators and customer alike.
If you have a knotty problem why not share it with the team at Orange Lighting. It’s not everyday we are commissioned by Monte Carlo restaurants – we happily make do with the UK! Just call us…

Products:

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2.4W 2700K LED Uplighter

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LED Spot on drop rod with long snoot – sculpture lighting

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Adjustable LED Downlight 950lm output

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Adjustable LED Table Mount Pin Spot in Chrome – Sushi Bar

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New Lights for Free

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New Lights for Free

Naturally, as designers, we would rather discuss the aesthetics of a scheme than the financing of it. However, in recognition that we are business people too – this week we look at a commercial aspect that could speed up some commercial refurbishment projects. Certainly, when it comes to the lighting element of an office facelift, the renovation of a stately home, or the refitting of a school or care home – there is a great deal of funding out there from Government bodies and other agencies. In real terms, depending upon the scheme – this could pay for a switch to LED or at worst render the cost of a new lighting scheme at zero impact on a company’s cash. The trick is to act now. In these politically charged and highly volatile times – no one will predict how long these free schemes will last!

What you need to know – to tip customers off about available funding!

1. Private Sector Clients
LED lighting refurbishments qualify for the Government sponsored Enhance Capital Allowance (ECA) – claimed through a company’s income or corporation tax return.

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Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) are a straightforward way for a business to improve its cash flow through accelerated tax relief. The scheme encourages businesses to invest in energy-saving equipment specified in the Energy Technology List (ETL) to help reduce carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change.
LED lighting qualifies for funding, however, it is not specifically itemised on the ETL.

Customers need to obtain a statement from their lighting manufacturer, that states that the product supplied for your project, meets the eligibility criteria in force at the time of purchase. Only the most efficient 25% of products are judged as eligible. Some manufacturers are better than others in terms of identifying fundable products – have a look at Integral LED, a calculator facility on their website is extremely helpful and includes carbon savings.

How it works
An ECA is claimed through a business’s income or corporation tax Savings Calculator panel2return in the same way as any other capital allowance. HMRC is responsible for the tax-related aspects of the ECA scheme. Buying energy efficient equipment results in a lower overall spend on energy, improving cash flow and lowering overheads. This can be a very attractive proposition as energy use is often the second highest cost after staff salaries, and for some energy intensive industries, it can be the highest operational cost.

The Carbon Trust operated the scheme on behalf of the Government – find out more here 

2. Public or Charitable Sector Clients
If your client’s organisation is in the public sector, Salix Finance provides interest-free Government funding to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills within schools, hospitals and other qualifying institutions.

salix logoSalix provides 100% interest-free capital for public sector organisations across the United Kingdom to encourage organisations to take a lead in tackling climate change by increasing their energy efficiency. Their loans enable the installation of modern, energy efficient technologies by funding the replacement of dated, inefficient equipment. Hence, the refurbishment of existing ‘legacy’ lighting qualifies for funding under this scheme.

How it works
The applicant must forecast a reduction in overheads resulting from the capital expenditure. For example, a school borrows £10,000 to put in new lighting which will save the school £2,000 per annum from reduced electricity usage. For the first five years, these savings are used to pay back the interest-free loan. Once the loan is repaid, the continued savings enable the school to use the capital for other budgets, such as the purchase of equipment.
Salix funding operates for all public sector organisations across their whole estates, including schools, higher and further educational institutions, emergency services, hospitals, leisure centres, local authorities and the NHS.money-bag
Salix is a Government funded agency – find out more here

No Brainer Alert!

Why not use this to ‘leverage’ a timescale on a refurbishment project. It may seem complicated – but it is bread and butter to your average accountant and can be initiated at any time in the financial year. So next time you receive an ‘Um or an Err’ from a client – tell them to claim what is due to them – but they better act quickly in order not to miss out.

Remember the team at Orange Lighting is here to offer guidance on all aspects of a lighting scheme – we will welcome your call!

 

 

 

 

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Video: Embrace Lighting Controls?

Is it time to propose – lighting controls?

Are your competitor Interior Designers or Architects offering it?

Are you ignoring a valuable source of revenue?

