Good design criteria for residential outdoor lighting

Iluminación exterior residencial
AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

In residential projects, the outdoor lighting is often planned after the indoor lighting has been designed, despite the two being closely related. The lighting design of a home and its surroundings must always go hand in hand as the light from gardens, paths, terraces and other outdoor spaces amplifies and enriches the indoor areas, facilitating functional and aesthetic continuity between the indoors and outdoors. In this article we will analyse the main outdoor lighting areas in a residential project, the design criteria to be taken into account, and the role played by linear lighting.

Iluminación exterior residencial
AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

Welcome lighting on walkways and at entrances

The lighting on walkways will depend on the type of house and the surrounding terrain but, at the very least, it must ensure people’s safety, guide them and welcome residents and visitors. The routes close to the house or other vertical structures or the landscape can benefit from reflected light from linear fittings recessed in the ground, without requiring direct light. On the other hand, when the paths move away from the building, specific lighting is needed. A discreet and effective solution is to fit linear LEDs in curbs, plinths or other borders of the landscape design.

When flat paths meet stairs, linear lighting offers many elegant and invisible solutions. For example, each tread or riser in a flight of steps can be illuminated, and specific design details built in, depending on each flight’s structure and material. But if integrating light into each step is difficult, we can always fit linear LEDs into the handrails or in continuous plinths.

Once we get to the entrance, it is a good idea to slightly increase the light level near the door. We can do it decoratively or more architecturally, depending on the style of the home. In both cases, linear lighting is always a good way of creating a specific lighting effect. If people arrive by car and not on foot, the linear lighting’s very form directs the gaze effectively and provides interesting opportunities for lighting and marking out parking spaces.

Outdoor recreation and relaxation

Terraces, courtyards, bowers and swimming pools are the outdoor areas of the home where we enjoy social and recreational activities in the open air. Just the sound of these words evokes feelings of relaxation, fun and getting away from our routines and immediately makes us imagine a soft and subtle nocturnal lighting. To achieve this type of atmosphere, indirect light solutions with integrated and hidden LED lines in architectural details are essential and provide a general light base that can be complemented by small accent lights such as candles, beacons or other decorative elements.

Outdoor accent lighting often highlights singular aspects of the architecture, vegetation or landscape, swimming pools or water features. For walls or climbing plants, bathing the wall with light is highly effective, and Lluria’s range of fittings can provide uniform or gradient lighting, according to the needs of the material or the environment. On the other hand, the Wolf range is specifically designed for swimming pools and water features; it combines the performance and quality of Lluria’s IP68-standard products and is submersible.

Iluminacion exterior residencial
Saladie Light Studio

Less is more

Usually, when lighting gardens and outdoor areas, less is more, and the light must be handled subtly and with restraint. At night, our eyes work differently from the day and we need less light to see where we are and to get our bearings. Our vision is more peripheral type, less focused on colour, and more sensitive to shades and chiaroscuro patterns. This means we can work with less wattage and, if necessary, with slightly lower CRIs than those used indoors. It also forces us to carefully control glare and direct vision of light sources and bright spots, since our night vision is adjusted to lower light levels and direct vision of very bright lights is more annoying than it is indoors.

The way to avoid annoying glare is to find solutions in which the light is hidden, shines indirectly or is reflected; we must also take special care to integrate the fittings into the landscaping. Because they are small, Linear LEDs lend themselves to all these applications and Lluria has specially designed profiles that blend in perfectly at every level of detail.

Iluminación exterior residencial
Saladie Light Studio

Limits and points of view

Paradoxically, setting limits on outdoor lighting does not limit our options, quite the opposite. It widens the perception of space and enriches the depth of our visual field. Linear lighting is the perfect ally in these cases, since it can illuminate the boundaries of a property, the perimeter of planters or the edges of a path, perfectly outlining these “limits” and subtly highlighting them, by lighting the horizontal or vertical plane. This is especially interesting when we observe a garden from inside a home, since the play of contrasts allows us to better appreciate the depth of the space, and makes this vista a fundamental part of our inner space.

In conclusion, considering different points of view, both from inside the house and from the entrance or other significant spots in the garden, is an extraordinarily powerful resource when designing the outdoor lighting of a home. It will help us decide which elements to highlight through the light and which solutions to apply for perfect harmony between indoors and outdoors.

