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clerkenwell design week instalation

BLEED Installation Clerkenwell design week

Clerkenwell design week approached lighting design studio to provide an installation to attract new foot fall and encourage people to explore the Hatton Gardens district as part of the Clerkenwell design week.

Working with the creative agency Popcorn, Architects Red Deer, Lighting Design studio helped create a stunning temporary installation that moved and flowed with the wind creating beautiful inter reflections of light and sound during the day with an interactive touch sensitive lighting element at night.

link to video of installation here;

home automation

Future of home automation?

What is the future of Home Automation?

The ‘internet of things’ (IOT) is used to define anything connected to the internet and increasingly,
gadgets that ‘talk’ to each other. It might be a buzzword at the moment but with the use of Wi-Fi
more people are looking to incorporate these smart gadgets into their home. Your lighting, heating
and even washing machine can now be controlled from the same device. But is it a short-term fad or
a useful tool for homeowners?

internet of things
Key features:
 Décor-friendly gadgets – can blend in with your home décor better than traditional devices.
 Home automation – multiple systems using a centralised hub.
 Security systems – remote surveillance and central locking.
 Universality – using one remote to switch from watching TV to playing a video game.
 Upgrades – technology is continuously evolving to bring a generation of new products to the
market place.
For the budding enthusiast looking to invest in smart home lighting systems we have looked at a
range of lighting control systems.

Entry level systems
Phillips Hue – uses Zigbee to create a mesh network of lights and switches. The new v2 hub brings
with it support for Apple’s HomeKit and voice control of your lights using Siri. The system also
integrates nicely with SmartThings. They have also released a software kit that means developers
can take advantage of the wireless control of the lighting system.
Light wave RF – is a relative newcomer from JSJS designs. It offers a range of attractive modern
home automation modules at reasonable prices. This wireless range currently doesn’t support status
requests, although this might be included in future hardware.
HDL Automation – has a nice range of keypads and the dimmer and is installed via certified

Higher end systems
Control 4 – is an all-encompassing high-end home automation system. A relative newcomer
(established in 2003) it is highly rated and is installed by a network of approved Certified Installers. It
aims to automate lighting, music, video, security and energy around the modern home and make it
as easy to control as possible.
Crestron – has been in business for over 40 years and is another high-end all-encompassing
professional home automation system. It is a fully featured proprietary system that has matured
over many years. It is usually installed by CI’s in large bespoke homes with big budget offering
control of everything from Creston’s touchscreen and iOS devices.

Lutron – Although going since 1961, Lutron are famous for inventing the solid-state dimmer. Now
known for their intelligent controls, Lutron is a professional grade system found in high end
domestic and commercial installations.
Rako Controls – produce a range of wired and wireless smart home lighting products that are
designed and manufactured in the UK. Lighting controlled by iPhone and iPad is available with their
hardware bridge and free Raki iOS App. The superb customer care and a local support network,
along with a good range of products, sets them apart from their competitors.

Smart lighting control

The Future
Bluetooth has already proven itself with connectivity between one to one devices. Now Bluetooth
Mesh is set to revolutionise the home automation market by allowing connectivity through devices
without the need for a centralised hub. This would mean lighting devices could communicate with
each other and then be connected to your phone or a blue tooth enabled wall switch.
Smart gadgets sound great as they claim to create a more seamless home life and could save you
money. The big problem arises when products are regularly updated and expanded and eventually
superseded by superior designs. However, the industry recognises these issues are creating barriers
to consumers and are steadily moving towards a more compatible, secure and simple, smart home

blue tooth mesh

Technology that was once restricted to high end projects is now available to a much larger market.
There is no doubt there are real advantages to incorporating home automation systems into your
projects. The added convenience and energy saving potential makes them a key offering to clients.

Need inspiration? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.


LED Tape

LED Tape

Due to the design flexibility of LEDs the creation of the LED Strip came about, broadening the ways light can be applied. An LED strip is a flexible circuit board with surface mounted LEDs soldered onto it. It comes in various lengths and colours as well as adhesive backing for easier appliance. LED strips are usually packaged on a reels and have individual sections soldered to complete the reel.  LED strip provide us with a huge range of opportunities for lighting design as enable us to build the lighting in to the fabric of the building itself.


LED strip have been used in accent lighting, back lighting, decorative lighting and task lighting but recent advancements have increased the luminous efficacy and lifespan which allow high ambient lighting.


In this image of the Lighting design for the hotel lobby it has been used as an accent light to the back of the reception desk with a shadow gap and to accentuate the texture of the reception desk. The way that the LED is hidden and incorporated is an important detail to get right to ensure the light source remains hidden with out causing additional shadowing

Cost Differences

We are often asked why is it that you can buy something from ebay for £5 a metre and then an architectural lighting manufacturer might charge upwards of £100+ a metre. The difference in cost is primarily down to the quality and thus reliability which can  vary massively from brand to brand.


The following points effect the cost of the LED tape;

LED binning

LED binning is how closely each LED matches the colour temperature and colour quality of the light source.

No batch of LEDs are the same as there are minute difference’s in the amount and quality of phosphors applied during the manufacturing process.

In its simplest terms the higher the binning the more likely all the LEDs within the strip are going to match each other and the higher the perceived quality of light.

The lower bins you risk having a perceivable difference in colour temperature across from one chip to another. 

LED technology used.

Typically an LED strip includes a resistor on the circuit. The more expensive tape will often have a micro chip which is used to help regulate the output of the LED.

LED light quality

Typically the more expensive LEDs will have a higher CRI value,  creating a better environment for people to interact with.

Materials used

Typically the more expensive tape have a higher copper content within the backing which will help with the over all heat dissipation thus improving the reliability.

The more expensive kit will also typically have a branded LED chip from a manufacturer such as Samsung, Cree or citizen.

Wattage and Voltage

Typically LED ribbon come in 24V or 12V and are generally constant voltage. There is 240V tape out there but has not had a huge uplift in useage.

Typically we use 24V as there is less voltage drop issues when compared to 12V meaning that you can have longer LED runs with a smaller cable diameter making installation costs lower.

To calculate the driver size you simply times the watts per metre by the length.

So if the tape consumed 10W per m and you have 8 metres of tape you would require an 80W driver.

Typically the maximum amount of tape driven off one driver is 10m though this  varies between manufacturers.

LED and Heat

Roughly 30% of an LEDs output is lost through heat – so it is important to try and remove this as much as possible. This is typically done by mounting LED ribbon on an aluminium profile or heat sink. The  more expensive LEDs don’t always require a heat sink.Typically a heat sink is made from aluminium. It also helps provide protection for the LED from dust and makes for a more finished product.

Here at the lighting design studio we source from a variety of suppliers depending on the application and budget. 

If you do have any queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Colour temperature

Perhaps the two most important factors when choosing an LED light source are colour temperature and colour rendering. We’ve touched on colour temperature in previous blogs, but feel It’s such an important subject it’s worth giving this more attention. We will also post a separate blog dedicated to colour rendering.