In truth many avoid promoting lighting controls because of their complexity.

Some have issues with conflicting standards and others with finding a competent contractor.

Most see the contemporary appearance of control interfaces in conflict with their more classic designs.

This week we commence a series of videos that tackle the technology behind the current scene in lighting controls.

In the first episode, we seek to define the opportunity and address some of the perceived barriers.

This short video features interviews with a leading interior designer and a controls specialist – we ask some straight questions!

 

In Association with Wandsworth Controls

Wandsworth Lighting Controls has been developed specifically to meet the need of high-end residential developments and luxurious hotels, where the latest lighting control capabilities and automation are required but also elegance and front end design quality.

www.wandsworthcontrols.co.uk

 

 

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Lighting: The Perfect Finish

Last time we opened a whole new can of wrigglies when we broached the topic of reflectance and how light is calculated and quantified when estimating the amount of illumination required in a space. We focussed on an often overlooked factor ‘Surfaces’ and the variety of ways they perform under certain lighting conditions. This week we will look in more detail at how a surface in a space is likely to respond to artificial light and the factors that we should be aware of as specifiers when selecting light sources and fixtures for our projects.

I am sure we have all taken a swatch of fabric or tile, outdoors of the showroom in order to gauge how our selection might appear without artificial interior lights. It seems that daylight becomes our control source when we want to be discerning. However this a mistake!

Firstly a quick reminder on lighting theory: Naturally, without light, we would not see Remixanything. The colour of an object is the reflectance of light emanating from the surface of the object. Essentially, the nature of the light shining on that surface will be a factor determining what type of light is ultimately sent to your eye. Therefore, we need to be careful with the selection of that all-important element – light.

As an example, let us imagine mixing up watercolour paint. If we use water that is clear and fresh, your colour mix would be untainted. Take the same mix, but this time use water that has already cleaned a blue brush, the blue in the water now influences the result. If we have a yellow tinted water, the result is different again.

This paint analogy can be helpful when thinking about direct lighting or specifically light that shines directly from the source onto the surface. It will alter the colour of the surface material. The fresh water to mix the paint would represent a neutral white light which we could classify as a 4000K colour temperature – a neutral white. The blue dyed water we will label as daylight 6500K and the yellow as a warm 2700K.

The lower the colour temperature, the warmer the white light – the higher colour temperature, the bluer the white light becomes.

Under controlled conditions, this is how we should view the ‘mix’ of light, as it plays upon the surface and how our eye will see it. We should keep this in mind as we estimate how the chosen surface will look in situ.

Naturally, the real world is a more complicated combination of direct light, reflected light and shadows. So our directly lit surface is also influenced by light bouncing off other surfaces, where the light is tinted just like the coloured paint water and coming from different directions.

OK – this is helpful to know but let’s get real, how many of us can really calculate what is actually going to happen, what practical steps can we take to further inform our choices?

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Lets take a look at a real life case study. Thank you Gloria of Tailored Living (www.tailored-living.co.uk)for allowing us to use this (www.tailoredliving.co.uk) She had designed and chosen the finishes for a bathroom, we had supplied the lighting using trimless downlights with 3000K GU10 LED lamps and 3000K LED IP66 Flexi tape in a frosted aluminium low profile extrusion. Gloria sent us a follow-up query regarding the interaction between the tiles seen in natural daylight compared to under LED light.

Hi Andrew, could you have a look at these tiles in the bathroom currently being installed. When seen in daylight the tiles match (see pic A panel above) but now they are on the wall they look a different colour (see pic B panel above). Is this a function of the LED and is there anything that can be done to remedy this?

Gloria’s intention was to match a flat surfaced tile with a partner tile from the same range – that featured a relief pattern. Under her ‘habitual’ conditions of daylight testing they matched – but once installed they appeared differently.

Why and what could we do to resolve the issue?

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The query was raised during the refurbishment with the lighting already installed. Side by side (picture) you can see the colour of the tile looks different with the flat tile appearing darker than the one with the 3D pattern.

