John Bullock Lighting Design
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How To Design without Downlights


I've been asked to present a talk at LUXLive on "How To Design Without Downlights".
(4pm on Wednesday 19th November; see you there)


And why is this important? Well - its another opportunity for me to restore my karmic balance after spending too many of my formative years telling everyone how good the damned things are. If we’d known then what we know now, would we have bothered ?
(yes – of course we would)

The 1980s can be held to book for a lot of things and we can certainly send the decade down for entrenching three forms of downlighting on the design community:
1. the obvious form is that created by the low voltage tungsten halogen dichroic reflector lamp (to give it something like its full title). It’s the one that’s spread over home lighting and commercial lighting like a rash, to the extent that no one really wonders any more if there might be an alternative – which there is, of course.
2. the architect’s friend came from Germany, courtesy of ERCO Lighting, mainly because it was as near to invisible as you could ever hope not to see. Yes, the low brightness specular reflector system developed by Edison McGraw in the USA and championed by ERCO in Europe is THE architect’s light fitting. It was all about minimalism; it was never about LIGHT.
3. not usually described as a downlight (but that’s what it does – so that’s what it is) is the - usually - recessed modular fluorescent luminaire. Designed to keep reflections out of the fancy new computer screens that were appearing all over the place, this fitting still hasn’t had the decency to roll over and bury itself in history. The fixtures are still out there and still being installed – despite the reason for their existence having long since morphed into desktop LED screens/laptops/tablets/smartphones – none of which need to be protected against beastly, glare-y, ceiling lighting.

And that’s why we need to learn to look again at our interior lighting design and find ways “How To Design Without Downlights”.

Take a look at my Pinterest page; I’m asking for photographs of non-downlighting schemes – and I may well get round to asking for stupendously WRONG examples of downlighting schemes as well.



And if you'd like to read more about lighting for the home, please visit my Home Lighting Consultant blog pages HERE!

RIBA CPD in 2015

Here are the links to my event calendars



John Bullock Lighting Design
4 Miller Way

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