Interview with Jordi Saladié, founder of Saladie Light Studio

Jordi Saladie Lighting Projects iluminacion viviendas

Saying Jordi Saladié is passionate about light may sound like a cliché, but in his case it is not. The continuous search for beauty, the desire to achieve technical perfection and the intentional creativity in all his interventions has made him a benchmark in home lighting design. His fascination for nocturnal spaces has led him to research extremely dim light scenes that he has named Low Light Atmosphere.

Your father ran a lighting store. Was it inevitable that you would follow in his footsteps and that your future would centre on the world of light?

Deciding between music or light wasn’t a straightforward choice. I liked music too much not to throw myself into it, but I had to admit that my musical talent wasn’t up to my expectations. On the other hand, the light has been with me since childhood, it has always been part of me. It took me a few years to recognize that “visualizing” the perfect light in a space was part of my mental scheme. Fortunately, my father, with his infinite patience, followed me and helped me develop and modernise the family business. Therefore, it was not inevitable, but it was logical that my profession would focus on the world of light; my family was part of the history of the lighting sector in Spain.

Jordi Saladie Lighting Projects iluminacion viviendas
©Jordi Miralles

How would you define your personal relationship with light?

I have always been passionate about seeing how lighting changes everything and, consequently, its power to affect human reactions and behaviour. I consider myself a vital person, with a certain admiration for the night and dimly lit spaces that generate mystery, curiosity or intrigue. This is where my research began. I like to compare music with light. Listening to a classical symphony with full awareness can become a journey through meadows, forests, castles or moments in history. By seeing the light from the same point of view, we generate a series of ideas, dreams or even illusions that motivate us to create plans, or more moments of beauty, for us and the people around us. Don’t you think the science of light starts to get interesting at this point?

You maintain a close personal relationship with great figures in the sector. Is nourishing yourself with their ideas, debating with them, the best way to learn?

It is a subject that falls by decanting. Let me explain. I am a considered a persona non grata among lighting designers, because I am also a reseller of products. And this luck, or this misfortune, means that the light artifacts that pass through my hands are the ones that we finally switch on in our future designs. Which means that we enjoy them from the beginning to the end. But we also suffer if they have design problems or are not technically well made, which that happens more often than we might think. At this point, it is my professional responsibility to properly inform the brands so that this doesn’t happen again. Thanks to this, I have managed to personally meet leading figures in the sector, establishing a certain friendship, which has allowed me to learn a lot from these masters of light. Another way of taking a postgraduate degree in architectural lighting.

Jordi Saladie Lighting Projects iluminacion viviendas
©alvarovaldecantos

The works of Saladie Light Studio are focused on the residential field. Is that an extremely creative area for designing lighting projects?

Well, I must say it is. Our studio is in a remarkably interesting moment, since many of our clients give us free rein to create. They trust our way of thinking about light, for which I am enormously grateful. And taking into account that some projects have quite large budgets, very often we work with private art collections, which is tremendously rewarding. Our aim in the interior spaces is to generate beauty; so, for example, we try to make a parking lot as cool as possible, we give colour to spas or water areas and work below 4 lux, changing day vision to night vision so that users literally enter another dimension. Another example would be private cinemas or music rooms, which are always spaces with infinite creative possibilities. We also pay special attention to the façades and exterior spaces, working with botanicals and treating the trees as living sculptures.

©alvarovaldecantos

You are especially interested in the influence of light on moods and emotions. Do your designs aim to make your clients’ lives more pleasant?

Yes of course. Although in truth all lighting designers say the same. But in my case, I have searched and found areas that have not been widely investigated. My projects are based on the logic of life and nature: during the day we need sun; at night, very little light, or, rather, well projected and pleasant light. I have been researching this path for about twelve years, and I have already come a long way, but I still have a long and passionate search, and it keeps everybody in our studio rather busy. We call this project Low Light Atmosphere and already there are installations in some homes. It consists of creating new scenes, apart from the basic ones, such as welcome, dinner or after dinner; and we add some with funny names, like whiskey time, round midnight, relax or spa. These scenes are the ones that really transform both the space and the user.

Why do you try to set atmospheres with such extremely low lighting levels in your projects?