At this juncture of the project, the bathroom was part tiled so the illumination was very ‘strong’ from the downlight, emphasising the form of the 3D tile; the tops of the form were highlighted creating shadows underneath. This made the reliefed tile appear brighter in comparison to the flat tile whose surface was vertical. You wouldn’t think it would make a major difference but it was this contrast that was the nub of the problem.

Solution: To bring the colours of the tiles closer we would need to reduce the contrast.

How?

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I assured Gloria that once the whole bathroom was tiled, the walls themselves would help the fix. A tiled wall is shinier than a matt unfinished plaster wall present during the install, boosting the reflectance performance. The light from the ceiling would go further and add an ingredient to the mix of direct light with the reflected light from the tiles – picking up some colour from the tile itself. It’s all very subtle but sufficient to be akin to putting a watercolour wash over all the walls balancing the variations with a uniform colour of light.

Once the all important mirror in a bathroom was installed, it operated as a fantastic reflector of light – back into the space and with the floor installed the light bounced back and upward more efficiently too.

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After improved reflectance from the walls, the light would then be directed from more directions and effectively reducing the contrast of the lights and darks of the relief pattern. The walls themselves become effectively light sources so the pattern is lit more perpendicularly, further decreasing the shadow. This could also be achieved by adding wall lights that would throw light across the room rather than mostly downward from the downlighters.

The end result of the bathroom was stunning with the ‘natural’ contrast of the tiles reduced once the installation was complete. We all need to remain aware of the nuances of reflected light to inform our lighting design choices.

Remember – if things go wrong with the essential look of a scheme under your chosen lights – don’t panic all is not lost! Just call the team at Orange Lighting and we will be happy to advise on a solution to even the most thorny problem.

 

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Reflecting on Lighting

It is important to remind ourselves that ‘lighting’ is not all about artificial light. In earlier posts we have also discussed daylight and reflected mirrored illumination within an interior. All these factors must be accounted for, if the subtle balance of lighting is to be achieved. Indeed, the illuminance emanating from all surfaces in a space must be considered. To be exact, luminance is a measure of how much light is emitted from a surface in a given direction. So the level governs not only how the colour of a wall, ceiling or table top appears to the eye but also how much light the surface reflects back into the room. The rates of luminance across a colour pallet may surprise you – certainly give you something to reflect on…(apologies!)

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The amount and nature of the light reflected from a surface depends on whole raft of factors. As a designer, you will have intuition to gauge how much light to provide. Naturally we know instinctively that dark coloured rooms need more light. How light actually behaves according to the colour and nature of the surface is important to know across the whole palate of available colour especially when selecting your lighting and it’s positioning.

3 Basic types of surface reflection to consider and to what extent they are present in your interior.

  1. Specular Surface – mirror / highly polished metal surface – reflecting ereflect-orange shout out2qual amounts of light at equal angles. These are very smooth surfaces.
  2. Diffuse Surface – matt emulsion paint will highly diffuse light sending it back widely giving the impression that it is equally bright in all directions. These are rough surfaces.
  3. Satin and glossy surfaces – a combination of specular and diffuse reflection depending on how shiny the surface is. These are smoother surfaces that respond similarly to the diffused category.

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Colour

LRV chartLight reflected by a coloured surface will be tinged or tainted with that colour, but it’s rarely an issue to concern yourself with – unless designing a scheme for a colour sensitive interior where colour representation is important i.e. a clothing store.

The colour of the surface will have a reflectance value. All coloured surfaces absorb some of the light that falls upon it, therefore creating a scale of reflectance determined by how much light is bounced back. Worth noting is the Table of Light Reflectance Values. Using a set of coded swatches to match as near as possible with the surface colour in question, a pre-measured percentage of reflectance can be referred to and then used in calculations to gain a better understanding of how the space and surface will be lit.

This interior above shows the entrance to some very nice toilets within the restaurant at London’s Skygarden and demonstrates this principle. Some light from the downlight in the ceiling is reflecting off the timber clad back wall. Approximately 50% of the light reaching the wall will be reflected back into the space. The light which reaches the floor is reflecting off a light coloured shiny tile, therefore reflecting a higher amount of approximately 80% of the light back into the space.

