Category Archives: Blog

LED Strip: Is it Safe to Dim?

It appears that we have travelled a long distance in a short time with LED. Given its success as a lighting technology – it is sometimes difficult to believe that it had a dodgy start in life. Frankly, the first generations were harsh, somewhat blue in colour and they failed to dim! In fact, many of these issues have now disappeared, yet a lack of confidence persists amongst the trade and design professionals.

With LED tape in mind, I visited a wholesaler as recently as last week, who continues to advise their customers to stay away from dimming. An outdated notion perhaps, certainly a hangover of a legacy of unreliability and a very real concern if you have had fingers burnt in the past which costs everyone money and time to resolve.

It seems a pity that designers do not embrace LED in all its forms and across all budgets. I am mindful of the residential or small leisure / retail project that doesn’t warrant the expense of a fully digital dimming system. Here, refurbing a room or rooms mostly lends itself to a simple solution which is ‘mains dimming’.

Believe me, mains dimming LED downlights is now easy and reliable and it is a topic that we have covered on frequent occasions in the past. The mains dimming of LED tape has been around some time too BUT the range of dim i.e. how low it reduces – was inadequate and hardly worth the trouble. I’m here to tell you that with the right combination of LED module and driver, these days the dimming of tape is reliable.

The module we prefer to use at Orange Lighting is a common inexpensive model – another bonus! Importantly, it has a potentiometer on the side, a small screw which gives the installer the opportunity to raise and lower the range of dim.

If you desire peace of mind, when you buy from Orange Lighting we help customers specify the a complete install as part of the service and we will recommend the modules to suit each circuit for the project you are managing. For instance – downlights need a dimmer module suited to the sensitivity of constant current LEDs – we take the chosen lamps and dedicated downlights and ‘marry’ them with a model best suited as a constant voltage driver for the fittings.

Another stumbling point for designers who are running solo on their own projects, is the choice of switch plate which may not allow for the different versions of dimmer module. This is an area which requires scrutiny, for instance, we recently had to modify a plate to fit the 2 types of module.

The good news is that it is safe to specify dimmable LED tape for your next interior project. However, it still essential to specify the right equipment for the job. Compatibility issues exist between the fitting and the driver and details like ‘minimum’ loads need to be checked and calculated before installation. Why not rely on the accumulated experience and know-how of the Orange Lighting  team, when navigating through the perils and pitfalls of LED dimming next time you require lighting – it can save time, money and your reputation with the client!



Dining with Light

In most family homes the dining room has experienced a major transformation. In Victorian and Edwardian Villas, dining was designed to take place in a separate room where every meal was modelled on a gentrified lifestyle. These days things have become more informal and multi-functional and tables are utilised for varied tasks including hobbies and homework. Contemporary house builds have seemingly abandoned all formality and incorporated dining as an activity in an open living space or within a kitchen area.

When it comes to dining, lighting needs to be flexible to cater for these various activities. In many ways, the designer faces their greatest challenge. Essentially, each lit ‘scene’ needs to be planned out meticulously. These days you can opt for smart home controls, however, for lower budgets a simple dimming system is recommended if not essential in these multi-use spaces.



  • Full brightness – task activities
  • Evening relaxed but still a decent downward lumen level for weekday meals and study.
  • Dinner party – create an ambient candlelit experience, build layers as always, so elements of the lighting scheme can be adapted to suit the scene.

Design Tips

Build layers as always, so elements of the lighting scheme can be adapted to suit the scene.

Use a strong focal point – decorative lamp over the table to delineate the space and encourage people to gather around it. Support the pendant light with downlights over the table surface to provide task lighting for other functions like daytime meals.


Remember, glass pendants or chandeliers often do not provide much light; supplementary lighting will give them sparkle and bring them to life.

It is a good idea to Illuminate perimeter walls and surfaces. This provides a background ambient light to support the table top lighting and creates interest.


  • wash walls with light.
  • use pictures lights and wall lights.
  • light shelving in cabinets.

