Lighting Design

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When to Involve a Lighting Designer

First fix cabling

One thing we’re asked a lot is when to involve a lighting designer.  People talk to us at varying stages of a build project.  We get calls from people at the very earliest stages of planning a build or renovation.  We also get calls from people who have electricians on-site who want to know where the cables should be run.  Getting a lighting designer involved early in a build is key to getting the best results from your lighting.

When is it too early to involve a Lighting Designer?

Great lighting needs to have something great to light.  If your plans are at the really early stage and you don’t have any firm ideas about look, feel, layout etc then you’re probably too early to do any detailed lighting design.  We still get involved at the very early stages of projects but it tends to be when our clients have got a good idea of what they are trying to achieve or when they’re trying to tie down budgets early.

This latter factor can encourage people to start their lighting design early.   Having a good idea of how many cables are going to be needed, whether a lighting control system is going to be used and any architectural detail that will feature lighting all helps to get realistic figures into the tender process.   It’s not uncommon to be asked to do a full lighting design before the work goes out to tender.  It means fewer surprises later on and minimises the risk of expensive change orders later in the build.  It also means thinking about the interiors, the space and the key features early enough.

Architectural Lighting is Integrated into the Fabric of a Building

Architectural lighting, lighting where the visible light and its effect take priority over the fitting, requires that fittings are built into the fabric of the building.  The time to do this often comes earlier than people think.  Assymetric bath uplit with tiny floor mounted LED lightsUnderfloor heating is a common feature of many new builds or renovations and it goes into the build early.  We frequently use the floor as a mounting point for architectural lighting.  If you are going to use the floor as a mounting point, then the design and cabling need to be finalised well before the screed is laid.  It’s common for us to have cabling run to designated locations over a year before the light fittings themselves are installed.

Architectural lighting sometimes requires adjustments to the architecture itself.  A drop ceiling for coffer lighting can deliver stunning results but again needs to be thought about as the designs for the rooms are finalised.  Early involvement means that lighting can be cabled during build.  The end result is discreet lighting, tightly integrated into the fabric of the building.

When to Involve a Lighting Designer

So when is the right time to involve a lighting designer?  Our experience tells us it’s rarely too early.  Finalising lighting design early in the overall design process should give better results and avoids expensive rework.  Trust us on this.  If you wait till you have electricians onsite you’re really not giving yourself the best chance to get your lighting right.  If you’d like to see how we can help you with your building or renovation project then please call on 0145 525664 or complete the project enquiry form here.