Another factor to consider is all colours of light have a wavelength value with certain colours processed more efficiently by the human eye than others. For example using the same amount of light a green is very strong whereas a red is relatively weaker in appearance.

Visual Adaption of Colour

Our eyes and brains operate an amazing automatic process; a natural visual system called Adaption. As designers, we need to be aware of this process to deliberately tune the intended visual response to our environment. When exposed to a particular colour for a period of time, the brain will normalise the response to the colour, akin to a visual reset or a white balancreflect-orange shout out3e on a camera. For example when working in a cool white 4000K or daylight 6500K room, walking directly into a 2700K room will feel like you are entering into a disconcerting world of orange light! The eye needs a little time to compensate and re-adjust its bias. If we remain mindful of this natural process as designers, we can assist this correction by creating transition areas of intermediary light.

As designers we also need to gain some understanding on how a surface will look according to the angle of light that plays upon it. A rough and textured surface will be accentuated when lit with directional oblique light. Even a flat surface when lit obliquely can appear horrendously flawed as every bump is highlighted.

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Conclusion – as a basic reference consider the following:

Colour of surface = How bright it will look and the amount of light it will contribute back into the space

Type of surface = how the light will bounce back – equally as given or very diffused or a combination

Amount and type of light = the output and colour temperature of the light

 

A Reflectance Sample Card (below) can be bought from The Society of Light & Lighting

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There is wealth of knowledge available at Orange Lighting and offered free to our designers and architects searching for the ideal effect and the right light fitting to create that desired look. Just call!

 

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Lighting at Times of Emergency

Keeping the occupants of your interior safe is a critical concern to lighting designers as well as architects. Illuminating escape routes and specifying the correct fixtures that can withstand fire and smoke is the concern of the designer through to the electrician. Of course there are fire officers and building inspectors on hand to check our work; however, a collective responsibility still remains.
In the past, emergency lighting was ugly and bulky units, mainly due to the need to incorporate lead batteries and to drive power hungry halogen lights. Of course, as with all things lighting LED is bringing a major change to the category – at last! Here we look at the opportunity that solid state lighting provides and we include a short refresher of the regulations that apply to fire safety and lighting schemes.

Emergency Lighting Regulations in Brief

Emergency lighting should illuminate paths to all exits of a building. In particular, emergency lights should give light to any building feature that would be difficult to navigate in the dark, such as stairs and ramps.
• The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 require where necessary: Emergency routes and exits must be indicated by signs and emergency routes and exits requiring illumination shall be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.
BS 5266 part 1 is the ‘Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises other than cinemas and certain other specified premises used for entertainment’. Compliance with this standard is a requirement of various Government documents such as the Building Regulations.
• The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations require that: Permanent signboards must be used to indicate the location and direction of emergency escape routes..… and clarifies: “Signboard” means a sign which is rendered visible by lighting of a sufficient intensity. Signs requiring a power source must be provided with a guaranteed emergency supply …..

The Future of Emergency Lighting with LED

When we talk of Emergency lighting we are primarily concerned with battery life rather than how many Watts are taken from the grid. Energy efficient LED is the perfect partner for batteries and lifetimes have been extended substantially. Recent developments in power cell technology, including Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) units, will continue to deliver increases in storage capacity in ever decreasing packages. Therefore, we have a major opportunity to reduce the physical size of emergency lighting units overall, as well as to enable emergency features to be incorporated within existing retrofit lamps and luminaires. In the future – all LED luminaires may become emergency lights with onboard batteries. That will be one way of making these systems invisible when not operational. Certainly, moves are afoot to redesign the bug-eyed double spotlight unit in a steel box that offends the eye in most public buildings!

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With the advent of LED has arrived miniaturisation. Small fittings that conceal the source of light are widely used in aesthetic interiors. Emergency lighting units will also gain from a reduction in size. For example, tiny downlights have the capacity to provide sufficient illumination to light emergency exit routes when activated and can be installed discretely within the fabric of a room.

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Emergency systems must be maintained and checked regularly to ensure that they are fully operational. This process can be laborious, especially in buildings that have many sensors like hotels and office buildings. The perfect partnership between LED and digital control components points the way to onboard “self-testing” features that will become increasingly available as an option across emergency ranges soon. A simple indicator light will confirm healthy battery pack and sensor functionality at a glance, with all the necessary tests undertaken seamlessly by the unit itself.