From the outset in the planning stage ensure the provision of separate lighting circuits to modulate scenes. In this way, an ambient candle like light (wired in) can provide an independently controlled ambience. Additionally, you can factor in candlelight as part of a dinner party scene. The most flattering light comes from candlelight and plenty of candles on the table will make everyone

A good tip is to Illuminate curtains, they look sorry for themselves at night when unlit! On a dimmable circuit, a colour washed curtain can appear like a tapestry, reflecting colour back into the space and providing another aspect of interest.

You can create magical effects by lighting the outside so it creates a scene through a window at night to provide interest and to extend the space into the garden. It also breaks up the black coldness of a darkened window pane.

The kitchen diner set up just means we have a larger space to sculpt lighting wise to suit the application and there are often many useful reflective surfaces to utilise.  Add some up lighters, either on the wall or from the floor, to freshen the ceiling and bounce diffused light which acts as a good background illumination. Don’t forget table and counter top lights are a great addition and an easy way to provide a middle layer of light especially flexible when wired into their own 5amp circuit.

For decorative pendant ideas visit our other website, particularly the Visual Comfort range.



Hue and CRI as TM-30 takes over!

Perhaps the last vestige of the incandescent and fluorescent era is about to disappear and we all have to adapt to the change. Measuring colour fidelity is critical for interior designers. The very appearance of every shade or hue in aroom – whether it is a textile or a painted surface depends on the illumination that shines upon it. Now the LED age has sounded the death knell for our old friend the colour rendering Index (CRI).

You might think that a new way of measurement has been devised to embrace the relatively huge spectrum of colour now possible with LED lighting – and you would be correct – partially! It’s true LED has the ability to deliver a level of colour accuracy that legacy lighting could not begin to match. However, the real motivator behind the introduction of a new metric is because of LED shortcomings.


As we have touched on before in this esteemed newsletter,  the CRI method has come under increased criticism for its inability to accurately define how well LEDs render colours. Key to the issue, is a recognition that LED can have a relatively high CRI but renders red badly.

CRI is now being replaced TM-30-15 (Technical Memorandum), which is a new method of evaluating light source colour rendition as prescribed by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America in 2015.
Whilst CRI – ( a measure developed in the 1930s) as a scale relies on just 8 colour samples contributing to the Ra value. TM-30-15 uses 99 new colour evaluation samples to measure colour fidelity Rf with an additional measure Rg for gamut area.


TM-30-15 describes a method for evaluating light source colour rendition, quantifying the fidelity (closeness to a reference) through a Fidelity Index (Rf) and gamut (increase or decrease in chroma) through a Gamut Index (Rg) of a light source. The method also generates a colour vector graphic that indicates average hue and chroma shifts, which helps with interpreting the values of Rf and Rg.

So what does this mean to you?

Don’t be surprised if you increasingly see references to TM-30-15 in specifications and packaging, High-end lighting manufacturers are welcoming the new measurement as a vindication of the quality of their product. The word is out that the use of the chart won’t remain exclusively within the expensive spectrum. Many lamp manufacturers of quality will be brandishing the new metric on packaging soon across a wide range of price points.
The US Government Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy is the body sponsoring the new system and they have provided a very comprehensive yet easy to follow briefing on the metric – just click on the video link below.

As a rule of thumb three useful extremes are described as follows:

  • A high fidelity or natural colour rendition would score a TM-30 of Rf 94 Rg100.
  • An extremely saturated colour environment which would make the reds pop Rf 65 Rg115 if your client wants to live a cartoon lifestyle!
  • For sake of argument, a strongly desaturated colour pallet would be presented at a TM-30 setting of Rf 65 Rg 80 where everything would appear dull. Which is interestingly, the type of effect that is provided by cheap the low CRI LED lamps of the past that we all would like to avoid.


