Tag Archives: design

Lighting: Finding the WOW factor

There is a time for decorative lighting. Essentially it answers a need that cannot expressed with concealed and architectural lights alone. Sometimes you need to make a statement in a space – focus the eye of the viewer and create a ‘wow’ factor. By its very nature, choosing a decorative light is a challenge, as you are faced with a bewildering array of opportunities. Of course we are governed by the notion of a matching style, and an idea of appropriate scale with the reality of a budget. Here is a list of what we look out for when choosing decorative lighting.

At Orange Lighting we approach the specification of lights from two angles; as both lighting designers and as expert wholesalers and re-sellers. This gives us a unique and in-depth view of the lighting market. We aim to source the perfect light for any project.

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Our process of choosing:

Quality – always of highest importance. Lighting must be durable and has to stand up to an installation let alone a long future. We take time inspecting the fabric of not only the structure of the light but also the electrical and electronic components.

Price – we set out to offer a range to suit mid to high end budgets. (Naturally, we offer the added benefit of supplying lights at trade prices).

Design – we judge a light within its own genre i.e. traditional lighting – it needs to have an element that sets it apart from the norm. You can scour the net for ‘vanilla’ design – however at Orange Lighting we need to ensure our clients are receiving what they have come to expect from our online catalogue – a well refined product.

Scale – this often involves fine judgement. The guideline is – whilst avoiding being vulgar – decorative lighting is better when slightly over-scaled.

Stock levels – many ornate highly crafted decorative lights can take a long time to complete. We look for quick or at least reasonable lead times as much as possible to ensure choices can be used with a project’s cycle.

Finish – the integrity of the product is born out of how well it is finished. The perfection of its chroming or plating, the level of care shown in its hand finishing or turning with the absence of welded joints and the presence of hidden fixings.

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Whether large or small it’s all in the detail. I subscribe to the eternal wisdom that in a majority of design decisions less is often more – however – when we do use a decorative element to our lighting scheme – it must be robust enough to work hard and do it’s job supremely well – it is as important as having good looks.

Ultimately – a decorative light is the most visible object in the room – it is the focal point, so it has to be flawless!

Keep abreast of trends and new styles in decorative lights – check the online catalogue at the Orange Lighting Outlet here

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Slot in the Lights

Slot lighting is a technique that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Once the preserve of the retail world, it has grown across interior sectors and is now often seen in domestic as well as commercial spaces. Ostensibly it is a device used to remove the clutter of fittings and fixtures and to preserve a ceiling in its simplest form. However, a slot can offer so much more and its lines have an immense impact of the appearance of a space as a whole. Again, LED has had an influence in the resurgence in the use of lighting slots. The compact nature of LED has allowed for a shallow groove design and the lower heat management profile required has made the products easier to deploy.

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Of course there is nothing new under the sun. Echoes of slot lighting can be seen as far back as the Art Deco era – a period that was obsessed by transforming the unnecessary and streamlining detail into flow. In many ways that is what a slot can do to a space. It has a major influence on the perspective of a room and can draw the eye toward focal points. These scores in the ceiling can effectively shape a space with dramatic effect – to lengthen a room for instance.

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Until recently slots would exclusively house spotlight fixtures. If used correctly, these fittings would be entirely concealed within a prefabricated extrusion that would be physically installed into a ceiling’s plaster work or panels. The slots are painted black to ensure that no light is reflected out of the feature. Multi-angled downlights are then positioned to create the desired pools of light or to wash a wall with an ambient or defused illumination and naturally stronger task light can be incorporated too. The overall effect is neatness and a ‘clean-lines’ room design. One step beyond is to use these lines to complement an interior. Perhaps this is easier with a contemporary design, yet it is still used to good effect within more ornate period spaces. So, consider the impact carefully before installing.

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Once again LED has provided an easy to use solution. A continuous strip of light can be concealed within a 53 mm wide groove in a ceiling and provides an ultimately flexible feature, available to wash a wall or focus on a region like a seating area or dining table. Again the slots themselves offer travel lines for the eye and provide the opportunity to score a ceiling in a ‘criss-cross’ design – in a lighting dance of its very own. Self-contained and prefabricated units offer a simple yet effective ‘continuous’ light solution in a wide choice of colour of white hues.

Why not explore slots in your next scheme? Call us and we will navigate you though the product alternatives.

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LED Hotel

LED lighting has been with us long enough now to be on every Hotel managers agenda, whether it’s for a refurbishment or simply re-lamping using retrofit LED lights. There are huge opportunities to save overheads as well as improve and refresh the design of your establishment’s interior. Additionally the control of LED lighting promises to add further savings, simply by turning lights off or down automatically when not required. Essentially the benefits of adopting LED are very real, and will deliver a reduction in energy consumption by well over 50% – especially in Hotels where lighting is required in public areas 24 hrs a day.

