Let's talk about what happens when new technology means that we can do Less with More – and not in a good way.
The most exciting part of any new project must be the moment that you can open the lid in the corner of the room marked ‘creative thinking’ and let out the little ideas monkeys to get some fresh air. And if you don’t get a buzz out of that, why on earth are you doing this job?
You’ve already said to your client “Stop thinking about light fittings. It’s not about the light fittings. It’s all about what you want the light to do.” Easy said, my friends because, and permit me to let you into a little secret – of course it’s about the light fittings!
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it’s not about any specific light fitting, but it most certainly will be about what light fittings do – and if a light fitting can’t do it for you, then you need to think again about ‘ what you want the lighting to do’.
It’s come into sharp focus for me because I’ve floated an idea in front of a client and, happy to say, it got a good reception. Now all I have to do is build the detail of it, and that’s where it’s starting to get interesting. The essence of the idea doesn’t call for much; all I need is an array of suspended fluorescent tubes. After all, can there be anything more simple than a bare fluorescent tube hanging in space?
There are a few technical issues to overcome. The installation will be in a wet space and there is a risk of someone small hoiking a beach ball (cricket ball??) against the fixture. So two things need to happen: I need an IP-rated, mechanically protected fluorescent tube. In all of my years I have never needed to think twice about where that might come from – until now.
Before I go any further, let me say that I know how to resolve this; I know who to talk to and it will all be wonderful. So there’s no need for anyone to come riding to the rescue of the poor, uninformed, lighting designer. But thank you for your concern.
The PROBLEM is what’s happened to the mainstream solution. The standard product has, of course, been taken over by the LED. The inefficient fluorescent tube that sprayed its light in all directions is now a super-efficient, focused, tube of downlighting; its BRIGHTER; its EFFICIENT; it DOESN’T DO WHAT I WANT ANY MORE!
There are times when the new tech. provides a seamless upgrade of where we used to be – but not always. Sometimes, the old ways are what’s needed and no one ever expected that to happen to a bare fluorescent tube.
A (very) basic guide to ethical specification
Lighting design: it's a client thing
Calculating obtrusive light: whose job is it?
When there's nothing in the catalogue
When is a chandelier not a pendant? When its a lantern!
When clients learn too much . . .
One of our details is missing
Where will light fittings come from?
The end of the light bulb?
Always something new . . . again
Always something new . . .
Combining old and new
On being in the dark . . .
Riffing The Internet of Things
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room