Never Over-light Again


As a designer and promoter of light – it may seem surprising that I raise the topic of too much light! Yet it remains one of the major issues facing architects and interior designers and it is a ‘sure-fire’ way of ruining a scheme. According to whom – you may ask? Well here is the nub of the question. One person’s over-lighting is another’s opportunity to see the small print in a newspaper. The balance between the aesthetic and the functional is another way of viewing the conundrum. As a gauge of lighting suitability – visual discomfort would define the limits of functionality on one side and lack of visibility determines the other side of the scale. The question is – how do you navigate your way through to arriving at the ideal balance of light that suits the appearance of the scheme as well as matching the purpose of the space.

First, two definitions that will aid our decision-making process; the topics of ‘brightness’ and ‘over-uniformity.’

The term brightness is used to describe the perception of a space indoors and out, technically speaking it’s quantifying how much light is reflecting off the surfaces within an interior space. The variety of surfaces and materials will all behave differently under the existing light. So when a space is overlit, we need to pay attention to how these surfaces are responding to our choices of light source. It’s not a simple matter of just about racking up too many downlights – although that is a concern!

Some surfaces need an even uniformity – task areas, work surfaces etc but too much uniformity will destroy the visual interest of space. Additionally, too much light distributed can flatten an interior scheme.

Library-2(Our scheme above has many lights but it’s not over-lit, allowing contrast & purposely lit surfaces)


Although dimming can be seen as a failsafe against overlighting a space; dimming alone is not a complete solution. As word of caution, when dimming you overlight-down-correctneed to be aware of how our eyes work too.
Strong downlighting with insufficient supporting light sources, often produces a harsh side accent light that can create unflattering shadows and graphic contrasts that may prove undesirable. As we pull back on the light levels generated from the ceiling fixtures – we cause two alternate problems that will have to be addressed.

  1. The existing contrasts of light within the space reduce impact and a milky diffused light may wash over the space, flattening the three-dimensional forms that contribute to the visual appeal of a space. We need to restrain our downward sources of light and deploy them where they are really needed and not rely on them solely to light a room.
  2. Dimming appears to only offer partial light reduction if it does not dim to near zero. Thisproblem lies with our innate visual perception. Whilst our eyes adapt to lower levels of light a light source remains to appear too bright. At 10% output of an LED source, the visual perception can be over 30%, as your vision adjusts. Our core range of Lumi downlights solves this by effectively dimming to dark, (or to 0.1%) so the eye will see a dim level that appears low when measured at a low level.
  3. Perceived-light-to-dimming2

Addressing Colours

The brightness of a surface will not only be affected by how much light is being shone onto it, but also it is a factor of the quality of light. You can balance a space and not over light by identifying which surfaces are most likely to unbalance the space.

Example 1: A highly reflective light coloured floor will multiply the reflectance of light.

Example 2: A source of light with a high CRI (or TM-30 scale) will increase the saturation of colours and appear brighter.

One of the benefits of working with Orange Lighting – is that we will provide a complementary overlight-linearassessment of light levels based upon your existing lighting scheme. Whether we have designed it or not – our aim is to help you specify the correct lights to ensure an ideal outcome for your next interior project. Selection of the correct fixtures and fittings often come down to experience. For instance, many recent downlights offer sparkle and provide a welcome contrast – however, unbaffled they appear too bright!


Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Since ancient times mirrors have been a priority feature of interior living. They fulfil a functional need for self-portrayal but also as a method to enhance the levels reflected light within a room. Whatever the purpose of a mirror, tackling how to light them with sharpen your lighting design skills and add a polish to look and feel of a project. Lighting a mirror is an interesting topic. In effect, we actually light around them in order to light subject in the reflection or to create a framing effect.

Lighting a face in a mirror

Lighting for a mirror in a bathroom particularly needs to be done with a combination of light sources from a combination of directions. The face requires an even wash of light but ideally without shadows within the eye sockets and under the chin.Mirror

Solution: bring light down vertically and push it towards the face.