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Obviously, hiding an emergency exit sign would defeat the object! However, some clever LED sidelit signage is available that is less cumbersome and installs neatly within a scheme. Emergencies are not meant to be glamorous – the challenge is to gear the emergency scheme up behind the scenes as an invisible detail – ready for when danger strikes. LED is certainly delivering designs that do not conflict with the aesthetics of a scheme.

 

Emergency_Exit_Sign_with_LEDCall us to enquire on any aspect of an emergency scheme and advice on how to remain compliant in your next public space or work environment.

 

 

 

 

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Painting a Strong Contrast

When we emerge from Winter and into a crisp dawn, when the Sun is still low and we encounter the abstract sight of long shadows.

It is a wondrous and all too short period that occurs twice in the calendar and it connects with our innate ability to respond to the strong contrast in nature between light and dark. Bright sunshine and its binary partner shadow, has always delighted the human eye – enhancing the world in which we live. Essentially – we need the darks as much as the lights.

I believe, as we emulate the naturally occurring feature of contrast and apply it as an element within our built environment, we will improve the look and feel of our interiors.

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Painting with shadow

Contrast is primarily an application for hospitality and residential projects, but let’s not forget places of intensive habitation where people live 24/7; Care Homes and Hospitals for example. The eye and our brains can be led to believe they are experiencing the qualities of a strong sunlit forest which has been proven to lower blood pressure and to enhance wellbeing. This goes beyond circadian rhythms – and draws us close to a trigger within our atavistic minds to evoke a natural sense of harmony.

It’s also important to consider that the angle of delivery and colour temperature of sunlight shifts geographically as we approach the equator. Nordic and high northern hemisphere countries have a warmer more lateral sunlight. Mediterranean countries – a medium and balanced colour temperature. Tropical equatorial countries – where the sun is more direct producing bright, cooler and higher contrast shadows.

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Solution: there is a manufacturer of artificial skylight that can simulate all these qualities, tracking the progress of the sun astronomically throughout the day to successfully fool us into thinking the Sun is actually streaming through the window – and bringing with it all the emotional and psychological benefits of natural phases of light – minus the vitamin D of course.

Think about waiting rooms deep within the confines of a building without natural light and how they can be transformed into sun traps of LED light. These systems exist – the potential for solid state lighting is awesome!

However, it’s all very well for expensive simulators like this but how can we adopt a similar approach to our more modest budgets?

Adopting Strong Contrast Throughout the Day

Not all interior lighting needs to be soft and warm. An inviting colour temperature of 2700K with attendant strong pockets of light is our goal most of the time when designing dining or relaxation areas – but the challenge is not to become over reliant upon this solution as a fix-all.

For instance, take a restaurant with limited daylight penetration – especially in the UK where a third to half the year is subject to grey diffused light. When designing lighting for evening dining we tend to use dimmed soft lighting – but lunch service should embrace daylight simulation – why not use a second circuit using a 6500K daylight colour temperature?

Don’t be afraid of 3000K

For daytime use 3000K or 3500K, it’s still warm white but a step away from the 2700K extra warm white. Thinking back to the light through the trees, this cleaner white light infused with warmth is a pleasing result.

Crisp shadows need clear direction of light so we need to keep diffused downlighting to a minimum. Use undiffused LED light that accentuates the strength of the beam and the sharpness between light and dark.

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Suggestion: Conceal angled spot lights across a wall at a 45 degree angle, and replicate this angle of light throughout the interior – as if from a single source.

Control: This approach needn’t be a fixed solution for the whole day. Use controls to phase the scheme from this daytime scene and transfer to warmer tones with pockets of light. This can be done with sophisticated digital control or simply by deploying separate circuits with slightly cooler white – sharper shadowed fittings, utilising circuits with extra warm tones of white exclusively.

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(Astro Product Serifos 170)

So beyond the realm of circadian rhythms there is another dimension of light that strikes at the very heart of our natural being. It is an alternative natural system that doesn’t require highly sophisticated lighting controls to get right. It is another example of the unique preserve that the application of light has on an interior scene and a very powerful tool if you set it up correctly.

Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn
Indicative that suns go down;
The notice to the startled grass
That darkness is about to pass.

Emily Dickinson

Talk to us at Orange Lighting and we will provide the advice and the tools to create striking lighting schemes just give us a call or drop us a line!

 

 

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Lighting: Brass is Back

Have you ever wondered where trends in interior style come from? A small artist’s garret in Paris or a far away brainstorm by a panel of marketeers? Who decides let alone initiates the idea? I started investigating what I perceived to be a new trend for antique gold metal and I discovered some wonderful theories as to why ‘Brass is Back.’

It has been said that life in our disruptive digital age, forces us to seek reassurance from our past. Hence, in recent years we have been drawn to contemporary designs that evoke comforting memories, others refer to the fashion as ‘industrial luxury’. Gone are the stark minimalist interiors – now we celebrate late Victorian and Edwardian style in burnished antique brass accompanied by muted, yet complex colours.

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(Picture: Goodman Hanging Lamps with antique brass interiors – ask for more details)

It would seem that we are on a cycle of taste – an orbit that has taken us far away from pure techno and into a more analogue process which re-invigorates old technologies with modern enhancements. Well that certainly explains our rather prolonged fascination with Edison filaments. But the appetite is not stopping there – we are to press on to rooms full of heirlooms and new objects that are luxurious and detailed. A new Arts and Craft age that shuns modernity and embraces craftsmanship, with a touch of the industrial.

Hang on – before we go too deep is this a true fashion trend? Before writing this piece I enquired with some interior design clients – “are we choosing traditional finishes but with a contemporary twist?

The answer was a resounding; “Yes, I would agree (said one designer) we are using a lot more brass, more of an aged brass in general to keep the sophistication – it is featuring widely including in bathroom fittings

 

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(Pictures: The colour of a rich single malt – gilded metalwork from Dover Floor Light)

Whether you like it or not – it would seem that deep in our psyche we take comfort from the safe territory of the familiar! QED – why we are seeing more burnished and antiqued brass finishes being specified. Certainly not the shiny polished unadulterated brass you find on a ship’s bell – but weather etched aged brasses are back in our lives!

These gilded finishes with contemporary forms – mixing the more trad finish with a modern design – work well. Designers like Aerin are working with old gold widely in their lighting designs and the manufacturer Visual Comfort is featuring a ‘hand rubbed antique brass’ finish at the core of their range.

In truth, I believe that interior design trends respond to a gradual enthusiasm emanating from both the ‘public’ as well as the inspiration of designers. Whatever your thoughts – spare a moment to reflect on the quantity of new decorative lighting designs in warm muted metallic finishes that are literally taken the market by storm.

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To match the finish of the fitting – remember the colour temperature can be ‘antiqued’ too with an extra warm 2700K or even richer 2500K from one of our downlights – enquire within….

You guessed it – you will find a wonderful variety at Orange Lighting – with a plentiful supply of good advice to boot!

WZ_KW5012ABQ Halcyon chandelier antique burnished brass

(Picture: Halcyon large chandelier in antique burnished brass with quartz)

 

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Picture This: Lighting

Paintings are a wonderful addition to any room and offer a ‘window to another dimension.’ Hanging artwork within an interior is as important as the furniture, wall coverings and soft furnishings in defining the personality of a space. Pictures are also a great opportunity to create focal points and to add accents into a scheme with the use of thoughtful lighting.

Here we will explore the best techniques to illuminate pictures in your next project with winning results.
The key hazard to the lighting of pictures is to illuminate the work evenly. A balanced light is always the goal but in practice, this can prove tricky.

Tips

• Commonly a picture light sits above the frame and angles the light back towards the surface. The greater the distance the light source sits from the picture surface (the longer the arm of the fitting) the more diffused and wider the spread of light. Effectively this lowers the bright ‘hot spot’ on the top half of the painting.

