See the Light

posted on Wednesday, 30th November 2011 by David Slater

Lighting Control  Lighting 

 

I love the winter months. Why? Because I love great lighting and when the nights draw in, good lighting in the home can make a big difference.

A wise lighting designer once told me the secret to successful lighting was to highlight certain areas, objects, walls and alcoves; when the design is right you should never see the source of the light, just the effect it has.

Paul Shoosmith, of Vivid Lighting, operates mainly within the contract (projects) market, supplying contemporary lighting products and systems. He says:  "Lighting in any form, has the ability to create emotion, to make or break a space. From the domestic living room to the tallest building, it is imperative that lighting is a forethought in any design process, not an afterthought".

Tungsten has long been the choice of all the professionals, but with the emphasis on energy conservation, there's a shift in preference to LED. At first the colour temperature of LED was just not right; dimming was also a big problem with the dimming curve getting to about 30 per cent brightness then the lamp just switching off.

For the installer it's a minefield of confusion: 0-10v dimming, constant current, constant voltage, serial or parallel wiring. If you have made a mistake on the wiring it will cost you hard as a quality fitting can be £70-£100 per unit and flicking the switch will wipe out your profit.
 
A sense of warmth is a major factor in creating a relaxing mood, before lighting control technology became affordable for the average job, the only way to create a lighting scene was to put multiple dimmers at the door, not a great solution as you would have to guess which switch operated what light.

Lighting control systems now come in many disguises from single zones to full house control, integration of blinds, LED, DMX control and tungsten are all controlled effortlessly.

I find the hardest part of lighting design is to get the right fitting for the right effect, but again this has moved on over the last couple of years with independent lighting consultants usually being able to find what you're after. Italian and German manufacturers are producing some really cool light fittings, there are some big players with big price tags if you have the budget, Targetti and Delta Light constantly amaze with some of their new designs.

To learn more, Inside CI sought illumination from specialist dealers and suppliers. This is what they had to say…

Peter Broome, Director of Rako Controls, suppliers of dimming technology and RF solutions:

"Lighting control started its life predominately in the commercial sector and the integration of the technology into the domestic market was difficult as the rack panels were big and bulky. With technology advancing at a great pace, lighting and lighting control has evolved. Our iPhone and iPad applications allow for simple control of lights in everyday life. Rako has a very flexible product that can be installed with or without wires allowing for a retro-fit into any existing house wiring."

Ian Shaw, MD of the Brilliant Living Custom Install & Interior design Company:

"Light is often the single most important factor in a room yet it is frequently overlooked. Good lighting is about altering perceptions of light and space, creating focal points and enhancing features, and creating moods or enabling tasks. It's much more than just ensuring that the light level is adequate or incorporating a striking light fitting into an interior design, although both of these can be important."

Fayaz Kermali, Residential system sales, at Lutron:

"Increasingly, home owners are becoming more tech savvy and looking for the ultimate in home control in their properties, such as the latest Lutron Home Control app which allows full control of HomeWorks system from anywhere in the world via a smart phone. This, combined with the growing number of home automation installers and hi-end residential developers working in the industry, has meant that the demand and popularity of this system continues to grow year on year.  At Lutron we pride ourselves in product reliability and supporting installers and endorse this with an 8 year limited warranty through our approved installer channel."

Gary Chapman, MD of Creative Install:
 
"We all like to have some sort of control in our lives and with HomeWork's lighting and shading solutions this is exactly what you get.  We are constantly striving to learn the interaction between light and architecture and through this procedure we are allowed to create fabulous lighting schemes for our clients to enjoy whether relaxing, entertaining or just offering simple day and night time task. Consider each application carefully and wherever possible consider the emotion and staging for your client, utilising artificial and natural lighting and with the aid of dimming systems like Lutron HomeWork's and Shading systems we are able to create something beautiful and yet also practical."  

"Controlling natural light is just as important as artificial light control, with Lutron Shading solutions we can transform harsh glare into soft pleasing light by using the improved quality of daylight. Blackout material can give your client total privacy or perhaps that cinema experience, consider selecting a sheershade/privacy material to enhance  privacy, whilst still preserving the exterior view and yet offering protection against damaging UV rays". 

Visit Briliant living web site

Visit Lutron web site

Visit Rako web site

Visit Vivid Lighting web site

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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