Example: Use a downlight in the ceiling positioned just above the head slightly towards the front of the face – use the edge of the sink as your guide. This will light the front of the face but will create shadows if this remains the only source. Negate the shadows by throwing light onto the face via wall lights or reflecting light off the wall from a hidden linear source. This principle is demonstrated in the main image above – one downlight reflecting light within the alcove.

Hairdresser Case Study Click here


Professional use of a mirror requires the lighting of customers faces and hair in an expert way. In this instance the business had always only lit from above so during the refurbishment we hid a strong linear source (High output T5 fluorescent in various sizes) with the purpose of making a shadow gap around the perimeter – washes sufficient light down the wall as to act light as a wall light – reflecting light onto the face to act as a counter-balance to the light from the downlight. (approx. 900 lumens each).

Remember that whilst the face (and hair in this case) is lit well, there is plenty of light to enter the interior space which minimises the requirement for extra light sources to litter the ceiling.

Lighting a Bathroom

Use the mirror itself as a way of concealing light sources. For instance, wash light down onto the sink and taps from a hidden source at the base of the mirror.

Use mirror adaptor kits (if available) for mounting wall lights onto a mirror (i.e. Astro Mirror adaptor kit). This helps spread the pressure around the hole cut in the glass of the mirror when the light is tightened against the glass.fixing

Suspend a light source in front of a mirror: We sell IP44 drop pendants that are the perfect solution for positioning a light source in front of the face when all the wall is mirrored.  Two versions – an Astro and hand made bespoke solution are available. 

Have you considered mirrors that contain their own lighting? These can be useful as they provide the light where it’s most needed, in front of the face. However, a tip is to watch out for the colour temperature of the light. A cold crisp LED or fluorescent may give what seems a more realistic rendition of a skin tone BUT LED needs the CRI to be high for a true colour rendering – at least 80 RA.

Also – we have found that some sources that come with certain mirrors and wall lights are too bright, where your eye squints a little to compensate for the brightness. We have found that to be the case in certain cases where a long linear source is required but not dimmable.

Fixture-panel Mirrors in a Living Space

Mirrors above fireplaces and furniture help reflect light in the day and can effectively widen a space. At night this reflector is more effective as it is in the day. To replace the broad illumination of daylight in the evening, position a downlight source near to the mirror which will introduce some light for the mirror to push back into the interior. However, being by nature reflective mirrors can be a trial to light

Backs of Cabinets

Tricky! Any light fitting you put in there will be reflected back, which more often or not will look ugly and ill thought through. The purpose of lighting inside a cabinet is to help brighten the objects within, so the light has to be in the foreground, however, this is the furthest away from the mirror and therefore is more likely to be seen in the reflection.

Solution: Hide the source so only the light itself will spill downwards – put an LED strip inside a deep aluminium extrusion at the front of the cabinet so the extrusion masks the light source.

Dressing Rooms

Can be an issue when there is no room for a wall light due to the presence of cupboards. We try and light from behind the mirror if there are surfaces to reflect light off or make sure there is a downlight near the mirror to illuminate the viewer and position another one or two lights in order to reflect light off the cupboard doors or walls which will contribute to even out the shadows.

Remember to call us at Orange Lighting for a full range of lighting mirror options available and ask for free advice on all methods to enhance mirrors within your next interior project.


Toolbox Essentials – Marker & Uplighting


If we can paint with light within an interior, then accent lighting represents the very brush strokes that we use to enhance the scene. Accent lighting covers many types of light source, table light, wall light, pendant but here we will look at where LED has reinvigorated the category most. The opportunity to highlight features or pick out key architectural structures has never been so possible in this era of LED. Longevity and miniaturisation have both contributed to enabling the placement of concealed and remote access lamps and luminaires throughout an interior. This week we focus on the use of marker and in-ground uplights that effectively produce an additional layer of light to shape the 3D reliefs of a space.


