Light fixtures are now adding the finishing touch to a room, writes SANGEETHA SWAROOP
With new technology and fresh designs, wall and ceiling lightings provide a decorative element to any interior furnishing. Gone are the days when an entire space was dominated by a single ceiling lighting fixture in the middle of the room. Today, with lighting products offering multiple levels of design and luminosity, perfect lighting at all times is what the consumer demands.
Latest innovations: Textile panels
with embedded LEDs from
“Light can do so much more than just light up a space – it can completely transform the ambience of a room,” says Paolo Cervini, vice-president and general manager, Philips Lighting Middle East and Turkey. “We are currently seeing how lighting is shifting from serving purely functional purposes, to becoming part of interior or architectural design, if not the leading element of design.”
While earlier, lighting was considered as a separate element within a project, the trend today is for lighting design to be integrated into a project, he says. “Architects usually like to see the lighting effect and not the light source, and this is best achieved when lighting is considered at an early stage of a project.”
Technological advancements, particularly in LED design, allows for easier integration of lighting design into various materials. “Due to the small size of the light source in LED, we can now embed lighting into walls, floors and textiles, all of which were unimaginable a few years back, because the light sources were far too big.”
New technology and design have also led to a shift towards custom-made and material oriented designs and indirect lighting, points out Raju Datla, managing director, Pioneer Lighting Solutions, Dubai. “The present trend and client taste is towards invisible and hidden lights, indirect lights and glare free luminaires,” he says.
“There is an increasing preference for cove lighting in the ceiling and niche lighting for the wall. More ceiling-material-specific light fixtures are a new development while sizes and shapes lean towards designer and custom orientation.”
The mix of materials such as metals and crystals that blend in with colours and finishes of ceilings breathe life to a room in new and unexpected ways making light fixtures as eclectic as any other piece of home décor.
Textile panels with embedded LEDs are the latest innovative solution from Philips Lighting. “These luminous textiles create movement of colours and images on fabrics to turn architecture into animated spaces. This is a great example of the integration of light into overall design, where these panels can be used side by side with purely acoustic panels, and one could never tell the difference unless they were switched on,” explains Cervini.
With lighting now becoming a pivotal component in design, ongoing research in improving LED technology is leading to better and more efficient Colour Rendering Index (CRI) LED light fixtures that have a greater advantage of dimming and being controlled, says Datla.
As everyone’s colour vision is different, interpreting colour can be very subjective. Hence, specifications are required to provide a basis for subjective comparison. One major specification in the lighting industry is the CRI which describes how an object appears to the human eye based upon an ideal or natural light source. The colour rendering abilities of LEDs are particularly useful for art galleries and museums as these have functional requirements and need to emphasise the quality of the works on show.
“Lighting influences the way we look at art and is crucial in showcasing every single detail of the artwork,” says Cervini. “The Philips LED lighting solution creates effects and visual contrasts that closely mimic the colour rendition of natural daylight, presenting the artwork in the best way. It emits uniform light that is safe for the artworks and meets international criteria for the conservation of art. The neutral white light brings out colours in all their details, whether greens/blues or red/yellows, showing artworks as if viewed in high definition.”
Lighting design: Integration of form,
function and beauty
However, in homes, people tend to generally choose the wrong LED with wrong drivers, points out Datla. “Many LEDs are not suitable for reading, rendering task and work. Choosing to ignore colour temperature of the light source is yet another common mistake, especially with wall lights.”
Light affects the body’s sleep and wake cycles and hence, for lighting building interiors, choosing a light source with correct colour temperature is very important. For example, a warmer (lower colour temperature) light promotes relaxation while a cooler (higher colour temperature) light enhances concentration in offices.
Control logic design and automatic scheduling of the lighting installation is going to be the future of the home lighting, believes Datla. “From just using an on/off switch or using an IR remote, the control logic is evolving into a very sophisticated mood lighting design, that can change into a completely different mood in a particular area, either automatically, with pre-determined timing or with the touch of a button from multiple controls which are integrated into smart phones, PCs and TV remotes.”
Trends: Shift towards custom-
Light fixtures are now adding the finishing touch to a room as lighting is beginning to push the envelope. Therefore, is the form of the design more important than lighting output? “It really depends on the application,” says Cervini. “If we think about merely decorative lighting, form is very important but for sport or road lighting, performance is the key.”
“At Philips, we believe that design is about the integration of form, function and beauty,” he adds. “Good design is about creating products and solutions that not only provide the best lighting, but also have an amazing look.”
Traditionally, homes have emphasised design over light output because luminaires were primarily decorative elements, he says. “However, new technologies offer endless possibilities, and we can now create lighting effects, such as wall washing or grazing, with a perfect colour consistency and colour rendering even at home. Here, it is all about the light and not the fitting itself, and this trend is growing in popularity.”