Whether you’re staring up at the sunset or down beneath the sea at animated coral reefs, Pantone’s Colour of the Year PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral evokes profound emotion and sense of unity with ourselves and our extraordinary surrounding world.
We wanted to explore what this suggests is in store for 2019 interior design trends. But, more importantly, what this exuberant colour means about the way we live our lives in this weird and wonderful day and age.
Describing the colour as providing warmth, nourishment and comfort, Pantone has us looking forward to a cosy, fulfilled year. Just like coral reefs provide a protective shelter for the colourful wealth of life below, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral reflects this years desire to make our own shelter as comfortable and inviting as possible. Whether you follow interior trends or not, these are still hugely valuable amenities that we should incorporate into our day to day to enrich our lives.
Warmth and comfort can exist in many forms. From adding a few home touches to your décor to connecting with nature and taking the time for special family moments. Comfort is what keeps us going and reminds us to slow down, relax and look after our minds and bodies.
Of course, creating comfort in home décor is not a recent discovery. Hygge inspired interior design has flooded our Instagram feeds for the past few years. But the vibrant yet soothing aesthetic that PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral offers is a refreshing injection into our usual grey Scandi interpretation of comfort. So, fill your home with comforting scents, soft coral furnishings, and ambient lighting to create a blissful escape from the all-encompassing daily grind and digital world of 2019.
Underneath this comfort blanket, it is fantastic to see that Pantone is highlighting the rapid environmental destruction of coral reefs to raise awareness of this bleak reality. With the soft pink-orange hue providing a not so subtle reference to our beautiful underwater world, we hope that 2019 will be the year that action is taken to protect our coral reefs, just as we saw the decline of plastic in 2018.
Whilst it is so easy to get wrapped up in the negativity and concerns regarding our current climate change issues, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral is an opportunity to “provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.” It is a symbol of peace and a reflection of the vibrant, harmonious world we hope for.
AUTHENTIC SOCIAL EXPERIENCES
In a world made up of bots, AI and overwhelming screen overload, Pantone have identified our impending need for authentic, human connection. With its joyful, spirited and carefree nature, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral provides the perfect canvas to reconnect with living mortals in an intimate, social setting.
So, what does this mean for 2019 interior design? Well, it seems that placing the importance on social experiences will lead to an increase of ways to create spaces in the home to gather and entertain. From how to utilise space to squeeze friends and family in, to how to style the ultimate bar cart. To designing your dream kitchen and connecting through food, the most gloriously authentic way to do it.
According to interior designers, statement furniture like armchairs, prints and feature walls will be adorned in PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral, rapidly taking over the millennial pink. It’s even one of six colour options for the new iPhone XR, demonstrating the colliding worlds of nature and digital technology.
DOING NOT SEEING
‘Living Coral welcomes and encourages light-hearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.’
2019 is the year of doing and living. It’s about balance, creativity and wellbeing. Finding beauty and fun in the simplest things. From making the perfect pink smoothie for a sweet health kick. Or, indulging in your perfectly imperfect homemade cupcakes. Whatever your thing is, go ahead and do it.
Thank you Pantone for another year of creative colour genius. We look forward to what’s in store for us all in 2019!
Follow our PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral Pinterest board for some design inspo and beautiful décor ideas on how you can incorporate this invigorating hue into your home.
Designing and planning your dream kitchen can be a daunting, exciting and rewarding task that brings a series of questions and challenges. Whether you’re unsure how to design a brand-new kitchen layout and how to fit a kitchen, or you’re itching to renovate your existing kitchen but don’t know where to start.
There is a lot more to it than selecting your favourite colour cabinets however joyful that part may be. The more thought you put into the early stages of planning the design of your kitchen will not only mean you fall in love with the look of it but also in the way it works practically for you and your home. So, we’ve put together this simple guide to help you every step of the way.
1. SET YOUR BUDGET
How much it costs to fit a kitchen depends on several factors. This can be anything from the size of your space, whether you are going to design and install the kitchen yourself or work with a professional, and the style of your décor. Having said that, it will make the whole process less stressful and more organised if you have a rough idea of a budget in mind.
If you are employing a professional, we would always recommend getting a few quotes before making your decision. Check customer reviews and ask friends and family for recommendations or go through a registered trade association, like the FMB (Federation of Master Builders) to make sure you find a skilled and reliable tradesman for the job.
Always check what is included in the package if you choose to work with a company to design the layout of your kitchen. The KBSA (Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association) recommend that you should not pay in full for your kitchen in advance or pay a deposit of more than 25%. They also advise that you ask for a written quotation detailing every little aspect of the project from fitting, flooring and any structural alterations you have discussed like knocking the connecting wall through.
2. MEASURE UP
It may be time consuming and not all that exciting at this stage but the more accurate you do your measuring will make everything else easier later in the process. So, grab your tape measure and take your time measuring floor dimensions, doors and windows. If you pick your favourite cabinets before you measure up, you may be disappointed to discover that there isn’t as much space as you initially thought! So, avoid this potential heartbreak by measuring first and scrolling through Pinterest second.
3. MAKE A KITCHEN FLOOR PLAN
The kitchen is the functional heart of the home, so getting the shape and layout right for your space is key. Draw up an old school pen and paper floor plan, ideally on graph paper, using your measurements. This is the time when you want to consider what shape you want your kitchen to be. Make sure to also mark where the water and gas pipes, doors and windows are located to help you plot out the next steps.
When you’re making your initial plan, just think about what you use your kitchen for and this will help you decide on the ideal shape. The layout of your kitchen should reflect your lifestyle. Do you want maximum workspace with a U or G shaped kitchen? Or, would you prefer a more open L shaped or galley kitchen for a more social space? If you spend a lot of time eating as well as cooking in the kitchen you might want to think about a kitchen island or breakfast bar.
4. CONSIDER HEATING
The last thing you want is to have laid the kitchen floor and then decide in the winter that you wish you had installed underfloor heating. So, think about all your heating options before you rush into any permanent installations.
Underfloor heating and contemporary vertical radiators are popular space-saving solutions for modern kitchen designs. If you have a small space that will heat up quickly with the oven on for ten minutes, you may find that a smaller radiator will do the job.