The Tools

Here we focus on two key tools for accent lighting; the in-ground uplighter and the wall floor washer. Both are used effectively by sending light up from low to high – (typically the job of the in ground uplighter) AND washing onto the floor i.e. washing surfaces with specified amounts of light.

The Role of an Accent

Essentially, accent lighting is used to produce interest to the eye. It is illumination that is there to be seen rather than produce a general ambient light which is ‘invisible’. It’s the mark of a good designer to consider using accent light as a vital ingredient for every scheme, as the viewer’s eye is hungry for visual interest. Look to highlight repetition and rhythm – a theme we often touch on.  Here we concentrate on the core products we regularly use in projects – there are many other variations available of course, just ask!


Uplight and Marker Light: Tips

All the key points to consider are listed here because it is a continual wonder how the most obvious can be overlooked in the bustle of managing a lighting scheme.

  • What floor surface material or wall fabric are fixtures going in – this can affect the suitability of a choice. For example, a wooden floor would usually need an overlap on the front of the fitting to allow it to suspend and be silicon sealed into place. Screed floors may need a canister to cast into the floor at first fix, ready for the fitting to slot into at 2nd.
  • What depth will the floor or wall allow for a fitting to recess into? Typically 150mm before a screed meets insulation and avoid underfloor heating! Brick walls or plasterboard stud walls have to be treated differently.
  • Wire in series allowing for the positioning of a remote power supply. The majority of LED marker lights fittings require a constant current driver.Niche-light-main
  • If you cannot find space anywhere for a remote power supply, consider two options.
  1. Some fixtures will allow a very small driver to fit through the cutout hole and lie underneath. Bring mains power to each fitting rather than wire in series.
  2. There are some 230V mains powered LED in-ground uplights that do not require the power supply. There is a small choice out there but we can source them for you.
  • The distance of the fitting from the surface you want lit to spill up is determined by the beam angle you choose or is available. When choosing a fitting with an undisclosed beam width and a frosted lens, assume it’s very wide.
  • IP rating needs to be high to allow for water spillage and floor washing. IP65 or more, typically IP67.
  • Glare. A light fitting you can walk up to or even walk over is going to cause glare to the eye if looked at directly, however this can be minimised. A tight beam will focus light to where you want it to go and not out into the viewer’s field of vision. It’s the same principle occurring in the difference between the dazzling light from a car’s full beam compared with a dipped headlight. In domestic lighting, we use a fixture with the LED deep within the barrel of the fitting whenever possible and only widen a beam if deemed essential.

New solutions to accent lighting are arriving weekly, so call us for an update or to discuss your forthcoming project. Notably, niche light is closely associated with accent lighting so you may like to review that topic on the Orange Lighting website – please click here.



Toolbox Essentials – Downlights


Designers and suppliers Orange Lighting announcing their Lighting Essentials Toolbox to help you tackle the techie side of your next lit interior, starting with the downlight.

It is true that lighting is a technical area. Sometimes it is difficult to see through the practical detail in order to remain focussed on the creative concept. In cerebral terms, our aim is to focus the right side of your brain on the necessary specifications, whilst freeing the left side of your brain to visualise your design concept.

For this exercise, I would ask you to picture a toolbox. Inside this handy container all the essentials you need to light your next project. If you like, every item in this box is a lighting hero, an essential fixture that features in the majority projects. In the forthcoming series of lighting updates, we will select one item to join a growing collection of lighting heroes from the myriad of choices in the lighting world. Importantly, every product selection has been  built into a special reference section on the Orange Lighting website, so you can utilise the toolbox guide when planning forthcoming projects.

Our first Toolbox hero is the ubiquitous downlight. Arguably the bread and butter of interiors over the last 30 years – yet should it be your number one choice – especially in this LED era?

toolbox-badge-2-1Toolbox Item #1: Downlight

It seems the downlight is considered as an essential light source for most schemes because spaces are illuminated downwards from above which seems to be the natural choice.