When we talk about colour temperature we are referring to the warmth or coolness of light. Warmer light being more yellow, cooler being more blue. There is no ‘standard’ ‘White’ LED. You need to make a choice when you purchase your fittings, do you require a warm or cool light.
Candles are very warm of course, basically yellow/orange, whereas daylight at noon is very cool. The colour or warmth of white light is ranked on a scale, The Kelvin scale, the warmer the colour the lower the colour temperature. Candles being around 2000 degrees Kelvin (k) while daylight typically 5500 – 6500k.
The majority of LEDs are produced to be either 2700k, 2800k, 3000k, 4000k or 5000k. 2700-3000k being warm, 4000-5000k being cool.
Some people do have some misconceptions about LEDs. They believe LEDs provide a cool unflattering light. This is almost certainly due to previous experience with cool 4000k ‘low quality’ LEDs, the type you get from eBay for a few pound each.  We can assure you there are now some fantastic LEDs available. The LED fittings we use provide a lovely good quality warm light. In fact with most of them you cannot tell the difference between halogen.
80% of the luminaires we specify are warm white (2700 / 2800 degrees Kelvin). Generally it’s 100% for our residential projects. This goes back to our previous blog – What colour white do you prefer – that said, cool white LEDs do have their place. Certainly in office projects and work spaces cooler white can be preferable (cooler colour temperatures can actually help increase productivity).
When choosing the colour temperature you really need to consider the finishes and colour palette of each space. Reds, orange, yellow, and wood all look beautiful under warm white light. Whereas blues, and greys can look ‘flat’. Cool white will make blue colours look amazing and can make white look ‘crisp’. However reds and yellows can appear a little brown and wood can look ‘dull’.
In your home it may be worth considering using cooler LEDs in the kitchen or bathrooms, particularly if plenty of natural light is available. Warm white LEDs can make white surfaces look a little ‘muddy’ compared to daylight and generally bathrooms and kitchens have white finishes. Cooler white can also create a more clinical or sterile feel, which can be desirable in a bathroom or kitchen.
The key is not to mix colour temperatures in a room. Once you’ve decided which colour temperate to go for, stick with it, make sure all lights and light bulbs in that space are the same.
In the past few years ‘tuneable’ white light fittings are coming into the market. These give you the ability to adjust or tune the warmth of the light source. Fantastic for creating different effects, cooler during the day and warmer at night, or lighting artwork, giving the ability to tune the light to complement the colour palette of picture. Although tuneable fittings come at at cost and of course you need some sort of control system.
If you are looking for a relatively low cost and good quality warm white LED light bulb, then we currently recommend the 7W Megaman lamp. A higher quality but more expensive option is Soraa.
If you’re looking for an LED engine then take a look at the Xicato artist series.  Or for a great quality LED down light then we recommend Orluna’s fantastic product.
For more information and advise on what colour temperatures to use in your project please feel free to get in touch. Our designers are more than happy to help. The golden rule is ALWAYS check colour temperature before you spend your money. Make sure all light sources in a room match, including any lights that come built into fixtures like cooker hoods or bathroom mirrors. Colour temperature will be stated on the packaging or product data sheet.


lighting calculation

Lighting Calculations

The combination of experience with the evidence of desk top based lighting calculations is a useful tool for us to ensure that the lighting levels meet local and international standards.

We are able to build a complete model of the rooms and areas that we are considering and place the lighting exactly where we need it before the building has even been built!

This is an incredibly useful tool as ensures that the spaces that we are lighting aren’t over lit thus ensuring that optimum energy consumption is achieved. This is incredibly important for commercial spaces where the optimum number of light fittings with the correct light output and energy efficiency can make huge cost savings in the over all energy useage of the building.

For residential lighting we tend not to use so much lighting calculations as the spaces are more often about creating an ambiance which lighting calculations can help identify but typically it is more about a feel with the importance of being able to dim and control the lighting than creating a flat uniform light appearance. However it is very useful for calculating the light hitting an important art work.

We carry out lighting calculations in lighting design software Dialux, Relux and AGI32. They all have different querks making them useful for different scenarios.

Manufacturers produce a series of lumdat or IES files which have all the information such as the intensity and beam angle which are then able to import in to the model and quickly and accurately measure the lighting levels for the different scenario.

If you would like a hand with any lighting calculations for your projects please don’t hesitate to get in touch.



KNX lighting control systems

We are often ask to recommend lighting control systems to control the lighting and provide scene set up and intelligent lighting control. But we are also increasingly getting asked to provide KNX lighting control systems.

This post tries to answer in the simplest of terms what KNX is and what it can do for your home.



Below lists some of the advantages of a KNX system.
  1. No central controller required (each device holds it own program) this means no central point of control
  2. Can work with mains dimming including LEDs, 1-10v, dali and direct KNX drivers
  3. KNX cable connects all KNX devices, while all the 230v cabling is home run to the distribution board with actuators (as a general rule)
  4. Over 300 manufacturers making products guaranteed to work together
  5. Can control lighting, heating, ventilation, irrigation, Audio etc
  6. Allows for remote access both for homeowner and programming purposes

KNX is an open inter ope-ratable standard successfully incorporates many different operating systems and control types and puts them in a simple to understand protocol that can be configured from one or multiple devices.

The main advantage of the KNX system over a lighting system such as  Lutron is that  it enables control of pretty much anything that has an electrical signal. It is also open source meaning that the range of components and manufacturers is huge.

A good source for these components can be found here:

That said due to the choice it is crucial that the system is set up by experienced KNX approved installers and engineers.

If you do have any questions on KNX or are interested in incorporating in to your home please get in touch.



CPD Lighting

CPD – Lighting design

Here at the lighting design studio we are often asked to give talks on lighting design. Although we are not affiliated with a CPD provider our lighting talks are an invaluable incite in to the latest lighting technology and lighting design in general.

Our talks cover the basics of lighting design and its a great way for our clients to get a good over view on lighting basics.

Typically our talks last for 45 minutes and would cover a variety of subject including:

  • Colour K
  • Colour rendering
  • Lamps LED
  • Energy
  • How we work with some example projects

If you have a particular area of lighting you would like us to concentrate on such as day lighting, external lighting,  LED lighting or lighting controls we can tailor our talk to suit.

Please do get in touch if you would like to visit and we will arrange a date and or time.

Our contact is



Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom Lighting can be a great way to enhance the mood and your enjoyment of the space.

Here we list some if the things to consider when lighting the bathroom.

The IEE have very specific recommendations for lighting for bathrooms and split the bathroom in to different zones to ensure electrical saftey.

The different zones require SELV (safety extra low voltage) or fittings within a certain IP class.

The zones are identified as 0-3 with zone 3 being the wettest.

Zone 0

Requires an IP rating of X7 and must be extra low voltage i.e max 12v.

Zone 1

Requires an IP rating of X4 OR extra low voltage i.e max 12v. If fittings are 240V such as using a 240v GU10 the circuit must be on a 30ma RCD

Zone 2

Requires an IP rating of X4 OR extra low voltage i.e max 12v, with the transformer located at least in zone 3

Zone 3

No  IP rating indicated.

As with any lighting query please do get in touch.


Houzz lighting

Houzz – Lighting

We have been a big fan of the Houzz website as a great online resource for ideas and designs.
The website enables users and designers alike to collaborate on projects and create on line scrap books detailing ideas and inspirations.

Our profile along with a reviews page of existing customers can be found here:

Remodeling and Home Design

Fire Rating Lighting

In this post we try and answer when fire rated fittings or fire hoods are required. As with any thing relating to building control it is very important that you consult with your local building controls and fire office from the outset of the project.

Why do we need fire rated light fittings?

Fire rated fittings are specified to maintain the integrity of the fire rating of a buildings typically these are 30, 60 & 90 minutes of protection. Where you have a cut out for a down light this will be seen as a weak point for fire and smoke to access in to other parts of the building from. Fire rated down lights have a seal that expands in the event of heat to stop the passage of smoke as well flames. There is some debate as to how effective some fire hoods are but to mitigate responsibility contractors tend to er on the side of caution and install them any way. There has been some misconception that fire hoods were necessary for 12v halogen lamps due to the heat of the lamp. This is not the case.

Where do I need fire rated lighting?

Part B of the Building Regulations state that any residential dwelling with the top floor height of up to 18m above the ground should have ceilings resistant to fire to up to 60 minutes.

Part B fire safety.

Approved Document B – Building Regulations
Paragraph 11.2
‘If a fire separating element is to be effective, then every joint, or imperfection of
fit, or opening to allow services to pass through the element, should be adequately
protected by sealing or fire-stopping so that the fire resistance of the element is
not impaired’.
Appendix A table A1 and A2 (specific provisions of test for fire resistance
of elements of structure)
Fire resistance of structural floor in upper storey of 2-storey dwelling house-
minimum provision 30 minute integrity (based on load bearing)
Similar requirement for other dwelling houses with top floor not more than 5m
above ground, but increasing to 60 minute integrity if top floor is between 5m and 18m above ground

How fire rating lighting works

Fire rated fittings which have been tested and approved  by independent test houses such as BRE typically have an in-tumescent material built in which expands and closes the hole when heated. From a lighting design perspective the range of fire rated fittings is limited which is why other methods of maintaining the fire rating are used.

Fire hoods

If a down light has not been tested and approved then a fire hood which covers the fitting and provides fire rating is recommended. The main issues with fire hoods is that they are very good at preventing fires escaping which means that they are excellent at trapping the heat which for LED lamps is a disaster as they will over heat and fail. They can also be very difficult to instal as typically you will be required to fit the fire hood in to the hole from below and then fix the fire hood in place.