5. PLAN THE POSITION OF APPLIANCES
If you’re designing a busy kid-friendly kitchen think about the position of the oven and the walkway. Make sure there is enough space to avoid burns and spills when little ones are charging through for a post-school snack. Place the refrigerator in a position that is accessible to everyone without getting in the way of the cook.
Think about where you want to locate the sink. Do you want to incorporate the sink into the kitchen island? Or, do you want to install the sink close to the dishwasher and washing machine to keep plumbing work nice and easy? Make sure that if you do opt for a kitchen island with a sink or other appliance that the plumbing and electrical work are designed and installed before laying the floor.
The rule of thumb in kitchen design is to think of using the space as a triangle with the sink, oven and refrigerator at each point so that you can easily navigate around efficiently. Each length of the triangle should be no less than 4ft and no more than 9ft.
6. PLAN THE ELECTRICAL POINTS
The normal electrical outlet position is around halfway between the worktop and the cabinet. But if you are designing your kitchen from scratch you will have the opportunity to think a bit more strategically about where you want to hide or expose your switches.
For example, if you regularly use several appliances like a kettle, toaster and food processor, you might benefit from a pull-up kitchen outlet. These are great for concealing multiple outlets without having to use an extension lead. If you plan on having a TV in your kitchen or want to hide the microwave in the cupboard it is important to think about the best position for the plug points. Discuss these options with an electrician to find the best options for your needs.
7. CHOOSE YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS / SPLASHBACK
Now for the fun part! Picking your favourite kitchen cabinets will shape the overall look and feel of the space. If you have a small kitchen, light colour schemes will bounce light around the room and make it feel bigger. Darker shades will create a cosy modern look, but they tend to work better in larger rooms with contrasting light flooring.
In terms of size, kitchen cabinets are available in a range of standard sizes. But make sure you check the exact dimensions from the manufacturer. There are also a lot of other dimensions to consider instead of just height and depth. Think about the countertop thickness, toe kick depth, handle position and every other measurement provided in the manufacturer line drawing to make sure you pick the perfect cabinets for your space.
Once you have an idea what cabinets you like and what colour scheme to work with then you can get creative with the splashback. White subway tiles add a clean modern look, while bold patterns are a great way of adding a pop of colour to your kitchen design. Coordinate the worktops with your splashback for a cohesive finish.
8. LAYOUT THE LIGHTING
Lighting is often seen as an afterthought or finishing touch in kitchen design, but carefully thought out lighting will significantly enhance the form and function of the space. Well-positioned task lighting will make cooking quicker, easier and safer. Undercabinet lights and drawer lights will make the space more accessible and stress-free. Installing your lighting on a 2-way system is a great way to use layered lighting to suit the different functions of the kitchen.
9. DECIDE ON FLOORING
Wooden, vinyl, tile, oh my! There is an unsettling number of choices with kitchen flooring and it is not an easy decision to undo. So, make sure you get it right first time. Check that the flooring you choose is easy to clean, non-slip and complements your colour scheme then you’re good to go. Balance dark cabinets with light flooring and vice versa.
If you spend a lot of time cooking and entertaining in the kitchen, choose an ergonomic floor like carpet tile or vinyl that is comfortable to stand on for long periods of time. For low maintenance and durability, concrete, stone and tile flooring are the way to go.
10. ORGANISE STORAGE
The most successful kitchen designs use clever storage solutions to make running the kitchen as easy as possible. Organise cutlery draws into sections with dividers. This will help to find what you need and to put things away quickly.
Choose what goes in what cabinets based on what is close to them. It may sound a little obvious but storing plates in the cabinet closest to the dishwasher or sink will save you carrying stacks of delicate plates across the room. Keep spice racks and hook rails for utensils close to hand by the hob and knife block or magnetic holder adjacent to the food preparation area and food recycling bin.
So, there you have it! You are armed and dangerous with the tools you need to create the kitchen you have always dreamed of. We hope that you enjoy the journey you are about to embark on and embrace it head on! Just remember, it might seem like a stressful time during the renovation, but the relaxing evenings and family time your new space will provide will be one million times worth all your hard work.
Are you in the process of designing your kitchen? We would love to hear from you! Have you encountered any problems or things you would have liked to have done differently? Or, if you have any questions let us know if the comments below.
Counterfeit Electrical Supplies And How To Avoid Them
If you’ve ever bought a replacement electrical item from an online retailer, chances are you may have purchased a counterfeit electrical supply. In fact, one in three UK consumers has mistakenly purchased a counterfeit electrical item online. So, we’ve put together a simple guide to take you through how to avoid poor quality and possibly dangerous counterfeit products.
WHAT ARE COUNTERFEIT ELECTRICALS?
Counterfeit goods are often associated with clothing brands. Made from poor quality materials to lower the cost, counterfeit goods are sold under another name like a designer brand without their permission. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop at fashion. Counterfeit electrical products are still on the market today. And buying them can lead to much more dangerous implications than using a rip-off Calvin Klein bag.
But the problem is, counterfeit electricals are virtually impossible to spot. Particularly online, consumers are now dealing with stolen imagery and pricing that avoids any suspicion. Even fake official safety certifications are flying around which may be promoting products made from dangerous faulty components.
(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)
DANGERS OF COUNTERFEIT ELECTRICALS
Risk of electric shock, fire and even death are the main concerns surrounding counterfeit electricals. The issues of counterfeit power supplies came into public focus back in 2007 after the death of a 7-year old boy. Connor O’Keefe was killed by electrocution whilst unplugging his Game Boy from a hotel plug socket in Thailand. Tests discovered that the charger for the GameBoy had been counterfeit and had a number of serious defects with the wires.
Huge online retailers are still struggling to eliminate counterfeit goods from their platform despite years of effort and regulation. Fast forward to summer 2018 and a family was forced to evacuate their home after a fire was caused by a £1 phone charger. So counterfeit electricals are still a major issue and knowing how to try and avoid them is crucial.
Insulated sleeves on the line and neutral pins (but never the earth pin)
A fuse to the plug
Pins being the correct size
And it must be impossible to touch live parts whilst in use
HOW TO SPOT COUNTERFEIT PLUGS
Counterfeit plugs have a number of differences to the legal power plugs and sockets. If you notice any of the following things about a plug you are going to buy, or have bought, it is likely that it is a counterfeit good. Avoid plugs that have:
Partially sleeved earth pin – A common indicator of a counterfeit plug includes an earth pin which is partially sleeved. These types of plugs are always fake as earth pins MUST be solid brass. Or in the case of plugs intended solely for use with non-earthed devices, solid plastic.
