Whether you’re upgrading the lighting in your home or you’re a lighting designer specifying fixtures for a commercial new-construction project, you’re probably concerned about the same things. Apart from staying within budget, you’re worried about having adequate lighting. Like most, you don’t want your home flooded with light but you also don’t want to be left with inadequate light. The balance is in the planning. First, you’ll need to know the square footage of the area you’ll be lighting. Once you calculate for adequate lighting, you can use proper dimming controls to match cozier moods.
The Square Footage
- Measure length of one wall
- Measure the width of one wall
- Multiply the width by the length
- W*L = area
- Measure from the center to an outside wall. (Radius)
- Multiply that measurement by Pi (3.14)
- Square the new number
If you’ve got some sort of crazy shaped house, you may have the break out the old high school textbooks and do some geometry.
Now, it’s helpful to plot out the room on a piece of paper. Draw in furniture and any big obstructions. Planning lighting around objects is a more exact way to make sure that you have the right amount of light you want. Like Goldilocks, you don’t want too much, or too little.
Having enough light isn’t the only thing to consider. Color and quality of light is also a big consideration. Take note of where you spend the most time, and what you do in that space. Perhaps you have a favorite recliner where you take naps. Maybe you have a work area that needs to be well lit. If you are relaxing, keep the kelvin of the light down (2700K – 3000K). Meaning, the a warm orange colored light that sits around 2700 degrees Kelvin. If you need to work, a high CRI bulb with a kelvin rating of around (4100K-5000K) is great. If you need more information on any of this industry lingo, you can dig through a treasure trove of lighting information.
Search through led lighting fixtures on AlconLighting.com to see what might work for your space.
Now comes the fun part. For every square foot, you assign a set number of lumens to it. A square foot of floor needs 20 lumens. A table or raised surface needs 30 lumens. A workspace needs 50 lumens. Lumens are a scientific estimate of ambient light coming from a lighting source. Most lighting products list their lumen output on their packaging or specification sheets.
Please note as a warning, large ceilings require the consideration of foot candles. If you have an extremely unique area to light, it may be better to contact Alcon Lighting or hire a professional lighting designer.
The youngest of seven children, Colt Sliva was born under a strange star—a portent of things to come. Prophecies foretold that he would one day change the world of Web Design, SEO Marketing, and Front End Development, and his brothers and sisters hated him for this reason. Scorned and mistreated, he left home at 16 with only two pairs of socks and a copy of "The Complete Moron's Guide to PHP," hitchhiking all the way from Arizona to Los Angeles to find his destiny. On the way there, he encountered a mysterious seer by the name of "Craig" who held a list of the land's greatest opportunities. Craig foretold that all his hopes would be fulfilled if Colt would find and bring him three rare things: the genius of Linus Torvalds, the work ethic of Abraham Lincoln, and his own laptop. After overcoming these strenuous challenges, Colt found himself in possession of the Key to All Things Coding, christening himself Overlord of the Web—a title he still enjoys today. The End.
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.