Fire box

A firebox is an enclosure which fits around the fitting which is constructed from the same fire proof material as the ceiling. This is seen as the most reliable method as provides a rigid structure and allows the LED to breath as the fire box will be designed around the fitting. This method really only works if you have access from above or below for a new build.

The requirements for residential and commercial lighting vary and fire rated fittings are not needed for all installations, typically the responsibility falls with the installing contractor.

If you do have any questions on fire rated fittings then please get in touch.





swimming pool lighting

Swimming Pool Lighting

If your lucky enough to have a swimming pool at home then swimming pool lighting can help really give your swimming pool that wow factor to your pool both inside and out. For public pools alot of the things we talk about here still apply.

Here we list some of the key things to consider when choosing swimming pool lighting.


Maintenance should be a key consideration for the lighting design for a swimming pool – how are you going to access the lights/ clean and change the bulbs? This is why most most pools are lit externally from the sides to avoid lighting directly above as this will be difficult to access. LED lighting within pools are a good method and create a fantastic blue glow from the pool at night, how ever the control gear will still need to be accessible from the pump house or nearby. Fibre optic lighting is also a good solution as will ensure that the light source is located externally away from the water as the light travels down the fibres making it a very safe solution for lighting in and around pools.

IP rating/ ELV

The BS (British standards) specify strict safety standards to ensure that lighting will not cause electrocution or harm to the users. So ELV (Extra Low voltage) lighting or fibre optic lighting should be used in and around the pool. The 17th edition of the British standards state clear boundaries for the specification of equipment in and around pool areas and should be followed. This will ensure that if the integrity of the fitting is compromised it will not cause a hazard to people around it. The guide lines splits the pool area in to clearly defined areas where fitting are required to be of a certain standard.

Swimming pool Lighting guide

If fixtures are within a pool itself they will need to IP68 fully submersible and of a high quality stainless steel. There are very few quality manufacturers who design fixtures to this standard. The flex going from the fixture to the power should be terminated outside of the water and care should be taken to ensure that voltage drop isnt an issue.

Under Water light

Chlorine content within room

For residential pools typically the chlorine content is much lower but for public pools the chlorine content is much higher – the chlorine is highly corrosive and fittings often require special marine grade finishes.

Lux and illuminance levels

For public pools there are very specific guide lines which are shown in various CIBSE Guidelines – the levels increase depending on the level of competition – with the lighting levels being very different for an Olympic televised pool to local bathes. For residential swimming pools we typically use these as a guide line but don’t stick to them stringently as it is often more about creating an effect as apposed to giving a flat wash of light with level uniformity.


The surface of the pool can act as a giant mirror reflecting the ceiling and lighting around this area. Reflection from lighting on a swimming pool can be avoided by the careful placement of the fixtures and understanding the key viewing angles of the pool. Also lighting from within the pool will help reduce the mirror effect.

For non residential projects the requirements for lighting pools are slightly different so if you do have any queries about swimming pool lighting then please do get in touch.



Garden Lighting Design

There is no doubt that lighting your gardens is a wonderful way of bringing the out side in. Here we give some top tips and discuss some effective ways to light your garden to help bring it alive at night.



1/ Silhouette Garden Lighting Effect

Silhouette effects work by lighting behind an object such as a tree or sculpture. This helps make the object stand out and can be a great way of creating drama and a focal point in the garden. To do this you need to light the surface behind the object such as a bush or wall which will then accentuate the silhouette of the object in front.


2/ External Lighting – Up lighting Trees

Up lighting trees can create depth to the space and can help to define the boundaries of a garden which would usually be lost in the darkness.
If you have large trees then up lighting can be a really dramatic way of increasing the sense of scale in the garden. A narrow beam flood light will help highlight the trunk and a wider beam can be used to highlight the foliage. Buried uplights and spike lights spikes are probably the most effective way of up lighting. Care should be taken to ensure that fittings are placed so that they are easy to maintain and do not effect root growth.


3/ Moonlighting – top garden lighting design tip!

This is a stunning effect and helps create a dappled moon light effect. Traditionally a white mercury vapor lamp is used with the fitting having a long snoot to hide the light source. A gobo projector  is sometimes used to accentuate the effect. White LEDs are effective tools for creating a similar effect as a a mercury lamp. To do it the light source needs to be mounted in the tree at high levele preferably lighting through the leaves and branches.  These can be strapped into trees at high level shining down to provide this dramatic lit effect.


4/ Step lighting

Small lights recessed in to the steps is a great way of making a feature as well as providing way finding. LED lights recessed every other step is a simple and economic way of doing it.

Hunza do a great range of external light fittings and would be our preferred manufacturer of choice. Light ideas are distributors for Hunza in the UK.

There are so many great ways to light your garden. Please get in touch and we will help give you some great tips, ideas and inspiration for your garden lighting design project.

Basement Lighting

Basement Lighting Design

With the price of prime property sky rocketing its no wonder that savey property owners are choosing to extend down to increase their property size rather than moving.

Here we describe some of the key things to think about when considering the lighting design for your basement.

Basement Lighting Design – Natural light.

Basement Lighting Daylight Image

Basement Lighting Daylight


It is very important that as much natural light as possible is incorporated in to the scheme, our previous blog gives some good ideas;, whether it be through sun pipes, walk on roof lights, light wells or skylights the importance of natural light cannot be over emphasized. Otherwise the contrast of light between the rest of the house will be far too great (unless of course you are planning on building a dungeon..!)

Basement Lighting Daylight Table

With computer models we can quickly simulate day lighting which would enable the visualization and placement of skylights and windows . The images above show the use of sky lights and an exterior glazed door. The coloured image shows the luminance achieved from the day light. Other calculated results such as the daylight factor and illuminance values can be calculated.

It is possible to create “fake” skylight out of artificial light which mimic the colour K of the natural light outside – these are good for when there is no way of getting natural light in.

As well as natural light the colour of the room also have an important impact on the way light interacts with the space with lighter colours reflecting light further. So it is worth considering the colour as well as the light from the outset.

Form follows function.

Basements are often multi use spaces being used for entertaining, training, gym session, swimming pools, watching movies, housing art collections, gaming or a combination of all of these things. So the lighting needs to be flexible to accommodate the changing needs of the space.

If lighting is for entertaining then it is going to be important that the lighting can be dimmed and that key features such as a piece of art work or pieces of sculpture can be highlighted and controlled. Coloured light can be a fun way of emphasizing the space as an entertainment area – but should be used in moderation and with the correct control systems installed. Luminar do a very funky dmx lighting iphone ap, perfect for these type of spaces.

DMX Lighting Ap

DMX Lighting Ap

DMX Lighting control from

Ceiling Height

Basements often have limited ceiling heights so to avoid that cavernous feeling you can sometimes get ways of lighting on to the ceiling should be explored. A good way of doing this is with coffer detail around the edge of the room as it means that the light can be hidden in the sides allowing greater ceiling height to the centre of the room. Linear LED is a good way of doing this. Care needs to be taken that any LED is dimmable, doesn’t cause heavy shadows and is angled to ensure maximum projection on to the ceiling.

Basement Lighting

Lighting the surfaces such as walls and ceiling can really help lift the space.

Other top tips for basement lighting design

Have you optimized all the natural lighting opportunities?
Has the function of the room been fully considered – what are you going to use it for?
Can the ceiling be lit either with wall lights or with a hidden cove detail?
Have controls been fully considered – how are the lights going to be dimmed and switched?

We have a lot of experience of lighting for basements so please get in touch if you want some ideas and inspiration for your project.


Kitchen Lighting

The kitchen is the heart of a home. It’s the place where you start your day and the kitchen lighting needs to be flexible to illuminate a variety of tasks from reading the morning paper to cooking and socializing. The kitchen is a room where you can really show off with your lighting and use a combination of different effects to produce stunning results. As with other rooms in the house, no single light can perform all the functions of illumination at once. Layering different light sources is essential and a well thought-out lighting design should look great as well as aid functionality.