Little light is enough for the human eye. In fact, nature itself tells us. In the morning, the sun rises, but at night, the maximum we can aspire to are the four lux of the full moon. Therefore, it is very interesting that we stay as close as possible to four lux. Obviously, it would be very different if we had to work or perform certain tasks in that space. The Low Light Atmosphere project was born with the intention of achieving rest, which is what the human body really seeks when it gets home. Below the four lux that I mentioned, the environment is transformed and helps us relax. It is not something easy to obtain, but as always, the position of the fittings fully integrated into the architecture is important, with the help of miniatures or the misused optical fibre. With imagination, with our installers and customers’ patience, we manage to get these marvellous spaces below four lux. And really, it is as if we enter another dimension.

Are you interested in led strips to enhance residential spaces?

Led strips solve difficult problems for us, or rather, they provide us with great solutions. Before we had fluorescent, neon or xenon lamps, now we have a wider range to choose from, thanks to linear LED lamps. We can choose profile, power, colour temperature, length, type of regulation, etc. All this allows us to integrate light into architecture and highlight the necessary elements.

What are your favourite uses?

One of the applications that we most like to design for our clients is hanging light. Whether we use an integrated light mirror, a whole wall with four-sided light or even the façade of a building. It can be summed up in that we must naturally integrate light into each of the spaces, enhancing each one and, at the same time, respecting and shaping their functions. Not only knowing the visible dimensions of the space in which the operates, but also knowing what is hidden behind the walls, allows us to search and find solutions that help us to integrate more naturally the lighting elements that we will use to illuminate the spaces. Ultimately, lighting design is an art and can only be created by totally immersing yourself in it. We must realise that light is not only a decorative element, but its effects on a space and its inhabitants is very wide indeed. Understanding the mechanics, technology, the principles of light itself and their effect on different materials, and above all, asking yourself questions. That is the philosophy behind our lighting design projects.

Saladie Lighting Projects

How to light your dream bedroom

Rardo Architects + AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

The bedroom is the first room we see when we wake up and the last one we see when we close our eyes; we start and finish each day between its four walls. This reason alone means we should take special care when designing its lighting. However, we often pay little attention to it, beyond applying run-of-the-mill lighting solutions such as placing fittings on both sides of the bed and having diffuse ambient lighting. There are many more resources we can use to help create more personalized and appropriate lighting that match our interior design and requirements.

Ideally, bedroom lighting should be bright and energizing in the morning and intimate and atmospheric at night. But there are nuances that depend on how we use the room throughout the day: Do we read in bed or somewhere in the room? Do we have a wardrobe or dressing area? Is there a TV in the bedroom? If it is a couple’s bedroom, are they both going to sleep and wake up at the same time? The design of layers of ambient, task and accent lighting, together with the use of lighting controls are the main tools enable us to adapt the lighting to the needs and lifestyle of each customer, and of course the design and personality of each space. In this context, linear leds provide interesting solutions and details for bedroom lighting, whatever style we choose, as we will see below.

Rardo Architects + AlsiaSech Lighting Projects

The lighting layers in the bedroom

Ambient or general light is the base layer of well-designed bedroom lighting. It should give soft, wide-range lighting that complements natural light. There are many ways to achieve this, whether with decorative ceiling or standing fittings or by using indirect light provided by led strips built into false ceilings, sconces, or perimeter curtains. An interesting solution for this type of lighting is to use leds with adjustable colour-temperature changes, such as Lluria’s Titan Double White, which can emit several shades of white between 2400K and 6000K and adapt the atmosphere to every moment of the day.

Good ambient lighting is the basic lighting that connects to the other lighting layers – the task layer and the accent layer – which will be used for other typical bedroom tasks such as reading, watching TV or dressing.

The reading light usually can usually be resolved using focal or diffused light fittings next to the bed or in the reading or study corner.

Rardo Architects + AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

General lighting may be sufficient for dressing, but customers are increasingly aware of the importance of a good task light in the dressing area and request specific, front and diffuse lights close to the mirror and built-in lights in the cabinets that sorting, looking at and locating clothes. Both needs can be solved using linear leds, which are increasingly refined and adapted to the various types of mirrors, cabinets and dressing rooms. The range of Lluria’s sizes, profiles and optics means we can configure specific fittings for each application.

Accent lighting often adds personality and emphasis to a corner or detail of the room, often through accent lighting or even decorative lighting. An interesting solution provided by linear leds can be found by integrating them into shelves to create lighting effects that highlight books or decorative objects.  In short, the more layers of lighting we have in the room, the more variety and flexibility we can achieve, as is the case in other rooms in the house. The bedroom, moreover, has a peculiarity. Everything revolves around a piece of furniture, the bed, of standardized dimensions and that allows conditions the distribution of the space. Now, we’ll look at how we can light this area.