Imitation fuse – Another way of determining a counterfeit plug is an imitation fuse. Real fuses have approval marks and sand filling whereas false ones may not and they could have loose end caps. A counterfeit fuse is at danger of exploding.
Odd pins – The pins will be different sizes and incorrectly sized. This will provide poor contact and may damage the plug socket.
Flexible cords – The cords are flexible and of a sub-standard nature. This may cause overheating and, in the worst case, a fire.
Missing fuse – Plugs without fuses or with a fuse that is not connected can commonly be counterfeit.
A counterfeit plug and fuse compared to a real BS 1363 plug.
WHAT TO AVOID
Do not use the plug if:
It is cracked.
There are signs of over-heating.
The cover is loose.
The flexible cable is not gripped on entry to the plug.
The inner insulation of the flexible cable, i.e. the brown and/or blue covering of the conductors, is visible outside the plug. Each flexible cable has an outer sheath which must completely cover the insulation as it enters the plug.
The live “L” and neutral “N” pins of the plug must have an insulated section so that, when partially inserted, live parts cannot be touched.”
Fuses can also be counterfeit. A counterfeit fuse, on the other hand, may look like the real item and will also carry the false approval marks from the BSI (British Standards Institution) or ASTA (The Association of Short-circuit Testing Authorities).
Counterfeit fuses may:
Carry no sand filler.
Have a bent fuse element.
Contain poorly secured metallic end-caps.
Be much whiter than standard ceramic body material.
Weigh less than a real fuse (Fuses with no sand will weigh between 1.7 – 1.9 grams as opposed. Anything under 2.2 should be considered unusual.).
PAT TEST RESULTS
We decided to put some of the counterfeit plugs to the test. We bought some from a number of online retailers and tested them using a PAT tester. A PAT tester is a machine which is regularly used in the UK to check portable electrical appliances for safety. We found that a number of these adapters failed for various reasons, yet the vendors are continuing to sell them. For more information, take a look at this article by Richard Ayre, director of DRA Solutions Limited, specialists in PAT testing.
Q: How can somebody at home recognise a counterfeit plug?
“In some cases, it is almost impossible to recognise counterfeit products from a visual inspection. In all cases, buy plugs – and by plugs we mean three-pin, 13 A, manufactured to BS 1363 – from reputable sellers.”
Q: What advice do you have for anyone who may have purchased a counterfeit plug?
“Firstly, take it back to the seller and ask for a refund. Beyond that, Trading Standards should be contacted.”
Q: Why is it important that people don’t continue to use counterfeit plugs?
“The plug may look identical to all others but, for example, it may not stand up to the usual wear and tear a genuine plug is designed to cope with or it may not handle the electrical loading an appliance may demand.”
Q: Why do companies sell counterfeit plugs?
“Counterfeit plugs, rather like any counterfeit product, is manufactured very cheaply and, subsequently, sold for profit.”
Q: Is there anything else we can do?
“Always check plugs, in addition to the flexible cable and the appliance, before plugging into the socket-outlet.
HOW TO AVOID COUNTERFEIT ELECTRICALS: CONCLUSION
It’s always worth remembering that if you’re buying into a bargain it’s probably for a reason. Shop around and don’t get the cheapest plug adapter just because it’s the cheapest. Often, the cheapest ones are the imitation plugs as they can be made from as little as three pence.
If a plug is higher in cost and it comes from a reputable company, then it may be because it adheres to British standards and so costs more to make.
Ensure you check reviews for the seller/company and spend time looking at their website. Is it a business? Then, check they have a customer service team, a phone number, an address and somebody you are able to contact for further advice.
Now, we want to hear from you! Have you ever bought a counterfeit product? What did you do? Drop us a comment below.
There can be quite a lot to take in when you’re buying new lighting. Whether you’re a first-time buyer who has never bought a bulb in your life, or a home decor pro, there will be terms you may not have come across before. But if you know what to look for, you will have a better understanding of what you want and how to find the best quality products.
So, to help you buy with confidence we have put together a simple lighting glossary. Here you will find some of the most-used words and phrases in lighting terminology that we think you’ll need to know when searching for your next spotlight, outdoor light or simple household bulb. Click the letters to jump to each section.
Directional lighting to emphasise a particular object, location or specific area. For example, recessed lighting and track lighting.
ALTERNATING CURRENT AC
The flow of electricity which travels in waves and pulses on and off in cycle many times per second. The number of cycles per second is referred to as frequency.
Since there are a number of different types of light bulbs, the base tells you which type of bulb you need for that particular light fitting. For example, if a pendant light has an E27 base, you will need an E27 light bulb to use with it.
Measures the angular cone of light from the centre of the beam to the angle where light intensity is 50% of the maximum. Since spotlights are often used for localised accent lighting, it is important to look at the beam angle when selecting spotlights such as GU10 or MR16.
Unit of luminous intensity from a light source in a specified direction.
Old terminology for luminous intensity.
LEDs are tested according to industry standards to ensure safety and quality and are given the appropriate certifications.
For example, all of our LEDs have been tested to the highest of industry standards and carry the European safety certifications CE, RoHS, LVD & EMC.
The ability of light sources to represent colours. The CRI quality is based on 8 test colours against a light source in relation to a standard reference (usually a natural source of light). CRI is the average value of the 8 colours. Visit our guide to CRI for more information.
Colour temperature is related to the radiation of a black body of steel through a heating process. So, the different status of heating level is how colour temperature is determined. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and is scaled from 2,000k – 10,000k.
An electrical device that regulates power to an LED or strings of LEDs. It works by responding to the changing needs of LEDs by providing a constant quantity of power as its electrical properties change with temperature. For more information about how to choose the right driver visit our guide.
In order to see how energy efficient an appliance is, it is given an energy rating from A to G. A being the most energy efficient, G the least efficient. However, some products like bulbs are measured A++ to E. With the colour coded labels on the packaging, you can quickly compare the energy efficiency of similar appliances.
Ratio of lumen output of luminaire to that of the bare lamp.
