Lighting Design

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A study in lighting low ceilings

 

Lighting a modern basement

We’ve just entered the lighting scheme for this super family house in the darc awards.  The brief was to create a great party space in the large basement floor that also houses the children’s bedrooms.  Elsewhere we were enhancing and supporting a glamorous, very grown up home.  The wonderful helical staircase running up four floors is a major feature and we wanted to make the inner surfaces glow.  It’s a great project and we were very lucky to have supportive and adventurous clients.  The major challenge was ceiling height and we’re going to looking at lighting low ceilings, what the challenges are and how they can be overcome.

Lighting Low Ceilings

Low ceilings can present a real lighting challenge.  Lit badly they can make a space feel oppressive.  Downlight only schemes can make that worse by throwing more light onto the floor while keeping the ceiling itself relatively darker.  This draws your eye down rather than up accentuating the problem.  In this instance the challenge is more complex with tight void spaces packed with HVAC kit, fire curtains, structural steels etc.

The final basement design was centred around using a plaster in Sedap profile to create pattern of light around the ceiling and walls.  The final design is carefully worked around all the other constraints in the ceiling. The circular base of the stairs with the bottom flight of glass was echoed by a LED Linear fitting recessed in to the floor below.  The patterns of light help redirect your eyeline upwards while providing a great backdrop for the party space.

We carried the concealed linear fittings through to the boys’ bedrooms, with colour change for a bit of extra fun.  The fittings work well with the graffiti walls. Likewise, the cinema (looking a bit bare and unfinished currently) colour changes, with the round fitting echoing the round seating pit and room shape.

Upstairs the kitchen is a highly impactful and functional space. The key elements were the wonderful copper splashback and island frontage; we designed all the fixing and shielding elements to ensure neither the light sources nor their direct reflections could be seen.  Again multi-layered light provides an alternative way of lighting low ceilings while enhancing the beautiful finishes.

The wonderful staircase is enhanced by a custom Bocci chandelier coming down through three floors.  It’s finished with the circular flourish in the basement floor.

Lighting controlled by Lutron HomeWorks QS

Lutron HomeWorks QS gives intuitive control of the multi-layered lighting across the large open plan spaces.  The lighting scheme uses a mixture of DALI, 0-10v and mains dimming appropriate to the loads. Lutron is controlling both natural and artificial light as we also installed Lutron light filtering blinds on the southern side of the house.

 

The Gallery

The Video


Links

Lighting low ceilings – one in our lighting solutions series
Bisca – bespoke staircases
darc awards 2017 – an incredible collection of amazing lighting schemes from around the world.
Charlotte Gale photography