Saladie Light Studio

The bed, the functional and visual focus of the bedroom

The double bed is usually the largest piece of furniture in the bedroom and one of the largest pieces of furniture in the house. Sometimes we want to highlight it theatrically with accent lighting, but the most common thing is that the bed is not lit up by direct lighting, but by light that surrounds or frames it. This is usually provided by the lights in the bedside table areas (wall lights, tables, hanging lights or a combination), which are found in almost all bedrooms. Although their position means their primary function is to provide reading light on both sides of the bed, they often also serve as elements that frame it and define its personality.

But to highlight the bed, once again linear leds come to our help.  Built into the bed head, or under the bed and even bedside tables, they give nuanced light that can add a special touch to different layers of lighting. For example, indirectly lit bed heads can provide general ambient light or complement the reading light; lighting under the bed or a bedside table is ideal as signal lighting while generating a framework of light that places the visual accent on the bed itself.

Another unique aspect of the “bed area” is that it also functions as a control centre from which lights, curtains and television can be controlled. It is achieved by simple switches or by more complete control systems.

Rardo Architects + AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

Improving sleep quality

Since sleeping is our main activity in the bedroom, we should ask ourselves whether the lighting is ideal for a good night’s sleep. However as much as we may love artificial light, we sleep best in a completely dark bedroom. If we wake up at night to use the bathroom, a small signal light, of extremely low colour level and temperature, can be useful for moving around safely. Led lines hidden from sight under the bedside table or bed, with a colour temperature of 2400K or lower and regulated to a minimum, are an excellent solution. But while we sleep, the total absence of light helps us get a deep and refreshing sleep. Equally important is the light we are exposed to before bedtime. Higher light levels and longer wavelengths have been shown to suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleeping and waking cycle. Therefore, using soft lights and warm/reddish tones before bedtime can help us rest better.

Interview with Joan Alsina, founder of AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

Joan Alsina AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

Joan Alsina believes that everyone should be able to enjoy a good lighting project in their homes. That’s why he always adapts to his clients’ budgets, striving to make their dreams come true and finding the best solution to ensure there is one corner of their house where they can enjoy the beauty and poetry of light.

You studied interior design, but in the end, you set up a studio that specialises in lighting projects. When and why did you take the plunge and move into the world of light?

While I was studying interior design, I noticed a guy in my class who worked at Saladié Lighting Projects; whenever we presented assignments, he always brought an additional sheet of paper with the lighting proposal. None of the rest of us ever did, nor did the teachers ask for it. His ideas really caught my eye and I ended up discovering that lighting was the part of interior design that I liked the most.  Eventually we became friends and he introduced me to his boss, who gave me the chance to do my internship at Saladié. That was where I realised just how much lighting excited me, and I was so dedicated and committed that they ended up hiring me.

What should the lighting of the spaces you design be like?

I always look for the best way to trigger emotions through light, to create atmospheres in which people feel comfortable and at ease. I make sure that each component fits perfectly in the project and that the lighting effect is just right. I love working with light and shadow. In fact, I think I’m a shadow lover.

What are the words that would define AlsinaSech Lighting Projects’ work?

I like our projects to breathe the magic and poetry of light while remaining economical and affordable. We love providing a warm and friendly service, and always attending any need and facilitating the most appropriate solution.

Joan Alsina AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

What advice do you give to clients who engage your services to light their homes?

I always stress the importance of installing a warm colour temperature in their homes. Light has a direct influence on our emotions and our moods, and I’m quite sure that a couple living in a house with 4,000 or 5,000k light are going to argue more than a couple who live with 2,700k. Sometimes it is a real struggle to convince them, they don’t understand warm light in the kitchen, for example, but as soon as they see the results they’re delighted. Another important issue in home lighting is to use good materials to achieve visual comfort and to avoid any flickering light sources that impact well-being and health so much. And a third tip is to recommend dimmable lighting, so that they can adjust lighting levels to their different everyday activities. I also show them how to differentiate and use the different layers of direct and indirect lighting, which are more ambient, and accent lighting.

When working on a lighting project, is it important to listen to the architecture?

Absolutely. Unfortunately, I’m almost always called when the house’s architecture has already been defined, when ideally architecture and lighting should grow and develop at the same time. Both should start from scratch and grow together so that they complement each other.

