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.