Lighting is one of the most important elements to creating exceptional interiors. Lighting can be used functionally to create a bright interior, as a tool to enhance or accentuate certain areas of interest or it can be concealed and indirect to create a mood in a space. Lastly lighting can be used as a feature itself in the space in the form of decorative pieces or even as an art piece. Below are a few of my favourite ways to use lighting:
Architectural Down & Up Lighting
Using lighting from above or below can create a feature accent on a certain item or architectural element in the space. The picture on the left is taken from the Museum of Islamic art in Doha, Qatar. Downlight's are used in the shelving unit to light each item on didplay enhancing the shiny characteristics of the metal plates. The image on the right shows a way to utilize uplighting to accentuate the roundness & height of a column to become a feature in the space. When choosing lighting for these types of applications it is important to think about functionality and application. For instance, the uplights next to the column are inset within a granite base at a certain distance to create a beam of light washing far up the column. It is important also to think about the intensity and colour temperature to ensure it is not overpowered by the other lighting in the space.
Decorative lighting creates a feature within a space, to add interest and playfulness or to enhance the mood and ambience. In some cases the light fixture becomes a work of art (or the light that it makes). Above you have two examples of this. The photo on the left is from Yahya-Group. A traditional metal moroccan lantern, executed to the highest quality. The hand sawn metal creates a stunning pattern of light on the surrounding surfaces. The photo on the right is Zaha Hadid's Swarm light fixture. It is composed of 16,000 black crystals hanging in harmony to form a geometric shape, The fixture is static but creates movement and interest, it does not actually have an internal light source but can be lit from above.
Indirect lighting refers to light sources that are concealed, the effect in the space being only the ambient light from the source. This can be done using LED strip lights which are easy to use and come in a variety of sizes, types, and colours and are extremely energy efficient. Commercial LED strip lighting usually comes with a transformer which could range in size. Colour temperature is important when using concealed lighting to see how the light will interact with the surrounding surfaces. Colour temperature refers to the colour of the light. Warm lighting, which appears more orange has a colour temperature of less than 3000K. Cooler temperature lighting appears as more of a blue light and is 400-4500K.
Energy Efficient Lighting
This is an LED lamp that can be used in place of a typical incandescent bulb-from Vetica
A typical LED strip light measuring 15mm x 15mm
Most light fixtures nowadays can use LED lighting or can be retrofit to use LED bulbs. Even older chandeliers or MR16 fixtures that use a typical incandescent or halogen light bulb can be fitted with LED bulbs, saving on energy. Benefits of using LED fixtures are:
Linear applications, such as under cabinet lighting, where bulbs/light sources with thin profiles are needed
LEDs can use up to 75 percent less energy than incandescents.
LEDs last up to 25 times longer than incandescent and halogen light sources
Small LED chips allow for more compact, design-forward fixtures, as well as the illumination in tight areas.
Cooler to the touch.
Many people feel that the quality of light coming from an LED bulb feels less natural as it tends to be on the cooler _side of the spectrum, however LED manufactures produce the light sources on both sides of the Kelvin scale to provide warmer more orange lighting and cooler more blue lighting.