It was thrilling to return to Lightovation and experience, in person, all that the Dallas Market had to offer in the way of lighting. Last month, I concentrated on shape and form. This month I want to talk about light and texture.
LED lighting has come such a long way from its shaky beginnings when it was being introduced the world as a new energy-efficient source of illumination. Around 10 years ago light-emitting diodes came onto the market as a less than stellar product. They were not very bright; they had a strange greenish-gray color, and they were not easily dimmed. Part of this was because nobody in thew industry was on the same page. There were the manufacturers who were making the diode components themselves, then there were the manufacturers making the light fixtures and the bulbs. On top of that, the dimmers and dimming systems were being made by other manufacturers. None of these people were talking to each other and everyone was pointing the finger when there was a problem.
Lighting designers, contractors and electricians were forced into the position of being beta testers. We had to see what worked by trial and error. Nobody was happy. Things are so much better now, once all the manufactures realized it was in their best interest to collaborate. Still, many people have a bad taste in their mouth from their first experiences of trying to use LEDs. My job it to spread the good word of LEDs to all that will listen.
You’ve heard me talk about the importance of a high CRI (color rendering index). A CRI of 100 is the gold standard. It is the color of incandescent light. In the beginning, the CRI of the LEDs on the market was between 70 and 80. Now we are seeing 90 CRI becoming readily available, and newer products being introduced with CRI‘s ranging from 92 to 97. I don’t doubt that a 100 CRI LED is on the horizon.
Additionally at the beginning, for some reason it was decided that 3000° Kelvin was going to be the standard offering. This was too cool in color for most people. It is the color of halogen light at full blast. Now, you can get LED bulbs and fixtures in a variety of color temperatures. The most predominant is 2700° Kelvin, which is the color of incandescent light at full brightness. My particular favorite is 2400° Kelvin which is the color of dimmed incandescent. I am also partial to 2200° Kelvin which is close to the color of candlelight. For some products, like crystal chandeliers that 3000° kelvin is just the ticket. Many manufacturers are offering their fixtures with 3000° kelvin and 2700° Kelvin options.
We are also seeing many products being offered in warm/dim versions, in which the light gets warmer in color temperature as it is dimmed. This is what we were used to with incandescent light. Now we have it with an energy efficient and low maintenance light source. For some products, like crystal chandeliers that 3000° kelvin is just the ticket. Once warm/dim becomes a standard design feature, then choosing a color temperature will no longer be an issue.
I was intrigued by some of the recycled materials that were being used. There was a particular fixture line (shown above) at the Varaluz show room which included wood which had been salvaged from discarded pallets. The finish pieces were elegant and casual at the same time.
I wanted to focus closely with my camera on the individual pieces of this light fixture (shown above). Highlighting the multitude of shapes and subtle colors which really added to the allure. LED illumination travels down through these pieces to create a shimmering effect. It feels very natural, almost like the branches of a weeping willow tree or the flowers of a wisteria.
Because LED lighting is inherently unidirectional (projecting light in just one direction) it does a great job of traveling through glass, resin and plexiglass. It makes these materials appear to glow from within, adding another layer of intrigue to a fixture.
Here, the illumination is directed through fractured resin (shown above). It feels like ice that has been compressed to the breaking point. The light is bounced all around which adds a kinetic energy to the piece.
I have to say, this light fixtures (shown above) is one of my favorites. The golden light is very alluring. It feels like a piece of art glass. It is beautiful and luminous. There is such great visual depth even though it’s only 3/4 of an inch thick.
This joyous chandelier is comprised of two interlocking rings which are encrusted with pearl-like crystals. It is called the Scoppia by Eurofase Lighting. This is one of those fixtures where the 3000° Kelvin color temperature is the right choice. This fixture looks like pure magic in a darkened space.