A linear light source that consists of a tube filled with gas. When an electrical current is applied, the resulting arc emits ultraviolet light that excites phosphorus inside the lamp wall. This causes them to radiate a visible light.
If you are going to install lights on your driveway, you will want to be sure that they won’t break under the weight of the car. The IK rating tells you just that. It is the measure of how much impact a product can resist. The score is given from 1-10, with 10 being the best at withstanding impact.
Our ground lights have an IK08 rating, designed to withstand 1000kg of walkover pressure.
INPUT POWER V AC
The power rating of any electrical equipment is the highest power input allowed to flow through particular equipment. In order to guarantee safety and performance, manufacturers set power rating limits as a guideline. VAC stands for Volts Alternating Current.
The limits are provided as a range and the range varies across the world. For example, in parts of Japan, the voltage can be 100V AC, and the US/North America where its 120V AC. However, in the UK and most of the rest of the world, it is 230-240V AC.
The luminous flux per unit solid angle in a particular direction. This may be expressed in either candela or lumens per steradian.
IP RATING – INGRESS PROTECTION
The IEC (International Electro technical Commission) uses IP to define environmental protection of an enclosure against dust and moisture. An IP rating is represented as a two digit number. The first digit defines the level of protection against solid objects, while the second digit is the level of protection against moisture. Therefore, the higher the digit, the greater the amount of protection. Find out more about IP rating in our guide.
A measurement of colour temperature ranging from 2,000 to 10,000K.
The actual source of light in a fixture. Fluorescent lamps can be called ‘tubes’ and some incandescent lamps ‘light bulbs’.
Since LEDs last much longer than other light sources, they are given a lifespan. The lifetime of an LED is defined as the time it takes until its light output reaches 70% of the initial output. In other words, the lifespan tells you the maximum number of hours the LED will work before the light decreases.
For example, if your LED has a lifespan of 50,000 hours and you use it for 10 hours a day then it should last around 13.7 years.
The measurement of the light output of a lamp. Lumen is now widely used instead of watts as an indicator of lumen brightness. Since the emergence of energy-efficient technology such as CFL and LED bulbs, wattage cannot accurately describe brightness. Because low wattage LEDs can produce a bright light output with a high lumen without consuming a lot of energy.
A complete lighting unit consisting of a lamp(s). It can be a part designed to distribute lighting in housing, or a necessary component such as ballast, socket etc.
The quantity of visible light that is emitted in unit time per unit solid angle.
The max wattage tells you the recommended light bulb wattage for the light fixture. For example, if you have a pendant light with a 60W max wattage then it is not safe to use a higher wattage as the wiring could overload or catch fire.
Parabolic Aluminised Reflector lamp. An incandescent or low voltage lamp used to redirect light from the filament in a manner resembling parabolic reflector.
The part of a light fixture that shrouds the lamps and directs the light emitted from the lamp.
Luminaires attached to a linear track system used in accent lighting/general applications. Track lighting can either be recessed or suspended. Visit our track light buyer’s guide for more information.
A tungsten filament lamp filled with halogen gas, in the shape of a lamp envelope made of quartz to withstand the high temperature. A certain proportion of halogens – iodine, chlorine, bromine and fluorine – slow down tungsten evaporation, commonly enclosed in a ‘quartz lamp’.
The potential difference between two points of an electrical current.
The unit for measuring electrical power, as wattage is the energy consumed by an electrical device when in operation.
Wattage is calculated with Volts x Amps = Wattage. The energy cost of an electrical device = Watts consumed x hours of use.
Despite being used as a good indicator of the brightness of a product for a long time, the introduction of LED has resulted in products now displaying wattage equivalent to lumens.
Since the first production of the LED light in 1962, the small light emitting diodes have been cropping up here, there and everywhere. LEDs are now more effective than ever. Teaming global energy-efficiency and advanced technology. Providing benefits across a variety of industries from art to healthcare.
With the September 2018 ban on halogen bulb production by the European Commission, it almost seems that these little LEDs are set to take over the world. But how are they used in other countries? In this article, we investigate how light emitting diodes are used in unique ways around the world.
The Melbourne Star – Australia
Standing at a huge 394 feet tall, the Melbourne Star is a giant Ferris wheel located in Melbourne Docklands. Its striking design features seven spokes reflecting the seven-pointed star of the Australian flag.
Designed by a team of experts involved in both the London Eye and Singapore Flyer, it was officially re-opened on December 23rd 2013. During the remodel it was billed as having “the world’s first LED lighting system” on an attraction of its kind. Offering over 15 million light combinations from the three and a half kilometres of LED lighting engineered into the structure.
In addition to this, the Melbourne Star offers a nightly LED light show, lighting up the city skyline from dusk until midnight.
Tracy Hore, Head of Sales and Marketing at the Melbourne Star said, “The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is the Southern Hemispheres only giant observation wheel and the first, more complex, solid steel wheel design to be built in the world to this size. One of the major reasons this design was undertaken, as distinct to the design used for the other giant observation wheels in the world, was to incorporate three and a half kilometres of LED lighting within the Melbourne Star’s design; providing another dramatic element to the experience with a spectacular nightly lighting show involving more than 15 million different light combinations.”
Nigel Killeen / Getty Images
The Empire State Building – United States of America
Thought to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the 102-storey skyscraper is an iconic New York skyscraper. In 1964, floodlights were added to the top of the building in order to illuminate the skies. Since then the lights have been chosen in accordance with seasonal events and festivities such as Independence Day and St. Patricks Day.
After the 80th birthday of singer Frank Sinatra, the lights were bathed in blue to represent his moniker ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’. Other occasions include red, white and blue lighting after the September 11 attacks which illuminated the skies for a number of months after the event.
But in 2012, the whole lighting system changed. A new computer-driven LED lighting system was installed which is capable of displaying 16 million different colours, all able to change instantaneously. The building also introduced its first synchronized light show in the same year, with music from Alicia Keys. Surprisingly only taking two people to control the console and synchronised boom box, despite its huge scale! With a full lighting calendar, the tower is now hugely popular and recognised for its LED light shows. Celebrating holidays and events all year round.