Dryburgh Rd 25 - Kitch  Living room 4

To ensure sufficient light within the kitchen for food preparation and cleaning, task lighting to work surfaces is essential, key areas to direct task light are the cooker and sink, with around 350lx being a good amount of light for these zones. With the rising cost of electricity you should be looking to use some of the many fantastic energy efficient LED solutions available to reduce your bill. If you have wall mounted cabinets, then low profile LED fittings mounted to the underside, or offsetting the cabinets a short distance from the wall and hiding LED tape behind to create a halo, are both excellent ways of providing a wash of light across worktops, whilst minimizing shadows. Back lit splash backs can also work really well at providing task lighting to work surfaces and incorporating RGB colour changing LED’s into these can be a fun way of adding colour to your kitchen.

If you have a dining area then lighting here is of particular importance. The dining table in most family homes has many uses and the lighting should be suitable for reading newspapers and doing homework, yet much lower and more intimate light levels are also required for dinning and entertaining. Pendants above dining tables can provide a great feature and focal point within your space, products with a solid reflector such as the Light years Caravaggio, or lighting from Jim Lawrence, can be used to create pools of light on the table. Or for a more ambient effect, glass pendants such as the Artemide Castore, are an effective way of getting light onto many room surfaces and up onto the ceiling. Feature pendants vary massively in style and price, the key is to find luminaires you really love that suit your décor and style. Bocchi, Artemide, Louis Poulsen, Light Years, Foscarini and Flos all have excellent pendants. Geoffrey Harris Lighting stock many options and have a great website as do




Oversized pendants are on trend at the moment and will instantly make a real impact. However, if your ceiling height is low then over sized pendants can look cumbersome. Choosing the right size and quantity is something the lighting design studio can help you with.



The most important thing for dining areas is making sure the fittings are on dimmable circuits, so you can have maximum output when needed, but also a dimmer cosy light level.

Providing task areas such as work surfaces and dining tables are illuminated, then lighting onto the remaining empty floor space is often not needed. It’s a common mistake to have a grid of down lights washing every inch of a room with a uniformed light level. A high level of light on your floor is wasted and you would be needless wasting energy. To make a room appear ‘bright’, light should wash the walls and ceiling, not the floor. That said, hiding lights inside an island and / or the kicker boards at low level can add interest and the soft halo gives a floating illusion to you cabinets. However, care should be taken to ensure that the LEDs are not reflected in floor tiles as this will ruin the effect. Again the lighting design studio can help you with this.

Finally, if you have artwork and photos then using spots to highlight these will create focal points in the room and draw attention to the things that really give your home personality.

With multiple layers of light comes multiple lighting circuits and rather than having six switches lined up on a wall, you can eliminate wall clutter with a digital lighting control system. With the touch of a button, the ceiling fixtures in your work area will brighten while you prepare food and cook, or you can adjust island lights to a more subdued setting for dining and entertaining. Control systems allow you to easily adjust the level of light to increase your comfort level. They are also great at lowering the amount of energy used and therefore reducing your electricity bills. As with all areas of you home, if you have any queries on your kitchen lighting or would like the best advice on lighting then please do get in touch.


Bespoke lighting pendant

We were recently commisioned to design and build a bespoke pendant.

The client gave us some ideas and a specification which we were able to turn in to a brief. We then went off produced the drawings, sourced the items and built the product. The pendant took just under 8 weeks from the acceptance of the final design to the production of the piece. Each globe is hand blown and every item is a hand made bespoke piece. There were a lot of interesting problems that were over come to produce the design but the client now has a beautiful and unique design which she is very proud of.

Images of the final piece below




Pictures taken by Radu from

We are very proud of our work and if you have a unique idea or fitting you would like us to help you design please get in touch.


Loi Krathong

Following on from last months blog, once again, at The Lighting Design Studio we are feeling inspired after our recent visit to the Loi Krathong (Yeepeng) festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.



This truly magical festival of light takes place during the full moon of the 12th traditional Thai calendar month (normally in November), and is an experience we feel should be on everyone’s bucket list. Loy or Loi means ‘to float’ and a Krathong is a lotus shaped raft which can float on water, traditionally made from banana leaves elaborately decorated with flowers, candles and incense sticks.


During the night of the full moon, millions of Thai people up and down the country will gather around rivers, canals and lakes to float Karthong’s – a custom that’s been going on for hundreds of years in honor of the goddess of water, Mae Khongkha. This mesmerising practice also symbolises the letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Most Thai people believe floating a raft brings good luck (many add coins, hair, and even fingernails as offerings), and they watch on as their grief, misery, and ill fortunes, float off into the distance

In Chiang Mai, the releasing of lanterns is also popular. On the night of the full moon, hundreds of thousands of lanterns fill the sky. As you can see from our pictures (which can never do it justice), it is a truly awe-inspiring sight.

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As lighting designers, the experience was completely spell-binding and got us thinking about the many different customs across the globe celebrating the importance of light – Loy Krathong (Thailand), Hanukkah, St. Lucia Day (Sweden), Diwali, St.Martins Day (Holland), Bonfire night, Chaharshanbe Suri – and even Christmas, to a certain extent. We believe that light shouldn’t just play the lead role during our celebrations and festivals. It should take centre stage in our everyday lives. All too often – when designing, building or decorating our homes, schools, hospitals, train stations, offices, etc – we do not give it enough importance. Our aim is to change this, one project at a time. To hear more about our Thailand adventure, or to see how we can help you get inspired with great lighting ideas, feel free to get in touch.


Energy and Lighting


Traditionally a large part of the work that lighting designers do is to include the use of halogen down lights. They work well, are bright, cheap and give you just the right amount of light where you need it.

But however good they are, there’s no doubt they won’t be popular with Greenpeace. The world is crying. Global warming is happening at an alarming rate and has been sped up as a result of industrialised nations’ use of fossil fuel for energy consumption. 19% of the world’s CO2 emissions is electricity and in Europe 14% of all electricity consumption is lighting.

We can choose to do something about it or flick over to watch another repeat of X Factor. I really hope that most people care enough to make a change.

One of the most important things to us when putting together designs for a client is to provide beautiful yet energy-efficient lighting options for their home. You really don’t need to sacrifice the look and feel if you want to be greener. Through intelligent lighting controls, using highly efficient lamps, luminaires and using light when and where you need it, we can show you how to reduce your overall energy consumption, which in its own way will help reduce our energy consumption.

The little things start at home – how efficient is your lighting? If you’re not sure and you want some help, give us a call.

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Poul Henningson, Louis Poulsen

Poul Henningson, 9th September 1894 – 31st January 1967

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Poul Henningson is most famous for his work as an industrial and lighting designer with his iconic designs of the PH lamp (1926) and the PH artichoke (1958). Some 80 years after their first inception they are still in production by the lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen today. At auction recently an original luminaire of his sold for a staggering £193,250. With this in mind his luminaires have long become collector items and objects of investment. Poul Henningsen dedicated his life to understanding, investigating and exploiting the power and magic of light.
His work was largely influenced as a result of growing up in the early 20th century when the gas and petroleum lanterns were prevalent, these gave off a very warm, soft light. Then, with the introduction of electric lighting in the early 1900’s meant the replacement of this old technology to the new electric light which he found quite harsh and bright. So Poul, with the aid of his own careful experimentation invented a way of designing a luminaire which would reduce glare and provide a harmonious light source which was comparable to the warm glow of the gas lantern.
It is said that it took Poul Henningsen 10 years to finalize and refine the PH lamp, though the luminaire was continually refined through out his life. The PH luminaires popularity is due to the clever consideration of the placement of the lamp shades which effectively shield the light source whilst still producing adequate light to the surrounding surfaces. By designing the luminaire around the light source he created a fixture which is a timeless and harmonious design, where each part is considered as part of the whole.
But we wonder, what would the man make of current luminaire designs and the current LED technology today and how could we take inspiration from PH in new luminaire design today?

One of the advantages of LED is that we don’t have to be fixed to a single light source, so the light could be incorporated into multiple surfaces and could potentially be any size or shape you please, with there being no reason for the light source itself to be the centre of the fitting. This could be used to create some exciting shapes and sizes. And with the aid of modern software we could model the effect of various designs quickly and easily. (Unlike in Pouls day when he carefully drew around the shapes the light caused on to paper.) In our view we have yet to see the full potential of the LED light source being incorporated in to a luminaire design and we look forward to seeing new visionaries of the future.

In the words of Poul Henningson: “”It doesn’t cost money to light a room correctly, but it does require culture.”

Colour Temperature

What colour white do you prefer?

