We spoke to Kevin Moore, owner of Joseph Read Lighting, about trends in kitchen lighting
What trends had he noticed over recent years?
“We’ve noticed over the last few years that, whereas the kitchen used to be planned separately to the other ‘reception’ rooms, it’s now planned as part of the reception rooms. It has become a living space or family room where people get together – a living part of the house. This has meant the kitchen size has increased considerably and become open-plan and this in turn has determined kitchen design – islands and peninsulas have become more commonplace and play a more prominent part in the kitchen”.
How has this impacted lighting?
More vaulted ceilings
“The overall layout is done first, issues like where the main furniture is located; like the kitchen cabinets, seating, media and eating area are sorted. Also nowadays an important aspect is the ceiling – more and more vaulted ceilings are being designed and this has given rise to a resurgence of pendants. Co-ordinating important surfaces to be lit – like worktops, appliances and eating areas has caused architects to involve lighting planners earlier than previously. Larger kitchen spaces are often on the end of a building, pushing out into the garden and this means large picture windows and/or bi-folding doors. These are often vaulted, new-build extensions and, as such, customers can do more with them lighting-wise”.
What options are there for vaulted ceilings other than pendants?
“Well, they don’t lend themselves to downlights (which I think is a good thing) but you can use LED tape, table or wall lights and uplighters work well with vaulted ceilings – giving creative opportunities for much more reflected light”.
So how do you approach lighting design?
Pendant and hidden LED strip
“With these alternatives a good designer can create a layered lighting effect using pendants, wall lights (also making a return), table lamps, hidden LED tape and up-lighters to give light at different heights in the room. This can work with exposed beams or other features and use reflected light to add interesting dimensions. LED technology has resulted in very small but strong lighting that lends itself to architectural hidden lighting. These can emphasise focus points in the room that you’re building, be they the vaulted area, niches, pictures or fireplaces.
In the kitchen area – as it’s a working area – it’s important that you get plenty of light for the creative purpose. Traditionally with flat ceilings people have ‘tram-lined’ their down lights with a grid of, say, three lines of four down lights. We have started to add interest by coinciding the positioning of downlights with a feature or an appliance or a feature on the ceiling or a wall feature like door or cooker hood. Reflecting light off a cupboard’s gloss finish or glass front is also popular as is working with layers like pendants, wall lights etc.
Ultimately the best lighting is where you can’t see the fitting, partly because you don’t need a style for that. When you’re choosing pendants, for example, the style has to fit in to everything else. Hiding lighting isn’t an easy thing to do as it often has to be unseen from so many different heights like sitting, standing and going up and down stairs. LED tape is great but it’s awful when you can see it. These layering principals are the same for every room, bathrooms, bedrooms etc”.
With all this flexibility when do you get involved?
“Remember we are trying to enhance the area with lighting so we will have flat plans and maybe a CAD drawing. While giving the client a good flavour of the end product, these plans change when you’re standing in the space with the client. So we must visit the building before any first-fix wiring. There’s a small window of opportunity between when the structure is there and before all the finishing goes on, plastering, ceilings and so on. This gives you a chance to get your cabling in”.
How do clients know what their options are?
Watch out for reflections
“We bring them to our showroom and can either show them a fitting on display or in a picture. Seeing them on display is best as customers’ imaginations are then inspired. Kick board lighting is a good example where hiding the LED tape is important. Working with Anglia Factors is great for that as they make their own furniture so this can be designed in. If you have a floor that has a high gloss finish you’ll see a lot of dots in the reflection. The same is true for some under-cabinet lighting – so this too has to be taken into consideration. There’s no better way than showing the customer with an example”.
How does the client control all these lights?
“Control is also key, especially where you have an open space that may serve three functions in one area (i.e. prep, dining, relaxing) you can do a lot in the space but this does mean you end up with a lot more lighting circuits. As a consequence you risk a lot of switches, or what we call ‘wall acne’. This is not only aesthetically ugly but it’s also confusing when you’re faced with a bank of switches and dimmers you may not know which switch controls which light. With numerous dimmers you’ll probably never replicate the desired settings reliably.
The solution is to use a lighting control system where you can set up desired scenes which you can quickly and reliably return to time after time. You can get all the permutations onto one standard switch pad. If people are hesitant about using control systems – maybe they are confused or find them over complex then manufacturers offer to engrave keypads to make it easier.
If you have a large area and many desired lighting scenes then we use Lutron to give you control. For smaller projects or where the lighting requirements are fewer then Rako does the job. These makes are reliable and robust and each serves different needs”.
There have never been better lighting products and the technology to control them. Customers are spoiled for choice but to get the best job done requires professional help and that’s where we come in; visit www.josephread.co.uk, call 01473 858408 or call in at Anglia Factors to see us”.