Yet, designers that have a reliance on the fixture are making an error. In fact, an overuse of downlights can be viewed as lazy. For instance, I know a couple of designers whose first question at the planning stage of a project is “how do I avoid using downlights?”

It seems that every job that we supply at Orange Lighting has a downlight component. My advice is to use the fitting thoughtfully with an awareness of alternatives. Downlights cannot be relied upon to answer every

question or suit every lighting need. Nevertheless – they are extremely useful!

down1Where should you use a downlight? Effectively, the light is falling and creating a pool of lightdetermined by the beam width. Use this almost too simple principle to decide where…..

Determine whether you want the general light in a space supplemented with more light. If it is safe to increase the lighting level without over illuminating – use downlights – but consider, do you want to spread the light out wide or create tight beams that define pools of light on the floor?

Main fixtures used are:

650 lumens +

down2Fixed and adjustable white recessed 2700K with an output of just under 700lms – the equivalent to the
old 35W low voltage dichroic.

Trimless versions are increasing in popularity with a square solution winning recent approval, however, the round 60mm is wonderfully discrete.

Also, consider the very small versions of the adjustable white downlight for ‘pin’ spotting. Remember shower and bathroom versions are available too.

500 lumens and undermicro

For less powerful lighting, it’s best to select a GU10 removable lamp fitting – available in all thevarieties above.

When does this tool come out the box?

Ambient: to infill spaces where light is required to raise the levels overall and where the light source is intended to be hidden or obscured. A good tip is to use a well diffused fairly wide beam that isn’t too powerful when fitting a standard height ceiling.

Task: Concentrate light by defining a beam width, although remain open to adjustment to ensure correct positioning on site, so the light is thrown where it needs to go.

Accent: We use downlighting in two main ways as an accent light.Trimless_80_Tilt_and_Rotate-1

  1. Utilise a mid-beam width and make sure the room exhibits defined lights and darks. Hence, the beams of downlights do not touch and there is a clear light and dark pattern on the reflected surfaces notably on the floor.
  2. Locate downlights near a wall to reflect light off the vertical surface and into the room and consider using it’s shape as a feature. The downlight should contribute to the lighting scheme by providing light and interest but not in an overpowering way. Act to minimise glare by guarding against light spill – especially overhead.

When to use 500lms and under or 650lms or more?

If the project affords dimming then it’s always good to have some light in reserve to use occasionally whilst the default scheme is dimmed for comfort. This suits an LED chip as it’s like running under power. Akin to a 2.0 litre engine in 6th gear at 50 miles an hour – it purrs it’s way through life.Shadowline_Detail_Tilt_and_Rotate_Twin-1

We use LED lamps (500 lm and under) in schemes when required but choose to double up on fittings by opting for twin adjustable downlights as a preference and keeping them well spaced out. That way we retain the principle of accent lighting and double up on the output capacity.

For examples of downlights – take a look around our online Toolbox essentials guide – click on the button. You will find specifications and a host of alternatives to provide a range of flexible solutions. Remember, you are welcome to call the team at Orange Lighting to discuss the deployment of downlights in your next scheme.



VIDEO: Colour Temperatures

In this short video Andrew walks you through the colour temperatures available to Designers when using LED lamps and luminaires. Take a 3 minute journey around the globe and aquaint yourself with the natural colours that can be re-created within interiors, thanks to the wonders of solid state lighting.

Would you agree that most interiors are inspired by the great outdoors?
In truth indoor spaces that require ambience are mostly influenced by natural colours whether they are woven into carpets or feature in other soft furnishings and wall coverings. Back in the ‘dark ages’ or incandescent lighting, how these hues of colour were perceived was determined by the colour of the light ‘burned’ by the filament material. Tungsten and metal halide, for example, emit a range of differing colour temperatures and we were restricted to a crude colour scale loosely grouped around warm through to brilliant.

LED fittings offer a full spectrum; a pallet with which to paint with light.

So with LED the colour temperature choice is yours and it is an essential consideration when determining the entire look of your design.
Let’s take a stroll – to remind ourselves of the spectrum available and maybe to prompt ideas for lighting scheme in your next project.