Colour is perceived differently in different cultures. For example, Chinese and Japanese have a character with a meaning that covers both blue and green. Japanese also have two terms that refer specifically to the colour green. Japanese traffic lights have the same colours as those in other countries, but the green light is described using the same word as blue, “aoi”, because green is considered a shade of aoi. Another example is the colour white. While white is used in many Western countries to represent purity and innocence, it’s seen as a symbol of mourning in many Eastern countries.

Both natural and artificial light come in a range of colours, so light is also perceived differently by many cultures. This doesn’t just apply to coloured light. White light is available in a range of different hues from warm to very cold. As lighting designers, we categorise these different whites using a colour temperature scale. 2700 Kelvin is a warm yellow/orange white, whereas 5000 Kevin and up is a very cool blue white – the higher the colour temperature the colder the colour.


The light we prefer is strongly related to culture. Generally western people feel more comfortable in low colour temperatures such as 3000K, while Easterners prefer high colour temperatures such as 4000K or 5000K – why is this? Maybe it’s down to climates. Here in the UK, our weather is a lot cooler and we want our homes to be warm and cosy. Eastern regions have a hotter climate and people want to escape the heat into cool homes. Maybe it’s down to ‘nurture’. In Japan following the war the majority of homes were fitted with cool white fluorescent lamps. The fact that most Japanese people have been brought up with the cool blue hue of fluorescents must influence the type of white they feel comfortable with. Either way, studies have shown that people from the same region regardless of race will have the same colour preferences. So, what colour white do you prefer?



Part L for Lighting (2013)

In this post the lighting design studio offer a explanation of Part L and set out the requirements your lighting needs to meet.

So what is Part L for Lighting?

It’s a UK building regulation issued by the Secretary of State which lays down specific measures for the conservation of fuel and power. It is now a general aim to make our buildings as energy efficient as possible and therefore efficient electric lighting is required in most buildings. You will have to comply with this regulation when your building has been extended or when your existing lighting system is being replaced as part of re-wiring works. The latest revision came into effect on 1st October 2010 and is split into four categories:

L1A New dwellings.

L1B Existing dwellings.

L2A New buildings other than dwellings.

L2B Existing buildings other than dwellings.

Both L1A and L1B documents refer to the Domestic building compliance guide which can be downloaded from the governments planning portal website: 

Documents L2A and L2B refer to the Non-domestic building compliance guide, again available on the governments planning portal website:


Why is it important?

Building regulations are legal requirements. You have a responsibility for ensuring compliance with building regulations and could be served with an enforcement notice, prosecuted and fined in cases of non-compliance.

What are the key points & how do you comply?

In the Domestic building compliance guide, for the lighting part you can skip direct to Section 12 (page 122). To comply, in new dwellings (L1A) 75%, so 3 in every 4 of the fixed internal light fittings need to have a minimum of 45 lamp lumens per watt. They also need to an output greater than 400 lamp lumens to count.
Products that are not fixed like table and bedside lamps, light fittings under 5 watts or products located in spaces that are not used often, like store cupboards and wardrobes can be excluded.
With fixed external lighting, in new dwellings, products need to either be under 100 watts and automatically controlled with a light sensor to switch them off when daylight is sufficient. Or have a lamp efficacy greater than 45 lumens per Watt and again controlled with a light sensor, although you can also have these manually controlled if required.
Existing dwellings – (L1B) generally refers to new extensions, loft conversions and renovations. Typically the above criteria applies to the newly built or renovated area and the rest of your house would be exempt. However, this is not always the case and if you have any doubts we would advise you to check at the design stage with the lighting design studio or consult your local building controls officer.
Buildings other than dwellings
In the non-domestic building compliance guide again you can skip to Section 12 (page 85) for the lighting part. Importantly, for this section the regulation makes a clear definition between luminaire lumens and lamp lumens. Light fittings, often referred to as Luminaires, are not 100% efficient and a proportion of light is absorbed or blocked by the reflector, diffuser, or lamp shade. Luminaire lumens is the amount of light (lumens) produced by a product after you take into account these losses (us lighting designers also call this the light output ratio or LOR). This is crucial because even light fittings that use very efficient lamps (light bulbs) or LEDS can still be inefficient, particularly those with thick diffusers.
In non domestic situations (new buildings other than dwellings L2A), for lighting to comply with Part L, the sum of all general light fittings in office, industrial and storage areas need to average 55 luminaire lumens per circuit watt.
For general lighting in ‘other’ types of space, the sum of all fittings should have an average efficacy of 55 lamp lumens per watt. And 22 lamp lumens per watt for display lighting.
Lighting controls are also taken in to account and if a control system is used, the lighting can achieve a slightly lower figure depending on method of control.
Existing buildings other than dwellings (L2B) again typically applies to new extensions, renovations and change of use. As before, generally the above criteria is only applicable to the newly built or refurbished part of the building. Although this is not always the case.
There are certain buildings that have an exemption from compliance, listed buildings, monuments, places of worship, and temporary buildings for example. If you are not sure if your building needs to comply please contact the lighting design studio for guidance.

So who enforces this?

The role of checking that building regulations are being complied with falls to Building Control Bodies (BCBs). There are two types – the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) or a private sector Approved Inspector Building Control (AIBC). Customers are free to choose which type of Building Control Body they use on a project. In addition a competent person scheme has been introduced by the Government to allow individuals and enterprises to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations as an alternative to submitting a building notice or using an approved inspector.
For dwellings (parts L1A & L1B) if you are carrying out any electrical work and / or adding fixed lighting to the outside of your house, in England and Wales you have to follow building regulations including Part L. You should either use an installer who is registered with the competent person scheme. Who should make sure your lighting complies with Part L and submit a SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) or make an application to your local authority’s building control department or approved inspectors.
For Non dwellings (parts L2A & L2B) the methodology for proving compliance is the SBEM (Simplified Building Energy Model) and you will need to ensure that a Buildings Emission Rate for carbon dioxide (BER) is better than the Target Emission Rate (TER). If it fails there may be additional remedial work to ensure that the whole building complies.

What’s next for Part L?

Part L is likely to change in 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government has started its consultation process and published a consultation document
Which if you jump to page 125 outlines the government’s new plan for ef­ficient lighting. For buildings other than dwellings the plans increase the target luminaire efficacy value from 55 to 60 lumens per circuit watt. However LENI (Lighting Energy Numeric Indicator) has also been included as an alternative to minimum luminaire lumens per circuit watt. So there are now two options to calculate energy use and show compliance.
LENI is a change of philosophy, looking at energy use rather than installed load. It measures predicted energy used by a lighting system over the length of a year (measured in kilowatt hours, per square metre, per year) so it looks at the complete system, rather than individual luminaires. At the lighting design studio generally we think the proposed amendments are brilliant news. In the current version of Part L, the non domestic buildings areas that are not classed as office, industrial or storage use lamp lumen ef­ficacy as the metric.  So providing a product uses an efficient lamp, the light fitting would comply. With the amendments to Part L manufacturers will be pushed to deliver more ef­ficient luminaires – which is great. Also in the amendments occupancy and daylight controls are no longer the only deliverable and measured controls, which is good because in a space with plenty of sunlight, electric light is not needed for most of the year, but the control factor of 0.9 used in the current Part L regulation doesn’t reflect this. Under the new proposals a control system can deliver up to 30 per cent reduction on the original luminaire ef­ficacy (a control factor of 0.7) which is very important. It means we are no longer forced to use inappropriate light fittings because of their ef­ficacy. We can look at using more appropriate but less efficient products in our designs, providing we control them properly. Calculating LENI is more complex as we need to know the total installed power, the area being lit and the number of hours that the light is required during the year. The new proposal for Part L uses a shorter simplified version of LENI which unfortunately doesn’t make allowance for daylight as a principal light source. Perhaps the next iteration of Part L, due in 2016, will make this next step.
As you can see from this post, Part L is complex and it can be quite hard to make sure a lighting scheme complies. Although at the lighting design studio we feel it’s understandable that regulations are getting tougher. We live in times where the impact of global warming and rising electricity costs is a real issue. If government regulation helps push people into using existing much more effcient technology it’s a good thing. Although as with most new technologies, people can be slow to adapt, most people dont like change.

