Apr 092012
 

Have you ever critiqued the interior design on your favorite TV show? It may sound strange, but it’s interesting to look past the characters and consider what you would have done differently (or similarly) with furniture placement, color schemes, and lighting design. I’ve definitely found myself thinking, “nice under cabinet lighting” a time or two while watching a show set in a luxury kitchen. Maybe that makes me a lighting nerd …

Modern Family is one of the most popular sitcoms on ABC right now, featuring three households that are impeccably designed. Phil and Claire Dunphy live in a traditional style family home with their three children, Jay Pritchett and wife Gloria live in a sleek, modern house with Gloria’s son Manny, and Mitchell and Cam’s home is a blend between the two styles. I included a few snapshots below, along with lighting design lessons:

1. Just a few recessed light fixtures can wash an entire wall with light. You can see just four recessed cans in this photo, but they create a wall washing effect so that the far wall becomes a focal point. I actually wrote a post recently on how wall washing recessed lighting  is often used in museums, hotels, and art galleries because it makes quite a statement. As you can see, it’s just as easy to incorporate into a home! The photo is of the Dunphy living room. Read more on how to wash a wall with light here.

Photo via zimbio.com

Continue reading »

Feb 242012
 

This morning, Philips Lighting (@PhilipsLightUS) tweeted,

“Everything we see, most of what we do, & much of what we feel is touched by light.” What is it about light that inspires you?

What a great musing for a Friday morning! I am inspired by the fact that light can literally transform the ambiance of a space. Philips recently gave a restaurant that hosts speed dating events a lighting makeover. The room went from this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this:

Isn’t that incredible? No change in furniture or other decor – purely a lighting makeover.

The thing is, the impact of lighting is underappreciated! Unless the lighting design is glaringly horrible, the average person rarely looks around a room and thinks “a few minor lighting upgrades would really help here.” More often, people consider wall color, furniture, flooring, appliances, countertops, cabinetry – anything but the lighting.

The longer that I work for a lighting company, the more often I walk into a space and think about how the lighting design enhances (or detracts from) the ambiance. When you see photos like the ones above, or dynamic scenes showing kitchens with and without lighting, you realize that lighting does effect “everything we see, most of what we do, and much of what we feel” – perhaps more so than other elements of interior design.

What inspires you about lighting?

Photos from Philips Lighting’s Speed Date Challenge Video

 Posted by on February 24, 2012 at 9:32 am
Aug 262011
 

We frequently blog about home lighting tips, but rarely do we share photos of homes with professionally designed lighting. It’s fun to see the style in a celebrity’s kitchen or to read about the projects an architect might take on in his own home, but the best homes to peek into are the ones that showcase room after room of professional lighting. What better place to see that than in the home and office of our nation’s president?

Although 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has housed every U.S. president except George Washington, there have been a few decorative changes over the years. Congress allocates money every four years for maintenance and redecoration of the 132 rooms. The Committee for the Preservation of the White House must approve changes to historic rooms and public spaces, but the living quarters on the upper floors may be updated without consultation.

George W. and Laura Bush added CFL light bulbs during their time in the White House (along with low-flow faucets and solar heating). It’s impossible to catalog each lighting change the building has seen, but photos speak to how beautifully each room is lit. Continue reading »

 Posted by on August 26, 2011 at 10:11 am
Aug 122011
 

When the Philips SchoolVision lighting system was installed in a German primary school, the teachers were probably dubious that there would be measurable results.

Sure, the SchoolVision system was specifically designed to improve learning environments: A touchpad allows the teacher to select between four lighting levels for the optimum atmosphere during lessons. For example, an “Energy” setting features high intensity light in a cool color tone, recommended for first thing in the morning or after lunch. A “Calm” setting has a standard intensity level and a warm color tone for use in a hyperactive classroom. “Normal” and “Focus” similarly use light to create the ideal setting for students.

But would such subtle changes in lighting make a difference? Apparently, yes! A year-long study of 166 pupils and 18 teachers in SchoolVision classrooms was conducted in Hamburg, Germany. Standard tests used to measure levels of attention and concentration found that reading speed among the students increased by 35% and hyperactivity decreased by 76%.

The findings correlate with several other studies into the effects of SchoolVision. According to my research, SchoolVision has not yet been installed in any classrooms in the United States. What do you think: Would it be a valuable addition to our school systems?

Aug 042011
 

When it comes to designing enticing displays in retail stores, there’s a lot more that goes into it than deciding where the “Sale” sign should go. Studies have shown that buying decisions are affected by store layout, lighting, music, and even scent.

The Smell & Taste Research Foundation in Chicago has conducted a number of studies evaluating how certain scents can impact mood and perception. One study placed an identical pair of Nike sneakers in two identical rooms – except one was sprayed with a mixed floral scent and one was odorless. When shoppers filled out surveys evaluating the sneakers, a whopping 84 percent said they preferred the sneakers in the floral-scented room, and that they’d pay about $10 more for them. Clearly, sensory perceptions affect our opinions on products.

Lighting, of course, has a significant impact on retail display as well. A recent study published in LEDs Magazine indicated that the degree of color rendering in a display may have an impact on sales.   Continue reading »

Jun 222011
 

Philips has launched an incredible competition in the name of lighting inspiration.  They are searching for one person with enough passion for lighting to travel the world for three months.  Along the way, that individual will share inspirational lighting installations & designs through photographs, videos, and blog posts.

It’s called the Light World Tour.  The sign up and voting period started June 1 and goes through August 8.  You can see the Top 10 Entrants so far at www.lightworldtour.com.

If your dream job is to travel the world in search of lighting inspiration, by all means, enter the competition!  All you have to do is write about experiences that qualify you and what your ideas are for the tour.

Also, vote for your favorite entrant using Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

I know I am very excited to follow the winner’s blog in September – what an amazing opportunity!

Jun 012011
 

This lamp from product designer Meirav Peled Barzilay creates a natural growing lampshade.  The hanging metal grid only requires a light bulb and the vine of your choice.  Over time, the plant is meant to “fill in” the grid, forming an incredibly unique lampshade that blends outdoor aesthetic with indoor design.

The product is called the Photosynthesis Lamp.  There are other versions available with the same idea.

Designers, what do you think: Would you use something like this?

May 242011
 

Sunlight is the most natural way to light a space, and every lighting designer knows that it’s an important component to consider before planning a project.  Knowing where the afternoon rays come in, or which window dawn streams in first, can help a designer understand where to fill in the gaps.  It’s still important to create “layers of light” throughout an entire space, but capitalizing on sunlight as much as possible is a core rule in lighting design.

With Paint …

If you paint in lighter colors (think white, soft yellow, and beige), the sun will reflect off the walls more easily and bounce light further into your home.  Also, choose a glossy paint finish to enhance those light reflections.  Eggshell is an excellent option.  It has a low sheen that looks great on walls, and it will also hold up better than a flat finish. Continue reading »

Sign up to receive each new post delivered directly to your email inbox.