1. 1800K – extra extra warm white – VERY Cozy! Application: candle light atmosphere for restaurants

2. 2700K – extra warm white – warm and cozy. Application: homes, restaurants, hotel lobbies

3. 3000K– warm white – warm white. Friendly and intimate. Application: retail, offices and libraries.

4. 3500K – neutral white. Friendly and inviting. Application: showrooms, offices.

5. 4000K – Cool white. Neat, clean and efficient. Application: Offices, classrooms, hospitals.

6. 6500K – Daylight. Bright and alert. Galleries, museums and high task areas.

Key Learning From Mega Spaces

The challenge of lighting a mega space may not present itself very often but arguably it will become more commonplace. After all, we are pressing more unlikely ‘brown field’ sites into new uses as industrial buildings are being converted into entertainment, commercial and even residential uses. Naturally, LED light sources are in their element in these projects. Medium to high bay lamps that offer 10,000 to 25,000 hour longevity is providing a practical solution for inaccessible ceilings where costly access for maintenance teams, once made aerial lighting schemes untenable.
Lighting spaces with large volumes are tricky – probably not something we’ll tackle that often in our careers but I think we can learn and reuse some important techniques for more common interiors. Increasingly I am encountering double height rooms with balconies and minstrel galleries more regularly and of course, there is a seeming never ending appetite for barn conversions.
A good case in point is the German Gymnasium in London a Grade 2 listed conversion featuring an amazing space with a vast expanse to fill. The first sight of this project must have been daunting for the design team at Into Lighting* (recently featured in Mondo Arc*). However, like everything, it’s best not to be intimidated by the scale; instead, approach the exercise by breaking it down logically. Ideally, large spaces should be treated in much the same way as we would approach any space, large or small.
Guideline – checklist

1. Focal points – where do you want to entice the eye – lead people’s view.
2. Important secondary highlights – e.g. celebrate the architecture by emphasizing the form and textural qualities of the space.
3. Build layers of lit surfaces or objects – each with a chosen intensity and colour of light
4. Approach a new space with broad brush strokes – where do we need washes of light, where do we need fine lines of illumination. Question, how can we enhance the rhythm or form of the interior architecture?

The next step is to address the functionality – how will people use the space, where is task lighting needed? In an entertainment or leisure space, this is graphically demonstrated by the purpose of the surface. In a restaurant or bar there is a wide scope of lighting ranging from the strong illumination required in a food preparation area within a kitchen, through to the ambient subtle and even romantic table tops of a fine dining experience.
6 Key Tips to be Learned from this Case Study
A.    The huge timber ceiling of great importance interestingly is dealt with subtly, not a focal point but a supporting act lit with reflected light and light spilled from up-lights on the 1st-floor columns and LED projectors. Clever way to lift the ceiling higher – it almost floats!
B.    The bottles on the bars are always a good feature to light and relatively easy to do – here the bottles are lit front and back to provide an illuminated backdrop to each bottle and collectively across the whole display. Frosted diffusers in extrusions covering LED strips will diffuse the light well.
C.    Strong forms are supported with light – hidden LED strips reflecting light onto the handrails of the stairs is a triumph here, producing thin lines of light, drawing the users up to the 1st-floor space using the conspicuously lit bar as the destination.

D.    There is a clever use of LED sources here. The balcony balustrade is demarked with channels of LED strip that emits an amber glow. Potentially dark spaces under the stairs are lit with another layer of LED too.