Lighting control with iPhone or iPad

Lighting controls are not only an important way to conserve energy, they also help you to get exactly what you want from your lighting exactly when you want it. At the lighting design studio we believe we will see a massive increase in the use of control systems in homes, it’s time to go far beyond the on/off switch. So how exactly do you provide lighting control with your iphone or ipad?


Ever left the house and wondered if you had remembered to switch the kitchen light off? Well it’s possible to check using your mobile phone and that’s only the start of what’s feasible.

Lighting controls enable scene setting which gives much more flexibility to a space. Dimming and controlling different light fittings on different circuits allows the user to select specific colors and lighting intensities – to match décor, achieve a specific mood and create different atmospheres. Different scenes can help accentuate different parts or features of a room, depending on who is present and what you are doing.
For example you could have a scene that’s great for socializing with friends over a coffee which creates a relaxing ambience, while accentuating your art work. Then with the touch of a button your light fittings can all adjust to create an intimate atmosphere for when you want to curl up in front of the fire, or dim right down for watching a movie, or go into party mode for special occasions, you get the idea.

Controlling your light could be as simple as having a few rotary dimmers on the wall, or you could introduce a central smart control system for your home. There are already many competitively priced control systems currently on the market and more exciting models are due out in 2012. If you opt for a control system, with the ever increasing ability of smart phones it’s easy to use these as tools to control your light fittings. iPhone linking normally works on a radio frequency (RF) or Wi-Fi Ethernet link device, and therefore generally requires a central “brain” or computer unit which communicates between your iPhone and the lighting circuits via a RF or a Wi-Fi signal. As there are a number of different control systems on the market; here we list a series of questions worth asking to help determine the best method of ‘Smart Phone’ lighting control.

  1. Work out an ideal or maximum budget – this will quite quickly determine which direction you are able to head –there are inexpensive options for iPhone control available, which work well.
  2. How many circuits are you planning on controlling – is it just one room or the whole house? This will determine the size of the system.
  3. Are you planning on retrofitting or is this a complete new fit out? – this will determine the type of system required.
  4. What fittings are you controlling and can the light sources be controlled with the control system?
  5. Are you planning on linking the system to additional AV (Audio Visual) systems? This determines which system can work with other control systems.
  6. In addition to using your phone you will of course have fixed switches, look at these – which do you actually like and do they suit the rest of your decor?

A lighting control system can be as simple or complex as the individual and pretty much anything is possible with a creative mind. We have tried and tested many of the ones curren


Sculpture commission project; bold tendancies

This popular annual sculpture commissioning project asked The Lighting
Design Studio for bespoke, temporary lighting solutions.


Comments from Sven Muendner Co-Director Hannah Barry gallery.

“Our exhibition space is as exciting as it is challenging: a dis-used car park in a central, urban area of London serves us as a platform to present new, commissioned sculpture by young artists. The objects require precise and crisp lighting according to the artistic specifications while the area to be covered is vast and due to the open air structure suffers from light noise.
The Lighting Design Studio has mastered the task perfectly. From a brief conversation and a site visit they deduced the key information and produced a lighting concept that we could easily understand and adjust according to our ideas. The solution was cost efficient, professional, effective and quickly installed”

The charitable project asked us to carry out the works on a very tight budget to complete the scheme, with a very fast turn around required, with particular consideration given to ensure each piece was lit appropriately and that the lighting was easy to install and take down later.”

A combination of high quality architectural lights and the use of low cost halogen lights were used to highlight the pieces. With particular care taken with the placement of the fixtures to minimise glare and to enhance the over all experience of the exhibition.

The lighting increased the visibility of the sculptures at night enabling members of the public to admire the works whilst also enjoying the fantastic panoramic views of london from the roof top.

We want to thank Louis Poulsen and iGuzzini for very kindly lending us their equipment.

Pictures courtesy of Dan Hewitt.


The Light Bulb Ban

The light bulb ban. Or ‘The European legislation for phase-out of incandescent lamps’ as we lighting professionals affectionately like to refer to it, is well under way, but what is it, how will it affect you, and why should you care?

No bulb

At the start of this month (September 2012) effectively all incandescent lamps will be ‘banned’ for general use.

For those that don’t know, an Incandescent lamp or general lighting service (GLS) light bulb, are the much loved filament bulbs installed in the majority of homes.

It started on September 1 2009, when a regulation from the European Union came into effect, which prevents the manufacture of certain types of inefficient lamps. The legislation is being implemented in phases, to give everyone time to adjust. These phases are:

Sept 1 2009

All non-clear (so frosted and opal) incandescent lamps. And clear incandescent lamps greater or equal to 100W

Sept 1 2010

Clear incandescent lamps with wattage 75W or higher. Plus clear halogen lamps 60W or higher with class ‘D’ energy rating or lower.

Sept 1 2011

Clear incandescent lamps with wattage 60W or higher. Plus clear halogen lamps 40W or higher with class ‘D’ energy rating or lower.

Sept 1 2012

Clear incandescent lamps with wattage 25W or higher. Plus clear halogen lamps 25W or higher with class ‘D’ energy rating or lower.

Sept 1 2013

Increase in other performances

So why is this happening? The legislation is being implemented to increase the use of efficient lamps by the public and industry, lowering carbon emissions and energy consumption. Incandescent has served us well for around 120 years. However, let’s not forget that this technology is over 100 years old and we now have many viable, more efficient sources on the market. There are a number of estimates, ranging from 24-39million tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions that will be eliminated with the implementation of this EU regulation. That’s equivalent to around 156 million barrels of oil, 1000 million trees or 2500 Wembley stadiums. Let’s not forget that around 14% of all electricity usage in Europe is used on lighting, and forcing consumers, through legislation, to adopt new technology will help governments meet the targets they signed up to under the Kyoto agreement.

This is not another burden forced upon us by the powers of Europe. Brazil and Venezuela started to phase out incandescent in 2005 . Switzerland, Australia, Argentina, Russia, Canada, USA, Malaysia and China have all started, or due to start a phase out – this truly is a global initiative.

To clarify, it not illegal to use, buy, or even sell the ‘banned’ light bulbs. It’s just these products are no longer being made by European lamp manufactures, and as they’re not allowed to be imported into the Euro zone, they will slowly start disappearing and the remaining few will soar in price.

Fortunately there are many alternatives available, compact fluorescent’s (CFL or energy savers), and LED’s are taking over, producing the same output as conventional GLS lamps but using a fraction of the power. A lot of people we come across question the colour and quality of light from these alternatives. However, there really are some fantastic and efficient substitutes out there. For many years cheap, poor quality CFL’s have flooded the market and given compact fluorescents a bad name. Today LED’s are far superior and better than they were several months ago, yet alone compared to the ones from last year. LED technology has evolved rapidly and providing the low cost, poor quality products are avoided, there’s no reason why the quality of efficient lighting has to be compromised.

Currently there are incandescent sources that are not included in the scope of the EU regulation. True colour lamps, directional (reflector) lamps, lamps with lumens less than 60 or higher than 12,000 and rough service lamps are available. In fact several lamp suppliers are providing conventional GLS bulbs under the pretext of rough service lamps, although this loop hole cannot be exploited for long.

At the lighting design studio, ultimately we believe the phase out of this 100 year old technology is a good thing. With a finite supply of natural resources and the increasing cost of electricity, reducing our energy consumption is not bad thing and switching will also repeatedly save money on your utility bill. Many of the alternatives are a little more expensive to purchase, but by and large, these pay for themselves within a short period of time. Feel free to contact the lighting design studio for detailed payback calculations and further advice on the best quality light sources to use. Used intelligently, efficient lighting doesn’t have to be compromise on qualtity.


Art Lighting

When art lighting is done correctly, lighting artwork can really help accentuate and enhance the works by adding drama and impact, by illuminating the surfaces to bring out the colours and the texture effectively.

However if done incorrectly lighting can have a serious negative impact on the pigmentation and materials used within the paintings, reacting with the origional materials causing premature aging and degradation to the art work. When considering how much some paintings are worth, it is easy to see why the correct specification of lighting is important.

Here the lighting design studio discuss several important factors to consider when lighting your art works


How much light is enough light?

If we go back to thinking about what light is, light acts as a wave. In its wave form white light consists of a spectrum of electromagnetic radiation – which in its simplest term is a form of energy. Generally, the higher the frequency of the light the higher the energy of that light and in effect the more damage that light can cause. So lights which emit higher levels of Ultraviolet should be avoided or filtered if being used to light artwork.

