Being in control

Singapore 30th January 2012

Back in Singapore over the weekend and today for some meetings before I am on my way back to India tomorrow! Sometimes it all just happens at the same time…the dragon roaring already? 🙂

One of the issues that was part of today’s lighting design work was the specification to lighting controls. As al lighting designer I want to be able to control the lighting effects; how and where I want it, when I want it and how much of it I want of it. To achieve that we would have looped the various lights together in different circuits, and identified the circuits as being down lights, cove lights or other. The looping schedule indicates how many of each lights we wish to control together.

But controls can mean anything from a simple wall mounted on-off switch to a completed control desk with multiple memory settings for various lighting scenes, the latter one implicating the ability of the control system to dim the lights to certain levels of desired ambiance.

We are currently working on a residential private property in which the client has indicated his desire to have some sophistication in the lighting controls, yet to keep it simple. Controlling lights in a private residence should be fool proof as there are no technical engineers around to do fault finding when it does not work. So the first priority has to be the simple on-off wall switch or manual dimmer. It either works or not. No complicated electronic panels.

But as this project is what we consider an upmarket residence in which some form of gadgetry is requested we need to find the balance between sophistication and simplicity. In my mind that means that if the sophistication fails a simple override switch should be able to continue operations. Talking that sense into a supplier is not necessary an easy task as these guys are wired to sell and thus take any opportunity to upsell…

Light & Learn 3-3: One of the key things in lighting is to understand how light is being controlled and subsequently produces its effect in space. Controlling the light distribution is controlling the lighting effect. A light distribution is typically created by the lights optical system, which is the combined effect of lamp and reflector or lens. There are three basic effects:

1-      Diffuse lighting where light is generally distributed equally in all directions

2-      Symmetrical directional lighting where light is concentrated in one specific direction (from a narrow to a wide beam)

3-      Asymmetrical lighting where light is distributed asymmetrically towards one or more directions (like a wall wash)

The sketches show some basic examples for both down and up lighting, but many combinations exist.  The light distribution is normally shown by manufacturers by means of a polar curve showing how much light is emitted in various directions. Zero degree is generally straight down wards, 180 degree straight up wards. The curve shows the outline of the maximum lighting intensity in that particular direction and is expressed in candela (see L&L1).

30. January 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Education, Light & Learn, lighting design | Leave a comment

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