“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well”
Have you ever sat in a room and thought – there’s something not quite right, but you can’t put your finger on what it is. You feel slightly on edge and can’t wait to leave? Do you have a space at home that feels welcoming and cosy at night but somehow uncomfortable and cold in the day time? It might be about the materials used, the colours, the size and layout of the room, but it may also be about the light. Light influences our whole experience of a space; our mood, orientation, productivity, alertness and ability to rest.
“Lighting is the 4th dimension of architecture”
Every property is designed, sometimes by an architect, sometimes by an engineer but always with some thought of making the space functional. After that, some thought be may put into making that space more than functional, with careful thought of space, structure and materials to enhance the experience of using the space. A vitally important step at this stage of the design process is lighting design. We think it’s crucial and we’re not alone. I love this quote, pretty much sums up what I’m trying to say here:
“Light should not interpret architecture; it must transform it!
Light should not enhance space and form; it should empower it!
Light is the life-force of man-made structures.
It is through light that events become meaningful.
Light marks our presence as alive and self-aware.
Burned in memory, light is profoundly experienced.”
Edward P. Bartholomew – professor of architecture
You may have an architect or supplier that offers lighting design but, in our experience, an architect is likely to have little or no depth of knowledge in the area and lighting suppliers may offer a design service but will be confined to only offering their products. An independent lighting designer will have the depth of knowledge and freedom to use whichever product is best for the client and for the design.
Some other advantages of hiring a lighting designer
As mentioned above, your lighting designer is independent so can shop around in a competitive environment for the best deals and most efficient lighting. The designer can also make small tweaks that make big differences, for example, by not over lighting an area.
Currently, we all have access to every style and quality of light fitting imaginable. If you decide to choose the lighting yourself just imagine how many hours you will spend agonising over which ones to choose. If you’re renovating your whole house this becomes a huge task and one that will add stress to your day for the duration of the project. It could even mean taking time off work which will effectively add to the overall costs. Why not leave all the decision making to the lighting designer?
Additionally, if there’s any confusion or dispute with the other contractors, you can often hand the problem over to the lighting designer. What a relief!
A good lighting designer will make sure that an efficient system is installed using the latest energy saving tech with all the obvious benefits to the environment and your pocket that go along with this.
All the points above also apply to commercial projects but there are even more advantages to hiring a lighting designer for larger commercial building development. You are unlikely to take on the choosing of the lights and the fittings, that would be down to the architect or engineer, however, it’s still well worth while bringing in a professional. Here’s some of the main advantages for commercial properties but it’s by no means exhaustive.
Better environment for your client…
Whether you’re lighting a shop, selling your professional services or in the hospitality industry, if the lighting is right it will help to put your customers at ease and they’ll be more likely to buy that pair of shoes, believe that you’re going to deliver a good service or want to return to your spa, hotel or restaurant.
… and your staff
Good lighting will put your staff in a better and more productive mood. A lighting designer will know how to set the lighting to the right levels and colours for the type of work (eg computer or drawing board, meeting rooms etc). Many of us go home after work feeling drained and unmotivated – how often is this down to badly set lighting in the work place?
Energy saving on a big scale
Same as for residential but for large commercial properties this can make even more of a significant difference to costs, particularly with the rise of levies linked to your carbon footprint as a company. Also, it’s good for your PR to show your customers that you are taking this seriously.
Pick the right lighting designer
My final point is that if you decide to hire a lighting designer make sure they are well-qualified and proven. We find that proven experience is as important as ‘on paper’ qualifications so ask for references and evidence of previous work completed. It’s also important that they are independent consultants, for the reasons I have given above. It can be good to take on a referral from the other professionals on your project – but still make sure that they have produced a look that you like in their previous work.
Our company specialises in lighting control and we talk from experience (of 14 years now!) that whenever a project includes a lighting designer, the results are dramatically improved. Beautiful design paired with the convenience of lighting control really does add the WOW factor but also ensures an efficient system that lasts.
We hope this has gone some way to helping you make a decision on what you should do and if you want a recommendation of lighting designers we have worked with, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0113 898 0078.
If you want to see how our lighting projects look, all of which were designed by a professional and independent lighting designer, take a look at our lighting control page.