This is why a lot of galleries are dimly lit (or they should be) and limit their exposure to light. This is because less light for limited periods reduces the likelihood of damage to the painting.

The exact illuminance recommendations are given by CIE documentation and are published by public galleries such as the National Gallery.
So the best form of light for art work would be no light at all! But not sure how successful a gallery would be if people had to walk around with night vision goggles on!

So the difficulty is getting the balance right, especially in a public space which is to be viewed by elderly people who due to the degradation of our eyes require more light to see the detail clearer. It is a fine balance which needs to be discussed with the curator as to what the acceptable light levels should be whilst minimizing damage to the painting.


Due to the high levels of UV in sunlight direct sunlight should be avoided on all paintings. Sunlight should be filtered and/or louvred heavily to prevent direct contact, as it is by far the most powerful cause of premature aging for paintings, this is especially important with water colours and drawings which can fade very quickly under direct light.

What’s the best type of luminaires and are LEDs the answer for art work?

Due to the construction of the LED light source being designed to give specific parts of light in the visible spectrum they have been designed to minimize high amounts of infrared and ultraviolet light. Heat is also minimized as the LED chip is designed to push heat backwards into the fitting rather than forward like a conventional halogen bulb.
So generally LEDs are a good light source for use on art work. However the way that an LED light source renders colours is not always as good as conventional light sources.

The location and mounting of fittings really depends on the aesthetic of the surround and location of the paintings.
Generally most galleries will opt for a track and spot system due to the flexibility but some prefer lighting mounted off the wall off an arm in front of the paintings. Both are effective ways of lighting art work but care should be taken to ensuring that heat will not be an issue if mounted close to the art work.

Incident Glare

This occurs when we see the reflection of the light source on the painting due either to the reflective nature of the medium used or because a glass screen has been placed over the painting to protect it

Incidence glare can be avoided by the careful consideration of the lighting equipment in relation to the viewer location and using equipment that can be correctly snooted and baffled to reduce the direct impact of the light source.
The most effective way of locating light sources is to do a mock up and try it out as it is extremely difficult to model the incident glare effectively.

If you would like us to look at lighting for your artwork, please do get in touch


Retrofit LEDs

There are a number of good mains dimmable GU10 retrofit LEDs available on the market now. In some cases they still struggle to compete with existing lighting quality, but the energy and cost savings can’t be ignored. Here we list some tips for replacing existing lamps with LEDs.



  1. Go for the top brands retrofit LEDs and ask for long guarantees. Lower value products are not worth it in the long run, as they will fail and discolour.
  2. Check that there is no noise in the LED as some have a small fan inside which can cause a hum.
  3. If possible test all retrofits in the fitting first to ensure that they can fit the height and depth of the fitting.
  4. If you have dimmers check that the lamp is dimmable and compatible with your exisiting dimmer switches.
  5. Check that the base/socket is the correct type to ensure they fit into the light fitting.
  6. Go for lamps with a 2700K warm colour temperature which will closely match existing lighting.
  7. Check the voltage is correct for the LED lamp. Typically this will be 12v or 240 depending on the base.

If you do have any questions then get in touch with the Lighting Design Studio.



Natural Architectural Lighting

Natural Architectural Lighting

Architects have often used the power of natural sunlight to enhance and emphasize the buildings that they design.
Sun light is an abundant source of energy and has been proved to enhance peoples sense of well being and productivity so is a very important aspect of the building design and of lighting design.

Combining natural and artificial light

Daylight and artificial light can be incorporated together to ensure that there is adequate light in the building both day and night.

For a daylight system this is often done through the use of photocells which are sensitive to the quantity of natural daylight which raise and lower the artificial light depending on the required illuminance levels, this is especially important for commercial and office projects, which ensures that lighting is only switched on when there is insufficient natural light.



Sunpipes are a tried and tested technology and are a great solution for existing projects where you want to bring natural light into those dark crevices.

Sunpipes essentially work by funneling daylight usually from an aperture in the roof or walls via a highly reflective enclosed mirrored tube to an opening in the ceiling (or walls). The tube and cut out varies in size depending on the installation requirements. Generally the larger the cut out the more sunlight can enter the room.

Sun pipes can also be incorporated with artificial lights so that the sun pipes can be used both at night and at day – meaning that the aperture of the sun pipe is fully utilized and reducing the visual clutter in the ceiling.

The main advantage of a sun pipe over a velux window or skylight is that there are less planning restrictions as the opening is much smaller, they can be simpler to instal and light can be funneled to where it is needed and also the light from them is much more diffuse. This means that there is less harsh direct sunlight – minimizing discomfort glare.

There is some slight limitation when incorporating between floors and when putting bends in the pipe which decrease the efficiency of the system.

Also the amount of light can vary significantly depending on the time of year and obviously the time of day which is why it is useful to incorporate the system with artificial lighting.

As well as sun pipes, fibre optics have been developed to provide natural daylight in to a scheme. They essentially work by having a moveable head which rotates with the earths movement in relation to the sun thus ensuring the apparatus is always focused on the most amount of sunlight. These system are very expensive and use energy to focus the apparatus.

If you would like us to look at incorporating more natural light into your project please get in touch and we can discuss the various options with you.



Light Show @ South Banks Hayward gallery

Here at the lighting design studio we are always looking to find the latest inspiration for lighting for our projects. The light show is a great example of the clever use of light to change and challenge our perception of space and reality. All our hero’s were there. A great show worth a visit.

Here are a couple of pictures from the fantastic lighting show at the south banks Hayward gallery in London.


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Dimming LED

Ever changed your light bulbs and you get a disco effect when trying to dim? Or installed a dimmer only for it not to dim the LED lights at all?

Here we talk about about dimming LEDs with a basic explanation with some of the advantages and disadvantages of the various ways of dimming LED.

PS; Its not just a rotary dimmer!

Mains Leading/Trailing edge

The Basics: Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. It requires standard main AC cable and in its simplest terms it dims the lights by chopping up the sine wave of the voltage.


  • Large number of manufacturers of dimmer units – making it a very mature technology with a variety of finishes.
  • Simple to implement.
  • No control system required.
  • Inexpensive.


  • Due to the fact that LEDs have comparably low loads to conventional halogen technology they are often incompatible with standard dimmer. Typically minimum loads should be above 10-30 watts to dim.
  • As a result can cause flickering, buzzing or premature failure if incompatible.
  • They don’t always dim  down to 0%
  • One way switching and no feed back.

Analogue 0-10v

The Basics: Analogue dimming typically requires 5 core, 3 core mains and a 2 core control or signal cable. It dims by varying the DC from 0-10, with 0 volts being 0% and 10 volts being 100%. You need a separate switch as the signal wont always dim to 0% (or off) It can be linked to a 0-10v switch or a control systems.


  • Robust, well understood technology which works well with LED.
  • Simple to diagnose if problems as you can test the voltage.
  • Low voltage so can run with low diameter cables.


  • Limited number of 0-10 dimmer manufactures which work well (so often a control system is required)
  • Difficult to combine 0-10 switch plates with mains dimming.
  • Not every one is familiar with the methodology.
  • Requires additional signal cable  -which can increase the cost.
  • Has no feed back.
  • Polarity dependent
  • Each circuit or device needs to be connected with the signal cable which for large systems can potentially be expensive.

DSI Digital Serial Interface

The Basics; Requires 5 core cable -live, neutral and earth and 2 control cable.  Dims via a digital signal.


  • Its simple nature makes it straightforward to understand.
  • Each device has its own wire to the contoller it has no need of an address to be set, so can be replaced simply by unplugging the faulty one and plugging in the new.
  • It dims to off, so does not require mains switching equipment to turn them off.


  • It requires one wire per control channel so a sophisticated system could have hundreds of wires, thereby making diagnoses of problems difficult.
  • Programing required.
  • Requires a control system

DSI is the basis of the more sophisticated protocol DALI.

DALI Digital Addressable Lighting Interface

The Basics; Requires 5 core cable. Dims via a digital signal.


  • Each lighting device is assigned a unique static address in the numeric range 0 to 63, making possible up to 64 devices in a standalone system.
  • Complex switching arrangements can be made from the system.
  • Has two way communication and will give status reports on the light fitting.
  • It dims to off, so does not require mains switching equipment to turn them off.
  • Reconfiguring lighting is easy as each is individually addressed – especially useful in open plan offices.