Are LED strips a good way of integrating lighting into architecture?  

Yes, without a doubt, personally I’m using them more and more.

Joan Alsina AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

What are your favourite applications?

Above all, verticals cut in walls, to provide indirect ceiling-to-floor lighting. One effect that I love and that the architect Ramón Esteve uses very often is to build LED strips into porcelain flooring next to walls, which produces a very dramatic gradient on the baseboard. It’s a highly spectacular effect that highlights the architecture, providing a soft and pleasant light effect. I particularly like these two applications, although the one used most commonly is to include the LED strip in a cavity to create a curtain of light on the wall.

Joan Alsina AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

Is it expensive to engage a lighting consultant’s services?

No, not in my case, as I always try to ensure that my expertise does not cost the client anything extra. I work for architects, interior designers and installers and my philosophy is to build a relationship of mutual loyalty, so that what customers pay for the lighting products cover my professionalism and time. I always adapt to the client’s budget, even if I have to be more creative and invent and reinvent the product to strike a balance between cost and aesthetics.

Joan Alsina AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

Layers of light to consider when lighting a home’s living room

Saladie Lighting Projects

A living room is the part of the house where light layering is essential. While the other rooms are normally used for specific tasks like cooking, sleeping or showering, the living room where people spend most of their personal or family life, and engage in a wide range of activities that depend on the time of day or their habits and customs. Since this multi-purpose room is usually the largest in the house, it is essential to ensure it has carefully planned, flexible lighting that takes into account the different layers of light – general, task and accent – and that you can adapt it to each way that the room is used.

One good strategy before starting to design the lighting is to ask yourself the following questions: How is the living room going to be used? Is it going to be used for reading, social activities, watching TV, or relaxing on the sofa? Is it going to have a study area for working on a computer? Is it going to include also a dining area? Is it going to open onto the kitchen?

Let’s look at lighting strategies that make a living room work and come alive in each of these cases.

AlsinaSech Lighting Projects
AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

First layer: ambient lighting

If the underlying idea is that a living room is normally used for relaxing, it is important to design an ambient lighting system that provides a light backdrop to the room.

LED strip lights are an excellent tool for creating this first general lighting layer, especially for a cosy indirect lighting effect. Hidden in recesses, in decorations on false ceilings or walls, or even on top of tall furniture, LED strip lights provide an indirect, discreet and effective general light. Installing lights on cornices or in perimeter mouldings brings great results because all the light is directed towards the ceiling, which reflects it and creates an extraordinarily even ambient light. This kind of lighting is the ideal base on which to add the other layers of light for each kind of activity.

Saladie Lighting Projects

Second layer: reading and watching television

The best option for reading is to put decorative reading luminaires, especially floor and swivel lights, mere sofas or armchairs. Their bright, focused light creates a cosy atmosphere in which to enjoy a good book.

Watching TV or working at computer are other activities that people do every day in their living rooms and which call for almost the opposite type of lighting. TV and computer screens give off their own light, so you should avoid an overly dark environment so as not to tire your eyes too much. Yet the room’s lighting should not conflict with the screen, either by reflecting off it or generating a glare. Again, using indirect lighting solutions is the best way to solve both issues, avoiding any glare on the screen while reducing eyestrain at the same time. To ensure the solution is really flexible, the lighting should be dimmable so that you adjust its intensity.

Another more specific solution for watching TV is to place strip lighting behind the TV set, ideally using a colour temperature changing or RGBW LED strip. This helps to create a pleasant atmosphere while increasing visibility around the screen by providing the ideal level of contrast.

Iluminacion viviendas lineales led
Punto Luz

Third layer: accent lighting for social activities

Living rooms are usually where friends and family meet and get together, and often include a dining area, where lamps hanging over the dining table often take centre stage.

When it comes to socialising, accent lighting is key. This kind of lighting is often used to highlight artwork, family photos, bookshelves, plants, architectural details or anything that adds value and personality to the space and deserves to be highlighted.

There are numerous techniques for generating accent and contrast, whether through downlights, swivel spotlights or LED strip lights. Some of the best ways of using strip lighting is as a light source to illuminate pictures or to highlight the texture and material of a vertical wall with grazing light or wallwashing. Also, when they are built into furniture like shelves or bookcases. In the latter case, you need to think about how to build the lights into the item of furniture, and the types of shapes and optics, as the different combinations can produce totally different effects: from diffuse frontal lighting in a bookcase, to 45-degree angle accent lighting to illuminate decorative objects, to backlighting to highlight translucent or transparent elements such as bottles or crystal glasses.