IMAGE: EMPIRE STATE REALTY TRUST
IMAGE: MARC BRICKMAN, EMPIRE STATE REALTY TRUST
The Super Bowl XLIX – United States of America
The Super Bowl XLIX was an American football game to determine the champion of the National Football League for the 2014 season. It was the most watched show in the history of U.S television, having been watched by millions, peaking at over 120 million viewers who watched the New England Patriots defeat the Seattle Seahawks.
The game was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 1st 2015. Sports light fitter, Ephesus Light, installed brand new LED fixtures into the stadium before the game. This was the first time a stadium had ever been lit entirely with LEDs. The lighting consumption was said to have reduced from a whopping 1.24 million watts to an astonishing 310,000 watts for energy savings up to 75%.
Ephesus claim that the new fixtures provide brighter light, better colour accuracy and a clearer picture for viewers at home since the installation of the LED lighting system.
Chinese New Year – China / Malaysia
Every year a number of cities and provinces across China and Malaysia celebrate in style for the Chinese New Year. From lighting up the landscape with artificial LED cherry blossom trees in Kuala Lumpar. To a lantern light festival in Wuzhen in China’s Zhejiang Province illuminating the night sky with LED lights and boats carrying a number of colourful lanterns.
And not all Chinese-themed light shows take place over New Year, or even in China. Illuminations are also widespread for an event taking place in Britain called The Festival of Light in Wiltshire. Its 2014 debut was Europe’s largest display of Chinese illuminations. Including 25 miles of LED lights, a giant dragon measuring 230 feet and a 65 feet tall Chinese temple. Now the festival has become an annual Christmas showstopper of enchanting light displays.
Festival of Light Longleat Photo Trevor Porter
A Symphony Of Lights – China
A Symphony of Lights is a daily light and sound show which takes place in Hong Kong every evening. According to the Guinness World Records, it is the world’s largest permanent light and sound show.
It involves music, decorative lights, laser light displays and pyrotechnic fireworks. Lasting around 13 minutes from 8pm every night. A number of lights are used throughout the show including lasers, searchlights, LEDs and projections.
Katie Lam of Hong Kong Tourism Commission said, “In promoting tourism development in Hong Kong, we also attach importance to and support environmental protection. The Symphony of Lights was implemented under the principles of environmental protection and energy conservation. “
LED Light Facials – United States of America / United Kingdom
First developed by NASA, the LED light in these facials is said to plump up ageing skin, boost collagen and even treat acne. Also called light therapy, the LED works by sending light deep into the skin.
These treatments are painless and work to minimize fine lines, wrinkles, treat sun damage, reduce the appearance of stretch marks and even reduce redness in the skin. There are a number of different colours that emit light during an LED facial. Amber is said to build collagen and elastin, red is said to reduce inflammation and blue is said to destroy the acne-causing bacteria.
The process by which light is emitted by these types of facials is said to be very similar to that of photosynthesis in plants. And with a solid seal of approval from the Kardashians, it must work…, right?
Joanna Vargas, Celebrity Facialist and Founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection said, “LED Light Therapy is my favorite anti-aging weapon and it literally works on everyone! The most obvious are the anti-aging benefits to women 30 and up. It keeps up collagen production so your skin will get thicker and plumper while erasing fine lines. Even a woman in her 20’s can benefit because LED shrinks the pores like nothing else I have ever seen. It keeps the skin healthier in general, so it becomes less reactive to pollution and the stresses of life.”
Cancer Treatment and Smart Bandages
LED therapy is a type of photodynamic therapy, which uses a special type of light to activate certain drugs. This treatment has been used with drugs that become active when exposed to light to try and kill cancer cells. LEDs are currently being used around the world in England, South Korea and Iran in the treatment of cancerous and precancerous cells.
There’s smartphones, smart cars and now smart bandages. A group of mechanical engineers at MIT developed a wearable micro-LED healing bandage back in 2015. These clever gel bandages can detect heat which may be a sign of infection. On top of the temperature sensors, LEDs light up if the sensors detect a concerning level of heat. And of course like all smart devices, it’s controlled remotely so the bandage can alert doctors instantly via an app.
Photo by Melanie Gonick | MIT
Contact Lens – South Korea, Finland and the United States of America
Scientists from South Korea and researchers from both the US and Finland have developed a contact lens featuring a working LED light on a living eye.
Dubbed the ‘bionic contact lens’, the lens includes an antenna that receives power from radio waves. And an integrated circuit to store energy and a transparent sapphire chip containing a blue LED. The contact lens has been developed to provide a virtual display that could have a range of uses from video gaming to helping those who are visually impaired when it becomes available.
The lens has a number of requirements before it was deemed safe including wireless capabilities and bio-compatibility. LEDs were harnessed as the core technology behind the bionic eye. This was due to their ability to form images in front of the eye in the form of words, charts and photographs. Previous prototypes have suggested that it is possible to create an electronic lens that is biologically safe and does not obstruct a person’s view.
Photo by Melanie Gonick | MIT
LED Eyelashes – South Korea/United Kingdom
Designed by a South Korean artist, Soomi Park began her project to explore the ‘fetish of big eyes’ and aimed to look at why women all over the world want larger eyes. She launched the LED eyelash project whereby the LEDs sit just underneath the eyes and are powered on or off as the head tilts.
The product features a sensor that detects the movements of the pupil in the eyes and eyelids. Soomi said, “I believe that the LED eyelash project gathered interest because it speaks to people’s underlying drive toward aesthetics.”
She also added, “LED Eyelash has shown that wearable technology can address both interior and exterior sides of human expressions. It also shows that wearable technology can stem from exploring human needs by developing insights from everyday lives.”
Similarly, a fashion show with an emphasis on technology also created some LED-inspired make-up with feather LED lashes, LED moustaches, LED hair pieces and even LED headwear after being inspired by Soomi Park’s lash project.
Photography: Minsoo Kang
Growing Plants – Holland
The Dutch are industry leaders when it comes to greenhouse horticulture. With a greenhouse economy that has long been known as highly innovative and constantly on the search for new and applicable knowledge. Some Dutch researchers have recently found that strawberries grown using LED lighting are tastier, yield higher and have more vitamin C.
The Netherlands has been involved with LED lighting for plants since the early 1990s. Since then the Dutch have even harnessed electricity from living plants which has then been used to power mobile phone chargers, Wi-Fi hotspots and over 300 LED streetlights.