  • Can be expensive.
  • Requires programming to address each ballast.
  • Requires a central control system.
  • Requires a programmable ballast so even for a mains supply LED lamp will require additional interface to enable it to link to the system.
  • If the ballast goes it loses the address.
  • Needs to be updated if the function changes.

DMX  Digital Multiplex

The Basics; DMX has traditionally been used in the entertainment industry for control of coloured lighting but is used within architectural lighting as well. It is controlled with a digital signal as with DALI each unit has an individual address.


  • up to 32 devices can be daisy chained together
  • 5-pin XLR connectors with RJ45 cables.
  • Simple to implement
  • Very reliable and well understood technology.
  • Great for colour control


  • Requires programming to address each ballast.
  • Requires a terminator in the final loop of the DMX driver.
  • Not standard wiring  – more suited for entertainment electrical contractors.

These are meant as very basic guidelines for some useful information on choosing the most appropriate method of dimming your LED. There are many others control methods such as KNX or IP enabled devices which we havent listed. There are also many ways of dimming LED via your ipad or iphone;

If you have any lighting control queries please get in touch with the lighting design studio.


Tennis court lighting

Tennis Court Lighting

Lighting a tennis court is a great way of ensuring that you have enough lighting to play at night and during the winter hours when playing time is restricted. Lighting for tennis courts also means that for hot countries you can play in the cool evening breeze as apposed to the beating sun.

For small scale residential applications Tennis court lighting is very different to lighting a large televised event. How ever the same things to consider still apply;

Minimum illuminance values – what are the age range of the people playing and what illuminance levels are suitable for the level of play being required? These guide lines are given by the lighting guide BSEN12646 and from sports England as well as the LTA and tennis federation. The illuminance values need to be calculated to ensure that you have the optimum number of flood lights for the Tennis Court Lighting. Due to the size of the ball and the speed of play it is generally recommended that reasonably high levels of illuminance are maintained. As well as the amount of light the lighting needs to be as uniform as possible so that there aren’t peaks and troughs of lighting on the court which could make the ball appear to zoom in and out of the air as it goes from light to dark.

Tennis court lighting grass



Planning – will a planning application be required for the addition of columns to the area?

Sky glow – how can the sky glow be avoided to ensure that there is minimum light pollution to the area? Generally flat optics are prefered as reduce the upward distribution of light from the reflector however the calculations dont take in to account the refelction from the playing surface and the atmospheric conditions which can enhance the appearance of skyglow.

Glare – How will you reduce the risk of glare to the players? This is important as there is not much point in having a court if the lights are so bright that you cannot see the ball when you make a serve. Glare occurs as either discomfort glare or disability glare. Glare can be defined as when the intensity of the source is much greater than the surround and your eyes are unable to adapt in time causing some form of discomfort.The best way of avoiding this is sourcing the light source to the sides and at a high level to reduce the lights being in the line site.

Switching -  Although halogen lamps switch on automatically they consume a high amount of energy. So typically metal halide sources are used. These have a slightly long warm up period of around 5 minutes and when they are switched off they will need even longer to cool down and warm up. But they consume much less energy and there are specialist sports flood light manufacturers who have optimized the lamp to ensure the optical performance is of a high quality.

As with any lighting query if you do have any questions on the subject please do get in touch.



Get Inspired

Following a recent trip to Marrakech I couldn’t help but be inspired. Well, who wouldn’t be? From the amazing play of light seeping throughout the warren of alleyways in the Medina and the elaborate array of Moroccan lanterns displayed by garrulous market traders in every direction I walked in.


Morocco’s famous romantic lanterns are fantastic. Made from goat skin / metal / glass and they really do transform a space, throwing shadows of beautiful patterns in every direction.



Yes, there are many beautiful lamps all over the world, of equal if not better quality, but what I love about them is that the craftsmanship, traditional techniques and tools used by artisans to make these haven’t changed for centuries. It’s something to applaud. And although these lanterns are available in a huge range of sizes, shapes, colours, the traditional Moroccan look is distinctive and can’t be mistaken.

Marrakech is a truly mystical and very inspirational – particularly to someone like me who is always on the lookout for different ideas for clients. If you want to become a part of it, then why not jump on a plane? It’s only 4 hours away.


Trends for 2012

Happy New year readers, who can believe it’s 2012 already?

Well as always, with the new year comes new trends, products and technologies. So in this post we list the top 3 things we feel will influence lighting throughout 2012.


1 Increased use of energy efficient and LED lamps in the home

With the European legislation phasing out inefficient light sources well under way (the EU had given a target of 2016 to phase out most incandescent light bulbs), to the rising cost of electricity. 2012 is all about energy efficiency. And that means LED’s.

LEDs are here to stay. They are getting cheaper and the quality is getting better year on year, (with the CRI – Colour Render Index – how well colours are rendered when compared against natural daylight in most cases meeting 80 or higher.) This now makes LEDs a good general lighting solution for residential interiors and with their advertised lamp life of 50,000 hours should mean that they will last around 25 years (if used about 4 hours every day) and will require minimum maintenance in its life time – Imagine never having to change a light bulb again!

With consumers wanting to keep their existing light fittings, ‘retro fit’ LED light bulbs is the best solution. The Lighting Design Studio’s top tip is to go for good quality ‘branded / trusted’ manufactures and where possible to test out the lamp inside the fixture before upgrade as the sizes can sometimes be slightly different to conventional lamps. With LED’s you really do get what you pay for. The Lighting Design Studios favourite Retro Fit LED at present is the New Dim tone by Phillips, which actually mimics halogen and gets warmer in colour as you dim it down (something no other LED retro fit can currently offer) which is great for when you want that nice warm cosy atmosphere in your living room – it works really well in down lights and can lead to substantial cost savings over the products life time.

Currently we also like fittings with the Bridgelux LED modules incorporated in to them; they offer excellent colour rendition and colour stability over life time for a relatively affordable price when compared to other LEDs.

Despite the advancement in new technology, LEDs aren’t the answer for everything. Halogen is still our preferred weapon of choice for art work as the LED equivalent is often 3-4 times the price and the colour rendition of the reds is poor unless you are using a very high quality LED, though we suspect that within the next 2-3 years an LED of 90 CRI+ will be standard.

The Lighting Design Studio also think 2012 will see the continued trend of ‘light as part of the fabric of architecture’. Where possible we like to hide the light source in our designs. Flexible linear LED light sources can be incorporated and hidden in shelving, furniture or alcoves. This technique is great for building up layers of light and with the reduction of the costs and the greater availability of these light sources is a trend that is likely to continue for 2012.

2 Domestic lighting control systems

This year will see us go far beyond the on/off switch and home lighting control is a must for 2012. Think ipads and iphones to dim your lights up and down and set moods or light scenes. Lutron, Rako, Crestron are all market leaders in home lighting control systems. With Rako now moving in to wired systems as traditionally they have been with the RF market. There is also a newcomer – British manufacture JSJS designs (who have recently licensed their RF technology to Siemens) having a budget B & Q range. It’s limited for complex schemes as it won’t dim every available light source, but they are very affordable. It’s a good simple retrofit option (where predominantly halogens are used). Although we are sure 2012 will see them develop and overcome their limited compatibility.

3 Contemporary fittings from European designers

Since LEDs are so small, manufacturers are not limited to conventional shapes and sizes for decorative fixtures. Designers can look at forms they couldn’t use before and this is producing a whole new era of exciting light fittings onto the market. With LED already built into the product – this really will start to challenge what people think of as a light fitting, for example look at the new Copernico fitting from Artemide or the Anisha from Foscarini. Another top tip from The Lighting Design Studio is instead of forking out for expensive Retro fit LED light bulbs – use this opportunity to purchase a completely new LED feature light fitting that’s likely to become a future design classic.

As well as ultra high tech fittings, a return to traditional hand crafting forms has been demonstrated by the multi disciplined Atelier Areti and Boci who use a combination of classical hand craft techniques such as glass an metal work whilst maintaining high quality and original design concepts. We look forward to the developments these and other manufacturers will be making in the future. We are sure plenty of exciting new products will be launched at Franfurt Light + Build in spring this year and the lighting deisgn studio will of course be there to tweet and blog about all the exciting products.