Light is the source of life: it is power, warmth and inspiration to countless artists and musicians.
Human beings need light to grow and flourish; its lack makes us weak, lethargic and low. It is such an important part of our lives yet our homes don’t always reflect or help us manage this basic requirement.
The way we light our spaces has the power to bring us up and down. At bleak times of year, it can be incredibly disheartening to return to a dark, unwelcoming house – or to endure lockdown during the uncompromising winter months in the northern hemisphere. Oh, but how comforting it is when we have got the lighting to just the right level of warmth and ‘hygge’-ness to relax and enjoy our evening.
Let’s celebrate light in these dark times. Hindus are getting ready for Diwali or Deepavali in Sanskrit – the festival of lights to be celebrated this year on 14 November. The five-day festival – which usually takes place between October and November but changes date each year – symbolises the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
Communities in India are lit up with shimmering lights and bright colours using string lights, candles, oil lamps, crafts and, of course, Rangoli; colourful floor designs made of flower petals, rice or sand.
The home truly sparkles too, with living spaces decorated with lights and small oil lamps (known as diya). In non-Covid-19 times, people usually visit their relatives and have feasts – now celebrating at home within social bubbles will define Diwali 2020.
Good lighting is about creating environments that aren’t just functional, but beautiful and socially useful. Lighting sets the mood in our homes, from when we wake up in the morning, to cooking and dining, entertaining guests (when not locked down, of course) and relaxing and winding down in the evening.
Connected lighting goes even further, allowing you to create different levels of lighting at different times of day, which can positively impact on how you feel, your home’s aesthetics, energy efficiency and security.
Smart lights are under your control and can be tailored to exactly fit your personal daily rituals. Instead of simply turning one single lighting circuit on and off, a lighting control system can be programmed to control groups of lights in a single press. A simple voice command can ramp the lights while you cook. Then you can conjure up the “dinner” scene with a tap on the kitchen keypad, which turns the downlights to 10% brightness, the table pendant to 40% and the under-the-counter lights to 70%, creating the perfect soft ambience to enjoy your meal. Or – and this is the beauty of a smart home – that switch could do the lights AND start a Spotify playlist through the kitchen ceiling speakers for true integration, simplicity and elegance.
This elegance is continued with super-stylish light switches. If the hyper-modern keypads offered by lighting control system providers Lutron (Homeworks QS and RA2) and Crestron (wired and wireless) don’t chime with your 1920s-style aesthetic, or if you favour a more
maximalist approach to your interiors, both offer an interface that allows the use of pretty fittings, such as dolly switches and push buttons.
Our go-to brands for the finest electrical accessories are Forbes & Lomax, purveyors of the Invisible Light Switch – a simple, transparent acrylic plate allowing the wallpaper or paint to show through, with a stylish metal toggle switch in the centre, combining attractive design with all the advantages of modern technology. Forbes & Lomax also make switches, sockets and dimmers in a variety of finishes to suit traditional and contemporary interiors. For more high-end electrical savoir-faire, head to Meljac, a French company that specialises in handmade brass accessories. For hardware inspired by London’s fashion, music and subculture scenes, look at ‘punk’ lighting specialist and home fashion label Buster & Punch for statement switches, dimmers and bulbs.
Smart lighting doesn’t just mean beautiful switches and dimmable bulbs. It is also really energy efficient. You can personalise your lights to turn on and off at certain times of the day, adjust them with the seasons or make them switch off automatically when not in use. They can also be used seamlessly alongside automated blinds and curtains and thermostat to save energy and keep your home warmer or cooler.
And the powers of connected lighting keep going whether you’re at home or not. You can keep your house safe and secure by planning your lights to turn on and off at different times when you’re away to simulate occupancy and deter intruders, without any interaction at all. Lutron and Crestron’s security and away mode is automated through the lighting control system – simply select ‘away mode‘ when you go on holiday and the system automatically
replicates a randomised version of your routine at 40% power to save energy but simulate occupation.
Whatever your needs, we can plan a bespoke programme that will work with your daily rhythms and your unique style to create a dream home that is smarter by design. Whether you are a homeowner and would like to discover more about how our smart homes can work for you or if you’re an architect or interior designer and a client has asked about automated home technology or lighting solutions, download our brochure here to find out more.