One company has managed to devise a method for growing plants indoors. This is done using a combination of red and blue LED lights, as opposed to sunlight. They have found that with the perfect amount of nutrients and 10% the amount of water normally required, plants such as beans, corn, tomatoes and strawberries have been successfully produced.
LED horticulture can achieve savings of up to 50% and has many more benefits than using traditional lighting. Such as the ability to change the colours of the lights, the position of the light source and the intensity of the light.
Papillon Holland b.v.
Horse Tail Lights – United States of America
This ingenious invention was created specifically with horse safety in mind. To avoid motorists and aid visibility in darkness or bad weather, these strips of LEDs attach to the horses’ tails through Velcro straps at the base. They have since been developed to include browband lights and LED breastplates to further illuminate the horse whilst out riding.
The tail lights consist of six strips of colour-changing LEDs attached to a unit which contains a battery pack that has enough power for 15 hours of continual use. The LEDs also come with three brightness settings ranging from low for group rides to high which involves a yellow strobe effect for emergencies.
Street Lighting – Canada, United Kingdom, Croatia, Lithuania, Serbia, India, United States of America and Spain
LED street lighting was initially rolled out in 2006 across Europe and South America. With North America following in 2010 and Asia in 2012. Currently, a contract has been signed in Madrid to upgrade street lighting with what is being referred to as the “the world’s largest street lighting upgrade to date”.
In Lithuania, street lights that are 14 or more years older have been replaced with LED technology. Therefore making it safer for pedestrians and drivers as well as saving energy costs.
In the UK, there are over 7 million street lights, most of which are 40 years old. There has been an increased focus in some cities to replace street lights with more efficient LED lighting fixtures. The UK is said to spend 300 million pounds a year on lighting public areas. Around 80% of this expenditure could be saved by using cost-effective solutions such as LEDs.
Another benefit of LEDs streetlighting is that the light will decrease in output as opposed to failing as many traditional non-LED lights do. Once an LED street light’s brightness decreases by 30% it is considered to be at the end of its life.
Traveling Sun – Norway
Two Scandinavian designers were inspired by the sun or rather its absence. So they created the Traveling Sun, a mobile LED light sculpture meant to stand in for the sun and its beams.
Ten foot in diameter it can be hung from a building or strapped to a vehicle. Displaying a variety of colours from bright yellows to deep fuchsia tones. Designed to reflect the varying colours of the sun.
Since 2012, the designers have travelled across Europe. Bringing sunshine to cities that get little sunlight throughout the winter months.
Since most rooms in our home serve multiple functions, a variety of layered and dimmable lighting is key. Most of us use the kitchen as a place to dine and relax, not just to prepare food. So, a bright overhead task light would be too overpowering and not the right kind of ambience in some cases.
The same can be said for spaces like the bedroom and bathroom where we require a clean bright light that mimics natural light for getting ready. But it is far more relaxing to soak in the bath with a soft dimmed light.
Dimming LED lighting is slightly different to dimming traditional incandescent lamps. So, we’re going to take you through step by step how to achieve dimmable LED lighting at home.
3 THINGS YOU WILL NEED FOR DIMMABLE LED LIGHTING:
To dim LED bulbs you need the following things:
Dimmable LED bulb
Dimmer switch suitable for LEDs
Alternatively, to dim 12V LED lighting you need the following three things:
Dimmable LED bulb
Dimmer switch suitable for LEDs
Compatible External LED Driver
1. CHOOSING THE RIGHT LED BULB
First of all, it is important to check the product specification and make sure you purchase a dimmable bulb. Because non-dimmable LEDs are not designed for dimming purposes. However, you can use a dimmable LED lamp in a non-dimmable circuit. Just not the other way around as it may cause damage to the lamp and or circuit.
We also recommend buying the same type of bulb, ideally by the same brand, particularly if they will be working on the same circuit. For example, all of your ceiling downlights in the kitchen. Because this will ensure that they all have the same driver and behave the same way.
You should also look for dimmable bulbs that carry high-quality certifications. If you go for a cheaper, low-quality bulb, it is not guaranteed that they will contain dimming components. Like all of our lighting, our Biard dimmable LED bulbs have been tested to the highest quality according to industry standards, proven by the European safety certifications, CE, RoHS, LVD & EMC.
ARE INTEGRATED LED LIGHTS DIMMABLE?
Integrated LEDs work exactly the same as LED bulbs. They are available as dimmable and non-dimmable options. So just like with bulbs, if you want a dimmable integrated LED make sure to check the product specification.
2. HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT LED DIMMER SWITCH
It is a common misconception that LED bulbs aren’t dimmable. But that isn’t the case. Dimmable LED bulbs are dimmable as long as you team them with a compatible LED dimmer switch.
If you have an existing dimmer that is currently dimming incandescent or halogen lamps then it is unlikely that it will be suitable for dimming LED lamps. This is because most traditional dimmer switches are designed to be used with high-power circuits to drive filament lamps which were dimmable by just a voltage change.
So, make sure to find a compatible LED dimmer switch to replace your old fixture. Some dimmer switches are suitable for both low voltage 12v LED lighting dimming and 240V mains LED dimming.
CHECKING EXISTING DIMMERS FOR LED COMPATIBILITY
If you currently have dimmer switches, your electrician will need to check with the manufacturer to see if the switch supports LED for dimming lighting. Your electrician will ensure that the correct dimmer, driver and number/type of lamps used are correct for your LED installation. We wouldn’t recommend trying to do this yourself.
We also recommend that this is done each time an existing dimmer needs to be checked. This is because manufacturers change and update their products and components from time to time. There are instances where LED lamps have been used with existing dimmers and it has been found at a later date that the LED lamp components have changed and the dimmer and LED lamp are no longer compatible.
The use of either a leading edge or trailing edge LED dimmer will be needed for an LED installation. However, which one used will depend on the manufacturer’s recommendations. As a general rule, leading edge has been found to be more compatible with LED lighting. Check on the dimmer – it should state LED if compatible. If it has markings such as 60 – 400 watts then this is unlikely to be compatible.
WHAT IF AN INCORRECT DIMMER IS USED?
Getting the combination wrong is not necessarily dangerous, but it won’t work as it should and you could be very let down with the outcome. This can be anything from the installation failing altogether to no dimming or irregular dimming. There will also be cost implications too. Incorrectly installed, LED lamps can be damaged leading to replacement bulbs becoming necessary.