• Its best to remember that the application of the picture’s lighting should differ dependent upon whether it is day or evening. In daylight, the highlight of a picture requires more illumination (lumens) than at night when the perceived contrast is greater. Be especially mindful of this in areas of relaxation eg. lounges, restaurants – as an over lit surface will destroy the balance of the lighting scheme in a room. (See dimming below)

• Always remember that a dark surface will soak up more light than a bright one and this rule applies to a picture/painting as to all other objects in a room. Hence a darker oil painting will need more light on it than a delicate watercolour. It is best to know what you are lighting before you specify the fixtures!

• Remember a picture light will spread it’s illumination out sideways, so remember that the actual light itself doesn’t have to be the same width as the painting.

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Method

Framing Projector
The optimum way to light a painting, as seen in museums and galleries, is to position the source some distance from the surface to achieve a well-diffused spread of light. Best practice uses a framing projector that requires a good sized recess in the ceiling to house the source. This will allow you to perfectly light any shaped artwork.

Downlights
Use directional downlights to wash the wall – which will include the pictures that are on it. At Orange Lighting we often specify the use a pair of downlights – some 500mm apart and positioned roughly 500mm from the hanging wall. (picture of Buckingham Gate bearded man).

Track System
Alternatively, you can mount a track system using adjustable well-baffled The use of a baffle design ensures that the source is deep within the fitting which avoids the instance of glare.

Wall mounted Picture Lights
These are the most commonly used method as it is relatively cost effective and easy to plan into a scheme. All too often there is no prior knowledge of the size of the artwork – so a first fix of the power source can be tricky to get right! I position the cabling at 1.8m high from finished floor level with the caveat that it’s likely to require remedial work to position correctly.

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Frame Mounted Picture Lights
Picture lights that are either mounted on the rear of the frame or have a shallow enough backplate to secure to the wall behind the picture and allow it to hang freely.
LED versions will not have room for a power supply to be integral to the luminaire – so remember that a driver will need to be remotely positioned and the wiring configured appropriately. Simply locating a lighting cable emerging out of the wall where you wish the light to located, may not be feasible – planning needs to be done first! Deploying a recessed wall box hidden behind the painting will allow the driver to be located behind the frame but remember to check that the chosen driver fits!

Controlling the Light

Colour Temperature
When faced with a choice of colour temperatures I opt for 3000K as a neutral warm white. In terms of LED illumination, it is still warm but without the yellowish hue of 2700K. Again, it is good to be guided by the painting itself. I know one expert that professes that early paintings should be candle-lit in the method in they were intended.

CRI
Thankfully high colour rendered LEDs are becoming increasingly available at budget-friendly prices. This is especially important in artworks that feature reds. A CRI of 95+ will add to the vibrancy of all colours in a painting a virtual restoration!

Dimming
Obviously dimming a light source gives you flexibility to suitably light the surface of the painting for day and night use. However, not all picture lights are dimmable so check the specification. The typical LED sourced picture light will not have a dimmable driver on board, but if you use a frame mount version that requires a driver to be added, at Orange Lighting, we will select the appropriate dimmable driver to suit. As long as the circuit the picture light is connected to allows dimming, the LED light source can be adapted suitably by the user.

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Glare
The enemy of all lighting designers. Often the best choice of light for a painting will not be the most practical for the user. Light sources that shine light back onto the surface from a distance will make the source more visible than one that is tighter to the target surface. If users walk past the picture or are seated under the picture, the ideal lighting needs to be close to its subject. Additionally, glass on pictures will usually reflect everything and add to glare unless it has purpose made non-reflective glass.

Aesthetics
Picture lights fall into two style camps – modern and traditional. The trouble with traditionally styled picture lights is their source of light is pretty crude – just Edison ‘screw-in’ lamps on the whole. A linear LED array provides a more even light but invariably it is to be found in a clean-lined fitting. Where you are forced to opt for a modern fitting choose a bronze finish.

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In fact, a picture light can be the star of the show and really add to the interior but the simpler the better; whatever the style of frame and nature of the painting.

Of course, the team at Orange Lighting are on hand to offer all the help and guidance you need for designing with this key element of an interior. You will find a very comprehensive range of designs to choose from too!

t. 0203 475 8488 e. info@orangelighting.co.uk

 

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