John Bullock Lighting Design
John Bullock Lighting Design
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Raging at the Dyeing of the Light (Hah!)


I spent a hour or so last evening doing some DIY corrections on the colour output of a nice bit of Part-L-compatible CFL lighting above a client's dining room table. Now there are many who would claim that even attempting the use of CFLs in that kind of situation is asking for trouble in the aesthetics department, but I claim that, if we're ever to crack the issue of energy saving in home lighting, this is exactly the kind of thing that we need to start working on.

There's some odd technology at work here. Back on the farm, I already have CFLs above the old hand-hewn farmer's table (oh, alright: the hand-crafted, bespoke-design, furniture makers dream-piece) and everything's fine. But then again, I bought the lamps from the local posh supermarket and they're tucked in behind the fine fabric work that makes up the designer-shade above said table.

Back at the client's des-res, I have higher output CFLs - those of a TC-D tendency - and the effect is altogether different. Too pink - altogether too obviously fluorescent - just plain wrong when dimmed - regardless of their 827 labelling. Why do lamp manufacturers do this. And let's name and shame here; why does OSRAM do this? An 827 lamp is meant to provide the equivalent of a GLS output, hence those fine lamps that our supermarkets are happy to sell to us. But the bigger lamps, that manufacturers, I assume, think will only be used commercially - they don't need such colour accuracy? Think again, you lamp people.

Its simple: every 827 lamp should look like a GLS lamp. There should be no difference in the way it splashes its 2700K light about, nor in the colour appearance of the lamp itself. We have got to get this right before the public - AKA our clients - come to trust the fluorescent technology.

And I've got this crazy idea that we're not actually going to solve the nightmare scenario of our ground waters running in waste mercury until we do get a massive take-up of this kind of low energy lighting at the high-end of the residential market.

So: for those of you puzzling over my DIY exercise: just a layer of LEE filter (ref: 206 if you must know) interlayered between an acrylic diffuser and a piece of special art-glass designed for the client. But I shouldn't have to do it. 

RIBA CPD in 2015

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John Bullock Lighting Design
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