Here are a few problems that could happen if you use a poor combination of driver, bulb and dimmer:
Flicker – Particularly if non-dimmable bulbs are used
Flashing or uneven transition from dim to bright
Damaged/Failed LED driver or dimmer
Insufficient dimming – Unable to dim the lights at all
Stuttering dimming – Most LED models/brands use different drivers which work slightly differently resulting in dimming issues
Load below minimum – The power load of the LED is below the minimum required by the dimmer
3. GETTING THE RIGHT LED DRIVER
Finally, if you are using mains dimmable LED bulbs to fit your existing light fitting such as a pendant or multi-light fitting, you won’t have to worry about a driver. Since LED bulbs already contain an internal driver that takes high-voltage AC input current and converts it to low-voltage DC current to drive the LEDs. However, you must ensure you use a compatible dimmer as mentioned above.
Just like LED bulbs and integrated LEDs, drivers have both dimmable and non-dimmable varieties. So if you require an external driver, it is important to use a compatible dimmable driver.
But, there is an exception. For example, our single colour LED strip lights are compatible with a dimmer remote control. And, our RGB LED strip lights are compatible with RGB remotes like this Biard dimmable controller. These dimmable controllers are installed after the driver in the circuit. Therefore, the driver does not have to be dimmable as the controller operates the dimmable function.
BEST PLACES TO USE DIMMABLE LIGHTING AT HOME
One of the main places we recommend using dimmable lighting is in the kitchen. The kitchen really is the heart of the home that we all spend a lot of time in every day. So it is important to make it a space you enjoy spending time in with the right amount of light.
The home of binge TV watching, lounging and socialising, the living room definitely requires dimmable lighting. Dimmable wall lights are perfect for providing low-level illumination without an uncomfortable glare. By having the choice for a brighter light output, you can also create a quiet reading corner with a bright localised task light to reduce eye strain.
It is a well known fact that bright lighting in the bedroom leads to a poor night’s sleep. So much so that it is often advised to avoid looking at bright screens like your mobile or laptop beginning two to three hours before bed. That sounds like a really long time! But the potentially damaging effects it can have on our sleep, well-being and overall health are huge. So, switch your phone onto night mode and opt for dimmable bedside lights, wall lights and pendant lights to avoid harsh bright light keeping you up at night.
If you’re a fan of hour-long soaks in the bath, lighting candles and making your own personal spa, dimmable bathroom lighting is a must. Our Milano bathroom wall lights like the Milano Dochart and Milano Fischa are perfect for pairing with dimmable LED bulbs and a dimmer switch. Balance out your soft low-level lighting with bright task lighting like over mirror lights.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
All fittings are potentially dimmable if you use a dimmable bulb, dimmable switch and compatible driver.
If you are looking for low voltage LED to dim, you will need to ensure the compatibility of:
To dim 240V mains LED bulbs, you would need to ensure the compatibility of:
When you’re looking at lamps, bulbs or any form of lights, you’ll often notice how many products have a Colour Rendering Index number, known as CRI. It is actually one of the most important specs of any light source, but not one that we take enough notice of when comparing our lighting. So, what is CRI and how does its rating affect our decision to make a purchase?
WHAT IS CRI?
All light sources display a specific light spectrum which determines how we perceive colour.
CRI (Colour Rendering Index) is the standard measurement of a light sources ability to reveal the colours of objects in comparison to a reference ideal light source or natural light. In other words, to accurately render all frequencies of its colour spectrum compared to daylight.
The scale goes from 0-100, with CRI 100 having the best colour rendering ability. Think about how bright and beautiful colours look in natural sunlight. CRI 100 is the same colour rendering as natural daylight which is often given to incandescent/halogen bulbs.
So, the higher the number, the more natural and defined the colour of the surroundings will appear to the eye. Lighting with a colour rendering of 80 and above is considered a good colour rendering index.
On average, the CRI of most LED products is between 70-90 which is close to the sun’s value. Designed to reflect colours truly and naturally. We currently only stock products that are CRI 80 rated which is stated in the product specification.
WHY IS CRI IMPORTANT?
For industries where visual appearance is key, it is crucial to have a true representation of colour. Commercial spaces like supermarkets and clothing stores rely on lighting with a high CRI. Because this helps to showcase their products attractively. Museums and galleries must display their exhibitions in the highest quality lighting with an accurate colour display. LED track lighting is popular in these environments to create a modern versatile feature with high-quality colour rendering.
High CRI lighting is also important in a vast range of industries with colour-critical applications like neonatal care, engineering, photography and cinematography. However, camera lenses are different to human perception of colour, so a special index called the Television Lighting Consistency Index (TLCI) has been set up specifically for this.
Bulbs with a high colour rendering rating can appear brighter. Therefore, low wattage high CRI LED bulbs are ideal for saving energy and running costs without compromising light quality.
CRI AT HOME
But, don’t forget about our home decor. High CRI lighting will make colours pop at home and create a vibrant, happy living space. Always look for high CRI 80 and above lighting to highlight your favourite artwork, statement furniture and feature walls.
Ever put makeup on in the bathroom and later experienced a fright when you catch a glimpse of yourself looking slightly different in natural light? The chances are the colour rendering of your bathroom lighting was not up to scratch. So, to make sure you look exactly the same indoors and out our LED bathroom lighting is CRI 80 rated. A high CRI combined with a high colour temperature is perfect for applying makeup.
Undoubtedly, the most popular app in the world for sharing photos is Instagram. But one of the biggest reasons behind their success is filters.
There are over 20 to choose from and they can add a different feel to your picture. Each filter will apply a different CRI, which can make it look like a warm summers day or a moody cold winters morning.
But there is a science behind the popularity of amending of photos to increase the aesthetic appeal. According to ‘Yahoo Labs’, ‘filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on’.
There’s no doubting the importance of an excellent colour rendering index. So make sure to check the product spec to compare the quality of the light output and colour rendering ability.
This week’s post is all about helping you to understand what you are buying when it comes to LED. Recently we’ve found that as LED lighting is getting more efficient and as the technology improves, it is becoming more important to understand what the product specification means. If you know what to look for you will be able to make informed and confident purchase decisions to find the right lighting for your space.
What is the Difference Between Lumens and Watts?
