Over the Christmas break, I’ve started noticing different lighting solutions for different environments and situations within different places so have been noting them as part of my research.
Firstly, when shopping, I impromptu came accross some interesting low budget lighting products in a shop called ‘Flying Tiger Copenhagen’, a global Danish design store. There were some very simple yet playful and interesting solutions here at a low cost – perhaps not the kind our target market desires but still, a topic to consider and topic for conversation.
Next, I noticed an interesting twist on a table/desk lamp in my grandparents house. An artistic piece. Although it didn’t actually provide much light despite the numerous flower heads being lit, it was a point of interest sat on the kitchen windowsill. When asking my nan, she admitted it was not there and not actually needed there for functional purposes, she just liked the look of it and the fact it was in theme with her floral styled kitchen. She actually said that the light it provides is so useless, she often forgets to switch it off!
I took a trip to the local garden centre with my family over the festive period, and while there, noticed a couple of lamps for sale. The simplicity in design and rustic look of the one on the left particularly caught my eye. This certainly made me realise that good, effective design doesn’t have to be anything extravagent in its design and materials. Despite this, this particular lamp came at an arguably costly price of £360.
The Celtic Manor – A luxury 5* spa and golf resort hotel
During our stay here, I noticed particularly how many of the communal areas used lighting and particularly chanderlires as focal points of attention. Unfortunately, I was so engrossed, I completely forgot to return to some of the areas to photograph these. However, one pint of attraction was the fairy light style of lighting hanging from the height of 8+ floors above the christmas tree in the main foyer. This was extremely attention catching and created a feeling of high class sophistication due to the impressive sheer size of the product as you walked through the main entrance.
Again, although i didn’t manage to capture it (which I’m regretting now – note to self, always photograph everything at first sight instead of creating memos to come back to it) the bedroom featured numerous types of lighting. There was hidden spot lighting above the television and within the headboard of the bed. This was a brighter lighting, almost as a substitute for main ceiling lights however, these were nicely hidden, illuminating the pieces of furniture they were within. Then there were bedside reading lights – very practical as these were hidden within the main bedside lamp giving two options for bedside style lighting depending on what the light itself was needed for. There were a couple of other lamps similarly styled around the room – these gave a dimmer softer light. There was also a couple of floor lamps placed next to both mirrors – these gave a brighter light which was very practical for dressing/getting ready. Arguably, there were too many options for lighting within this one room but, the designers definitely had all bases covered in terms of different types of lighting when designing this room. My only comment/complaint would be was that the style of lights themselves didn’t appear to be anything special when considering the rating and class of the hotel – their aesthetics were pretty standard. Although there was plenty of option, there was ‘wow’ factor.
When staying at my dads house, I noted the lighting choices in their spare room. Both of these light were from Ikea but both quite nice and effective in my opinion. The lamp, a very simple design, the frosted glass giving a soothing, dim light. The only thing id say was that it was very dim so wouldn’t be very practical in terms of reading in bed for example – it just gave enough light to get into bed when turning the mains off. The ceiling lamp shade was an interesting one – it was a paper like material that came flat pack. However, because of the shape, size, foldings and cuts in it, it transformed into quite a focal point to the plainly styled room.
When eating out in this newly restyled and refurbished manor house, all members of our party commented on the lighting in the dining room. The chandeliers mixed the old and the new perfectly with its mix of materials and shapes, further complimented by small spot wall lights around the room.
This ceiling light in my boyfriends house has always interested me. At first I always thought it was quite childish but actually, its pretty cool! Although it looks complex, its actually quite a simple feature using only 2 different materials. the frosting in the glass dims some of the light so it isn’t too overwhelmingly bright looking straight at the bulb. The helicopter windows that are cut into the glass allow for some light to escape and therefore allowing for some reflections and pattern on the surrounding surfaces.
Looking at and noticing lighting at home
My mum recently bought me some new chandlier style ceiling lights from John Lewis for my bedroom. They consist of multiple rows of hanging glass pendants. Now that they’re up they look lovely and create some really nice reflections and patterns on the surrounding ceiling – almost like a sunflower shape. However, they were a nightmare to put together! I always assumed that light fittings like this came ready assembled but no, I had to attach each pendant myself which was pretty awkward, fiddly and moreover time consuming! Because of this, when it comes to designing my own lighting solution, I will definitely consider the assembly of the product, attempting to make it as straight forward and easy for the customer as possible. Despite this, when it finally came to hanging the lights it was somewhat satisfying seeing them switched on after spending so much time assembling them.
Next, I looked at the wall lights in one of the spare bedrooms. These were only from Homebase but have a really sophisticated yet simple aesthetic about them. The way that the metal material Ascot and folded is very smooth and organic looking allowing the light to beam out at both top and bottom. Again, these are showing me that my designs do not have to be overly extravagent by any means in order to be affective and have a hit quality look.
We have some very basic styled touch censored lamps in the same room so I gave these a go to evaluate the experience of using them. Firstly, having the choice of different light brightnesses was certainly a nice experience and was definitely useful. As they’re used as bedside lamps they’re convenient as leaning to touch them to change settings isn’t too inconvenient because they’re close. The dimmer light is great for evening reading and the brighter light more practical for other jobs. The only thing I’d say (which may be minor to some people) is the fact that it’s easy to accidentally tap the base more than once and therefor having to go back through all of the settings to get back to the one you’d like to use.
The lights in the kitchen are a useful alternative to spot lights as you can change the angle in which they are pointing if needs be. They also come in different size and shaped sets to suit different areas of the kitchen and provide a little more of a feature than standard spot lights. A fault with these though, that I’ve noticed over the years is that the casing becomes extremely hot quite quickly then eliminating the option to change the angle of the light. Despite their cream colour to match the traditional farmhouse style kitchen, these lights have quite a futuristic look to them in my opinion.
Here it becomes apparent that my mum likes chandelier style ceiling lights. Something I’ve never really noticed but, despite all looking similar, is quite how amazing how different the effect, reflection and pattern each provide are with only a slight change in style of each one. I will definitely work on learning how to create these sort of effects over the next few weeks experimenting with different designs and shapes.
When visiting my boyfriends family home over the Christmas period, I noticed a similar product to the one I described earlier on my nan’s kitchen windowsill. However, this one was a standing one and lit up in a blue colour instead. Here I started considering peoples perceptions and affordances of different products as my boyfriends mum actually used and considered this product as a Christmas decoration rather than a permanent accessory. This is a point I need to consider in my designs – whether my product is to be used in a specific place for a specific purpose or whether its use is open to perception and individual custom.
The traditional cast iron ceiling lights also came to my attention here. Although these lights aren’t to my taste/liking, I really liked some of the shapes within the cast iron. Also, despite these being quite traditionally styled, I think it would be possible to create something very stylish.
Despite being quite simple and nothing extraordinary, this reading light seemed to be quite a feature. I liked the fact that you could control both lights with 2 different dimmer switches giving many options for different amounts of light.