Greener light sources


Many of the new lamps in the market can be used in your old lighting fixtures. Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFL’s, are available in a full range of light levels, and are more efficient as they offer comparable light levels to the traditional incandescent light bulb, at half to one-third of the power consumption. Typically, a fluorescent lamp will measure 90 lumens per watt, versus a standard-voltage halogen, that measures around 35 lpw.

Watts as the standard unit for describing the “strenght” of bulbs is gradually being phased out and being replaced by lumens. The American Lighting Association suggests looking for bulbs with lumens equal to traditional incandescent wattages:lamp_efficacy

Lamp efficacy is measured as the ratio of the lumens emitted by a light source to the electrical power supplied, lumens/W. For example, a 20-watt CFL can replace your traditional household 40 watts (75 A-lamp)  with an average rated lamp life 750 -2,000 hours; much shorter as compared to the 10,000 hrs provided by a 11 W compact fluorescent that may offer 900 lumens.

A frequently asked question on CFL lightbulbs is about their mercury content. CFL’s contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing, an average of 5 milligrams. Mercury is an essential component that allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. When they burn out, compact fluorescent lightbulbs should be disposed at any available local recycling depot.


Create ambient light for your space

Modern open interiors are designed around thresholds where the exterior and interior become less distinct. As buildings are opened to the outside, natural light is used as a design feature as well. In addition to framing spaces by natural light, the functionality of a given space should be taken into consideration in order to select a light bulb with extended life cycle, as well as with an adequate level of lumens, the right tonality, warmth or coolness.

To create areas with subtly differing qualities of light, the directional quality of ceiling-recessed downlights can be used for variety,  adding visual richness to the experience of being within a space.

Layering light sources in indoor spaces, such as kitchen and living room areas, allows to either highlight or flow freely with the architectural elements of the building, like windows, beams, fireplaces and counter-tops. Non directional light sources will naturally produce a wide spread of light, creating a diffuse effect for ambient lighting.


Vintage: a trend in lighting design

Pendants, clustered lights, and mini-pendants, like the CB2 one-of-a-kind Utility graphite Ode to Edison, are a cool trend used in accent highlighting for a chic retro look in restoration, homes and commercial lighting.

Interior design turned to green design and sustainability in the 1990’s, with a taste for loft-converted spaces and a post-industrial concern revolving around toxicity, disposable levels, and the life-cycle of materials in the global economy.  An early, wry comment on the world of consumerism by Dutch designers Bakker and Renn, is illustrated by the Milkbottle hanging light, created in 1991.

Already in the early 20th century, an austere approach to lighting was embodied by the utilitarian arc lights designed by Peter Behrens and W. Wagenfeld. Functionalism and a pragmatic approach to lighting work spaces were behind the production of the metal workshops at Dessau Bauhaus, like the hanging light Model no. ME 78b created in 1926.

A minimalist vision where design tries to defy gravity, is exemplified by the Saturno hanging light, a creation by Kazuo Motozawa that reflects a scattered light through a spun metal construction.

1000 Lights, Taschen.
In Retrospect: pendants and hanging lights, 1926 and 1972.

The new vintage LED-filament bulbs are crafted for a nostalgic style that brings attention to the source of light. Their incandescent-like appearance is close to that of the industrious 1800’s Menlo Park shops, where the feasibility of different materials, for a longer lasting incandescent light, was first researched.

A trend to refit and refurbish existing buildings increased the interest in sustanaibility and in the historic past. Cooper, aluminum, brass-finished, and prismatic glass, are some materials for a vintage, electric look, that combines with different light sources. Practicality joins a sustainable outlook on lighting, vintage lightbulbs and lighting fixtures, for a design that blends classic functionality and minimalism into this modern trend.