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Lighting inside your home with Machan Enever of Hawksbee Lighting Consultancy

Machan Enever shares her thoughts and tips on how to use lighting in your home interiors

1. What design elements should we consider when a client has an open plan kitchen, lounge and dining room?

You’ve got three zone types there with a multitude of tasks happening at any given moment; the kids may do their homework on the dining table, kitchen island, or on their knees on the sofa; someone may be watching tv, another cooking while a person is calling their parents.

I would consider the basic fundamentals such as expressed, concealed, and decorative lighting. Then consider what the tasks are within each area, any working surface needs a decent ‘working’ light level, dining table and kitchen worktop for example. 

 A must is control.  Because of the nature of this multifunctional space, the lighting needs to be adaptable; you can change the scene from early evening preparation to late evening entertainment. This does not mean you have to have a high spec fully integrated lighting control panel, you can simply have rotary dimmers that provide flexibility.

2. Name two lighting ‘ingredients’ that should not be forgotten when planning your kitchen?

Well designed, adaptable lighting and control of it.

3. What are the most common mistakes you find?

Poor location of lighting that when you’re working cast shadows over your task surface and all lighting on a single switched on/off circuit.

I sound like a broken record however current times have made the spaces in which we in-habitat needing to play the jobs of both a working and home environment. The most simplistic way to do that is through lighting, work time you’d consider being light and bright. While when you wish to shut-down for the evening, lower the light level, turn of architectural and turn on decorative.

Do you have dimmable lighting? change that switch, install a rotary dimmer. It is the cost-effective and simplistic ways to add a change of atmosphere.

 

4. Name some solutions for pitched ceilings, double/triple-height, and glazed kitchen environments?

On a recent barn conversion with a pitched ceiling, we suggested clusters of extractable spotlights. These provide enough rotation and tilt to illuminated artwork on walls or task surfaces and ambient lighting. You do not need to pepper-pot the ceiling, add soft uplight on top of kitchen joinery to accentuate the pitch and, in this case, a large scale pendant or cluster of three. In my opinion, downlights simply don’t cut in in terms of flexibility, sure they provide ambient but when recessing into the pitch the degree of tilt will only allow for minimal adjustment.

For the triple-height spaces with flat ceilings, suspended track and spotlights provide brilliant flexibility, we’ve previously presented an idea that these might be on a winch system to raise and lower the architectural lighting; you have raise and lower decorative lighting why not architectural?

Glazed kitchens are brilliant spaces, such a change from day to night. Views into green spaces during the day combing the two environments into one. While at night you could potentially feel like you are in a black box or a hall of mirrors. You want to achieve the same feeling as during the day, seamlessness between interior and exterior. Illuminate the exterior spaces, this only needs to be small accents. Casting light on the canopy of a tree or accent a backdrop to a long view but doing this you essentially increase the size of your kitchen twofold.

5. Healthy lifestyles, biophilic design and sustainable living are now a huge focus, is there such a thing as healthy lighting?

Absolutely! Tuneable white for daylight mimicking, blue light filters that help our sleep-wake cycles, fixture life cycles, natural daylight vs artificial daylight… list goes on.

We weren’t really designed to be under artificial lighting day in day out, however here we are. Therefore, we need to be designing lighting schemes that best help to reduce any undesirable effects. We know that the blue light within LED fixtures have unfavourable effects on our circadian rhythms.

It’s said it is the heart of the home, it’s a hub that fuels energy, creativity, and productivity. Take the basics of prepping & cooking vs wining & dining, you can see two different atmospheres. The well-lit scene to undertake the preparation then the steaming, baking, frying of food and once complete the mood changes to gather, socialise and, quite simply, eat.

 

Images- Hawksbee Lighting Consultant

Header- Stafford Terrace

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