But can the adoption of LED keep or improve the aesthetics of a luxury interior?

Horror stories from some of the early adopters of LED tell of the poor quality of LED and variations in colour and this concern remains valid in cases where LEDs are not tested and specified thoroughly. Most hoteliers will have tried LED in one form or another with mixed reactions. The good news is that I believe that there is now a quality LED solution to meet all budgets. In effect the LED lighting market has matured. I urge you to keep testing and trailing as the cost benefits are too significant to ignore.

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Here are some further thoughts to consider when approaching a LED conversion:

Embrace the opportunity to rejuvenate spaces by adopting this tiny solid state light. In effect LED technology has miniaturised light sources and allows the designer to illuminate every sculptural detail of an interior. For instance restoring grandeur by LED tape hidden in cornices, up-lighting original detailing. In my designs, contemporary restrained luxury can be delivered with bold features rather than over lighting and complicating schemes.

Of course as you survey the lights is your Hotel you will be struck by the range of light fittings, many of which include table lamps and other decorative fittings using conventional shades. Until recently LED lamps have resembled props from Star Trek – mostly due to a need for hi-tech heat-sink. More good news is the new LED ‘bulbs’ are progressing back to familiar shapes and sizes akin to the GLS lamp, so they are easily compatible with conventional lamp shades as in the case of the Integral LED Omni Lamp.

One of the unseen hitches when Hoteliers consider LED is the incorrect belief that existing dimmers and control system can be converted to LED simply by swapping the lights. For simplicity you can view old conventional systems as circuits that guzzle large outputs of power whilst the new LED lighting systems sip a fraction (typically 10%). Therefore conventional dimmer circuits are too insensitive to control the relatively tiny wattages needed for LED. So you must be careful to integrate new with old and I favour the use of dedicated drivers and controls.

Future proofing your Hotel is a real opportunity and one that will continue to deliver savings into the next decade and beyond. LED is a semiconductor technology so artificial intelligence is easily applied to enable automation. You must be open to the benefits of enhanced lighting controls that are increasingly becoming available. For instance, you can also use motion and ambient light sensors to decide whether the room needs to operate at its full potential. Another key application is in the bathroom. Often a guest will leave these lights on when no longer needed; this can now be automatically turned down to a warm inviting glow after a period of no motion. All of these applications can be controlled from a central location using software such as Crestron roomview which monitors the state of every room and the carbon footprint left by every suite.

When you are considering a LED conversion or including LED in a hotel, then call us at Orange Lighting for free and impartial advice on joining the energy saving revolution. We will also supply you with the lamps, fixtures and fittings that you will need to achieve major savings.

Driven by the Light

MAIN-DRIVER
For some unaccountable reason – when LED lighting arrived – we all had to refrain from calling power supply units ‘transformers’ and refer to them as ‘drivers’. The source of these terminological decisions remains unknown – but it is highly effective at spreading confusion amongst us mere mortals in the design community.

DRIVER1Unfortunately the ‘driver’ is too important a component to ignore. The rather anonymous black box is an essential piece of kit and it can actually be quite exciting – or is that stretching the point too far – let’s see? All I would say is that you ignore a little knowledge about drivers – at your peril…
The two main types of driver we commonly use are ‘constant current’ and DC versions and you must choose which one is relevant for the intended application.

Constant current LEDs are ‘driven’ at a current that effects their output. If you are supplied a 700ma driver with your LED fitting – that is the level of current tested for the published output data.

DRIVER4V3TIP: Did you know that if you find a LED fitting is too bright you can effectively dim by lowering the output of the fitting by reducing the amount of current it receives from the driver (that is what dimming does) so you could swap to a 350ma driver instead.

So far so good – it still remains a small box connected to the fitting – so what is exciting?

New LED products are arriving with integral drivers – radically reduced in size and on-board – so soon you might not have to worry about little black boxes at all!

A word of caution – we know that LEDs last an age but the weakest link in many LED systems it is the driver and not the LED and the fitting itself. Simply put – a 10 degree increase in temperature can halve the life of the electronics. So the thermal dynamics of an on-board driver or one that sits on top of a fitting have to be well designed, so be vigilant and buy the best available.

So the hunt is on for a driver-less mains powered LED chip – of which Samsung (to name one) has achieved by creating an AC chip. Its early days as there is some flicker generated from the 50 hz mains power but watch this space.

Still waiting for the exciting bit?

shop-lightPhilips have developed a driver that transmits a unique identifying code in the light emitted from the fitting it’s powering. Invisible to us humans but not to a smart phone or a tablet – an app will triangulate your position within the building and follow your every move. The illustration depicts an intelligent shop lighting system where the drivers guide shoppers to their favorite bargains! A bit Big Brother for my liking…

If you need advice on drivers to suit your application – that are reliable and compatible – just call us and we will be happy to help!