First, we need to point out the main keywords that you will need to look at on the product specification. You will find all of this information online in the product specification below the description and printed on the packaging.
Wattage = energy used by the light
Lumens = amount of light produced by light (brightness)
Efficiency = amount of energy used that is converted to light
If you’ve bought incandescent bulbs before, you are probably used to checking the wattage to get an idea of how bright the bulb will be. This was the way we shopped for light bulbs for years. Because for incandescent lamps, the higher the wattage the brighter it is because it uses more power.
But wattage only actually tells you how much energy a bulb uses to convert into light. This is extremely important, particularly when looking for LEDs since these energy-efficient bulbs are designed to use less power and provide the same bright light. So, wattage is no longer a useful or accurate measure of brightness.
The infographic gives you a rough guide to how many lumens you should expect from LED lights from 4W to 18W.
How Has LED Technology Improved?
So how do LEDs provide the same brightness at a lower wattage? In the last decade, LED lighting has improved not only in cost but also in efficiency. In the early days of LEDs making a breakthrough into the home the lumen per watt was quite low, around 60-70 lumen per watt. Although this was a lot better than incandescent bulbs which produced around 15 lumens per watt, it was still not as advanced as we see today.
Over the years as LED technology improves, the lumen per watt has increased and 80/90/100 lumen per watt is now commonplace and affordable. This means same wattage (energy use) more lumens (brightness) or less wattage (energy use) same lumens (brightness) and vice versa. So, we’re using less electricity to produce more light, all at a lower running cost. Take a look at the examples below. The table shows how a 4W LED light at 100 lumens per watt will produce around 400 lumens, same as an 80 lumen per watt light at 5W.
Some manufacturers are now claiming to have broken the 300 lumens per watt, which would mean just a 2W LED bulb would replace a 50W incandescent. Therefore, helping people save on energy costs each year.
10 x 50W lights used 4 hours a day would cost around £95 per year
10 x 2W lights used 4 hours a day would cost around £4 per year, a 95% energy saving
LED Panel Light Lumens v Wattage
LED Panel Lights are a great example of this advancement in technology. In our range, we currently stock Biard LED 40W panel lights. These are soon going to be replaced by 36W panel lights to ensure that we are providing high-quality efficient products that use less electricity to produce more or the same amount of light. So, if you’re looking to replace 40W LED panel lights, the 36W panels will be the ideal alternative. The 36W will produce the same level of brightness and help save you money on electricity costs since it will use less energy.
40 x 80 lumen per watt – 3,200 lumen
36 x 95 lumen per watt – 3,400 lumen
What To Look For
Think lumens not watts when buying LED lights.
You buy lighting to illuminate an area. Since the lumen scale measures the amount of light produced and how bright it will look to the eye, it is the lumen that will tell you if a light will be bright enough to light the area – not the wattage. Once you have an idea of how bright a bulb you want, you will start to recognise the lumens and be able to picture how bright the light will be for your future bulb purchases.
If the lumens are the same but one bulb has a lower wattage, always choose the lower wattage. Because that light will provide the same brightness and be more efficient and cost-effective to run.
How to Achieve Scandinavian Interiors with Texture and Lighting
There’s not much to not like about Scandinavian interior design. Cosy furnishings, beautiful raw textures and an abundance of natural light. You can’t deny the beauty of simplicity and clarity that comes with this modern minimalist look. It’s cool, calm and collected. Instantly making your head feel clear and content. Everything has a place and just feels under control. Today we’re taking a look at how a combination of natural light and contemporary fittings can help to achieve the wonderful hygge way of life.
Keep it Natural and Neutral
There is nothing over the top or in your face about Scandinavian design. Reflecting the appreciation of simple pleasures in life like feeling cosy with a hot cuppa on a winter day. The neutral colour palettes are easy on the eye and create soft fluid living spaces. Stick to soft grey, warm beige and hazelnut tones for furniture and lighting. If you’re lucky enough to have natural wooden flooring and exposed brick walls…keep it that way! Natural, raw materials like wood, brick and iron are so important in Scandinavian interiors. Bringing the outdoors in to promote wellbeing and show respect for nature and its raw beauty.
Our favourite piece to recreate this look is the Orlu pendant light in stone grey. It has a modern simplicity to its design and features a soft wooden accent that embodies the Scandinavian feel. It can stand alone as a focal point in the centre of the room, providing comforting ambient lighting. Or be positioned to the side as a contemporary reading light. Perfect for getting lost in your favourite book.
One of the easiest ways to remove clutter from surfaces is to swap lamps for wall lights. Remove unnecessary stuff and keep side tables just for things you love like a simple book or family photo. We recommend the contemporary chrome Biard Le Mans adjustable wall light. Its waterproof rating makes it ideal for outdoor use. But its simple modern design and adjustable head makes it perfect as a bedside light and keeps the table clutter free.
Aid Natural Light with Pendant Lighting
Natural light is of course known for improving our wellbeing, helping us to wake up easier and feel better. And Scandinavian interiors make the most out of every drop of natural light they get using sheer curtains and transparent doors to let the light in. But natural light is often a luxury, especially in smaller apartments or rooms lacking in window space. The best way to fill a room the way natural light does is to install a central pendant light. Pendants are designed to create pools of ambient light and flood the space with balanced lighting. We love how the Pegau pendant uses its sloping design to project light evenly across the space. And its soft grey finish with warm brass interior is enough to make anyone smile.
Contrast White with Bold Patterns
Maybe it’s the icy snowy mountains that inspired Scandinavian’s love for bright white interiors. Or maybe it’s way white paint and furniture makes the room feel clean and elegant. Either way, the contrast from the white walls and patterned rugs and wall hangings is mesmerizingly beautiful. White walls and ceilings are also a great way to make a room feel bigger, brighter and more open. So, create a blank canvas with white walls. Warm your feet up on an oversized geometric rug or heavy pattern you love. And throw some bold cushions and blankets onto the couch to strike a balance of white minimalism and cosy warmth.
Now we’ve got you feeling all warm and fuzzy, go and take a moment for yourself. Put on your favourite oversized jumper, get wrapped up in a blanket and soak up the feeling of hygge. Scroll through our other posts for more interior and lighting ideas with your feet up. Or browse our full pendant lighting range to start creating your own Scandi inspired interiors.