Confused Lighting

I mostly write about good lighting design and light fittings that appeal to me. Partly it is because I do not like to speak ill of anyone, and partly because I prefer to focus on positive aspects of my surroundings. However, you can learn from identifying the things you don’t like, opinions you disagree with and to simply form your own opinion.

I recently had a meeting with my local bank. The banker was late and I spent some time waiting. Is there anything more boring than waiting?! An obvious thing for me to do while I wait, is to look at the lighting. At this bank it simply did its job – giving enough light where it was needed and I will not say that it was bad. However, the more I looked at it – I could only come to one conclusion: it was a very confused and random pattern that did not seem to fill any specific purpose. If there is no purpose, lighting is often arranged in a square and even pattern throughout the room. That did not apply here. The other take on things is to place fittings in pattern according to function, area or simply to fit the shape of the room. We do this in our own homes as well, different fittings for different tasks. That design concept did not apply either for this particular bank. I do wonder who designed it and what their concept was. Although, I fear there was neither design nor purpose.

As I am new to London there is loads of stuff to explore. In lighting there has been the May Design Series, an international furnishings fair. There is a fantastic fair in Stockholm – Northern Light, so I had great hopes for the May Design Series. Perhaps a Sunday morning was not the best time to visit which made me think that there was not much to see. I chatted with a few exhibitors, saw a few cool light fittings and listened to Terence Woodgate talk about product design. Woodgate have designed some really neat fittings that I fell in love with and his talk was interesting. Clearly the highlight of my visit. The interior design part of the fair, however, was a big disappointment.

The search continues for good lighting venues, places to learn more about lighting and finding inspiration.

Why use metal halogen, 12V halogen AND compact fluorescent lighting in such a small space?

Light fittings by Terence Woodgate – looks so much better in real life

Light fittings by Tom Raffield

Light fitting by Daniel Schofield Studio


Love Light

There are many places you pass everyday but never notice – especially not the lighting, which, if it is done well, you are not really supposed notice. Sure, the cool, striking, beautiful feature pendant should be noticed. It is there to catch your eye, but general lighting should not be seen. It should only create an atmosphere – whether it is of comfort, security, relaxation, or a general feel good. This can be done with artificial lighting as well as with daylight.

Last time I travelled to Sweden I went through Paddington station to catch the Heathrow Express. The natural light, the skylights, in there are amazing. Pity that I was in a hurry, otherwise I could have stayed there a few hours just experiencing the space. The artificial lighting looks glary in the pictures but you don’t notice the fittings that much since there is this amazing ceiling with daylight. I also like the contrast of the white daylight in the ceiling and the warmer lighting from the fittings that highlight the architectural features.

Another everyday place with lighting that I like is the London Underground. The simple lines of fluorescent tubes, just as they are, really appeal to me. It is clean, simple and unobtrusive. It also fits in well with the sometimes rough surroundings but is discrete enough to fit with the more decorated stations.

The most amazing thing about lighting though, and the reason why I love my profession, is that you can do so much with lighting. With artificial lighting it is only your imagination that set the limits. Not to forget the ever changing natural daylight.

Paddington Station

Paddington Station

Paddington Station

Paddington Station

Westminster Station

West Kensington Station

A Small Step for Finn

Recently, I saw the photo exhibition Hairstyles and Headdresses with photos by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, a Nigerian photographer who has documented hairstyles in Nigeria. I’m glad those hairstyles are not part of my “beauty regime,” not that my thin, silky hair could ever be prevailed upon to fix into such elaborate creations. The images showed plain heads focusing on the hairstyles; black and white images with high contrast. Perhaps more amazing than the images themselves, was the lighting. Photography is difficult to light since photos are often framed with glass in front of the image. I have never designed lighting for a photo exhibition but I have been to enough of them were you have to search for a viewing spot that does not have a glary reflexion of a spotlight mid picture. This exhibition had hardly any of those problems. I was impressed! A wide corridor with luminaires close to the walls left the walls bright but the ceiling and mid-floor dark. What a joy to see good photography in good lighting.

Last weekend I spent a chunk of it working on my new film script, my theatre play and my poetry-novel. For the novel I am currently working on all the additional texts. Below is the text for the back-cover. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. For those who want to read the story itself, go to:

Finn the Farmer’s Son is a coming of age story set in a farm community in the recent past. Finn is a child of nature, innocent but sturdy, with his person firmly rooted in the soil of his ancestors. The wider world will try to break him through war, death, filth, and destruction of the nature he loves. But good forces are at work too. A fairy, named Miredhel, will bring beauty, light and love to Finn. She will fight for his innocent soul and show that even the weakest flower can defeat destruction, just as spring brings fertility after a barren winter.
The story is told through a series of poems that tie the events of the story together.

Nigerian Hairstyle

Exhibition hall at South Bank Centre