You may have put careful consideration into the exact location of your kitchen island or sketched out the exact dimensions of your bathroom storage closet. But when it comes to lighting or electrical, many home owners don’t consider it or plan for it, until it’s too late. Here are some tips to help you plan.
First. Consider your lighting objectives. Lighting designers consider 3 different layers of light when designing a space. They are:
Ambient: General illumination of the entire room to minimize shadows. This includes ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, or sky lights.
Task: Lighting with intention. This relates to lighting a specific spot like a desk or wall art. This includes desk lamps or LED track lights (for those interested in energy efficient LED Lighting).
Accent: Used to set the mood by lighting architectural features or accessories. Ex. Cove Lighting.
Second. Set your budget and timeline. Lighting should be one of the initial parts of any construction plan.
Budget: Rule of thumb. 20%-30% of your total budget should be devoted to lighting.
Planning: Three months before work begins, visit a lighting showroom to reviews specifications, create a plan, and order fixtures. There is usually an extended lead-time for high-end, built-to-order fixtures.
Execution: Two months before construction, share your lighting plan with all trade professionals on your job to make sure all specialty work is completed.
Remember, there are lots of ways to light a space. Browsing a lighting website or visiting a lighting showroom can help you narrow your options according to your preferences, and help you choose fixtures that compliment your other decorating choices.
David Hakimi is a lighting specialist and one of the co-founders of Alcon Lighting. A graduate of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), David works on the front lines of the energy-efficient lighting revolution, enabling architects, designers, and lighting engineers to transition from outmoded halogen and fluorescent lighting. David takes particular pride in Alcon’s design, energy, and green building knowledge, tracing his and Alcon’s commitment to quality, innovation, accountability and value back to the lessons learned from his father, a Southern California lighting salesman and consultant for more than two decades. Passionate about climate change and protecting the environment, David has been particularly valuable in ensuring that his clients and customers comply with rapidly-evolving green building codes.
At Alcon Lighting’s LA headquarters, co-founder David Hakimi adopted a 12 year-old dog named Nano and decided to bring him into the office every day. Let’s just say it garnered some attention. It quickly became clear that Nano, who’s now 14 years old, relishes a long nap. Nano likes to hop and curl up in an easy chair, resting his head on the arm, drifting into slumber. In fact, David says this is Nano’s favorite activity.
If the work of lighting design was just left to services engineers to meet regulation-determined illuminance criteria per application, then interior and exterior architectural spaces would become soulless environments. Using qualitative measurements, architects and lighting designers can make sure the architectural intention and aesthetic character of a space is not compromised.
“98% of what gets built today is sh**. There’s no sense of design nor respect for humanity or anything. They’re bad buildings and that’s it.” – Frank Gehry. Fun fact: One of Frank Gehry’s most famous works as an architect is his own private Santa Monica residence.
The term Architectural Lighting encompasses three main factors. The first is the building’s aesthetic, which is crucial for any commercial, especially retail, environment. The second consideration is ergonomic or functional — any aspect which improves one’s ability to live, work, function, relax or play — to make the space easier to use. The third aspect involves the efficiency of energy, ensuring that light is properly, which is to say economically or optimally, used and distributed.
In 2016, Architectural Lighting interviewed lighting designer and founder of Pfarré Lighting Design, Gerd Pfarré, shedding light on the legendary designer’s process, what’s most important when lighting a space and what the future holds for lighting. While Pfarré’s is a career is a storied one, he did not start out in the industry.