E.    Human level lighting is cleverly introduced with table and wall lights that create a relaxed ambiance.
F.    The tables are lit with tight beamed lamps; it is essential to keep the light ‘tight’ over these long distances so that it only goes to where you intend – reducing spilled light retains the contrasts of light and dark within a scheme.
G. (above) Whenever we choose a light source, it’s very important to deal with how the light will be brought or managed within the space. Remember to protect the user from glare by hiding the source as deep as possible within fittings or extrusions – use baffles and snoots where you can. (Snoot is an accessory to a light fitting that extends the barrel of a spotlight to deepen the source within the fitting).
Working with scale is wonderful because it never fails to impress. Although the lessons of large spaces are the same as the rules of smaller interiors, you will need to use more powerful fixtures and fittings – so do approach the team at Orange Lighting for ideas that are offered with practical advice that ensures your vision can be delivered effectively!
* Ref: Into Lighting click Ref: Mondo Arc feature click

All The Fuss About Flicker?

A regular customer called me recently and opened a juicy can of worms. Currently, there is nothing more contentious in lighting than the topic of LED flicker – just the kind of problem I like to grapple with on a Friday. In truth, seldom is there an issue divided by such polar opinions. So in an attempt to brief you, I will try and navigate through the issue, with interior design priorities in mind, so that you have a ready answer when a client brings up the thorny issue.

The guiding principle behind flicker is whether it is an aesthetic question or a health issue? Whilst no one denies that it is an issue in terms of appearance – others query the existence of a health issue beyond the very necessary concern for photo-induced epilepsy.

Visible flicker can be discerned by the human eye, occurs under 100 Hz (cycles per second) with 3Hz to 70Hz as a highly visual range of which 15Hz to 20 Hz is a known trigger for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Thisis why the theatrical strobe light is avoided on dancefloors and why newsreaders warn us before showing footage of crowds of paparazzi collectively ‘flashing’ at red carpet events. If a led fixture produced this type of flicker you would regard the lamp as highly-unstable, most likely due to a malfunction of the internal (or external) driver.
Now we move into the grey area of non-visible flicker and the effects of long-term exposure to flicker in 70-160 Hz range. In the opinion of some, such flicker can cause malaise, headaches and visual impairment. Since, solid state lighting fixtures are directly connected to AC supply, there is a likelihood that after the 50 Hz is rectified to 100-Hz or 120-Hz, flicker can occur with LED lighting installations.

The reality check on non-visible flicker is that oscillations in the intensity of light happen everywhere in nature and other technologies including fluorescent lighting are well-known culprits. To irradicate a working environment from all flicker would be a challenge coupled with the fact that research into the physical effects is complicated by other physiological and psychological factors. So it is safe to say that it is desirable to have LED lighting that operates above 160 Hz where the health effects of flicker appear negligible.


Most lighting manufacturers look to the driver as the cause of discernible flicker. Ultimately, if LEDs were powered by Direct Current – no flicker would occur. As Alternating Current powers the national grid, a drivers job is to convert the current into a steady charge from the oscillating sine-curve of power fed from the electrical circuit. Some examples of early and low-cost LED lights are only equipped with simple circuitry and these models remain susceptible to mains-borne flicker and need to be avoided. Additionally, other lamps that are equipped with power correction components on board can create flicker issues by producing an excess of ‘ripple current’. The best LED lights are paired with drivers that have well tuned compensatory components that reduce this effect.

The Answer

Flicker is a problem that will not disappear overnight. For instance, as lighting manufacturers look to offer true replica LED lamps in the shape of familiar globes and candles, they will become even more dependent upon the circuitry that can cause flicker. This is also compounded by the complications of dimming LED lamps on conventional lighting circuits. In some ways, specifying LED fittings that use external drivers is an easier exercise than choosing integrated legacy lamps.

Consistent with my (well-used) mantra, the solution remains in testing, testing and testing. Buy from manufacturers that test comprehensively and have a list of compatible drivers which have been assessed for flicker. If the unit is dimmable, ensure that flicker has been assessed on control units too.

Naturally at Orange Lighting, we judge quality continually and we prefer to work with manufacturers that remain open and transparent about their quality control regime.

Please consult us on how to avoid or manage the issue of flicker in your next scheme and we will guide you toward reliable products that will stand the test of time.
Click on the clip above to view a useful video on LED flicker