The solution of integrating lighting into furniture, as a general kind of accent lighting, is also often used as a visual connecting element in kitchens that open up onto a living room. These cases call for more sophisticated lighting effects, especially when highlighting materials and finishes or transition areas to the living room, to “ennoble” the kitchen’s lighting language.

Punto Luz

Yet since living rooms are used in so many ways and laid out so differently, it is not only important to work with layers of light, but also to consider how they interact with each other. A basic approach would be to organise the circuits and lighting rationally, considering the different ways in which the space is used. The next step would be to implement a control system to make the layered lighting as flexible as possible and make the lighting of each different scenario easier to manage.

But if you need more advice on how to build LED strip lighting into your project, just contact us at info@lluria.com, and we will be happy to help you find the best solution.

Interview with Josep Maria Aixut of Aixut Interiorisme

Josep Maria Aixut

He is passionate about interior architecture. He never goes out without a paper and pencil in his pocket, his head is abuzz with ideas and he needs to be ready when inspiration strikes. He considers himself lucky. Since he started making photocopies at the age of 7 in his father’s interior design studio, he has not stopped doing what he likes the most: transforming spaces to make them beautiful and functional.

Aixut Interiorisme has been dedicated to interior architecture for more than 30 years. How would you define the studio’s professional career?

Aixut Interiorisme is a family business that was founded by my father and a partner under the name Aixut Alvarado. Since they both retired, it has continued under my creative direction and that of my wife, who is in charge of all the administrative part.

Aixut Interiorisme
Sala espera Hotel Brisa. Sant Antoni de Portman, Ibiza.

Would you say you have a recognizable style?

I suppose so, many of my clients can recognize the projects we work on. Despite the fact that our work philosophy implies adapting to the tastes and needs of our clients without ever repeating ourselves, in the end it is almost inevitable that we leave our personal mark. We carry out numerous works on the island of Ibiza and, as it is such a limited territory, we consider it essential never to develop two identical projects.

Aixut Interiorisme
Sala lectura Hotel Brisa. Sant Antoni de Portmany, Ibiza.

How would you define that personal stamp?

Personally I’m always in search of functionality and dynamism. Starting from there, I develop the first ideas in sketches of plans that lay out directions, how people move about and spaces adapted to the needs of the clients.

Aixut Interiorisme
Cocina y salón vivienda particular. Ibiza.

Do you follow a methodology when facing an interior design project?

I like to develop projects as if they were for me. First, I listen to the client’s needs, I try to internalize them and from there I design using my own criteria, although obviously, always including their personal preferences. My way of designing is very peculiar. After taking measurements I always carry them about hand-drawn on a piece of paper in my pocket, so that when an idea occurs to me, wherever it is, I can automatically incorporate it. Some projects flow straight away, but others can stay in my pocket for days until I get the perfect solution that shapes them.

Aixut Interiorisme
Cocina vivienda particular. Ibiza.

Aixut Interiorisme is especially strong in the hotel industry and holiday homes in the Balearic Islands. What are the specific demands of this service?

We have several types of clients, depending on whether they are dedicated to seasonal or all-year-round tourism. We try to design a flexible interior design for the hotels that open all year round that provide warmth during winter and coolness in summer. Another condition is linked to the type of visitors they receive, the Italian, German or English visitors are totally different. But something common to all our clients is that we always establish an extremely close relationship of trust before, during and after the project. With the work already completed, it is quite common that each year we carry out different adjustments and fine-tuning. We are proud to say that, as a service company, we have clients in the hotel and the dwelling sectors with whom we have been working continuously for thirty years.

Aixut Interiorisme
Dormitorio vivienda particular. Ibiza.

The hotel industry is one of the industries that consumes most energy in Spain. Is the equation that factors comfort, efficiency and return on investment basic requirements when you design lighting?

We always try to achieve maximum energy savings in our projects. Without a doubt, the appearance of led technology and control systems has been of great help because we can create scenarios and adjust consumption to ideal levels, increasing quality, comfort and service.  It’s important to point out that Aixut Interiorisme doesn’t just handle interior design but develops global projects that take into account the consumption of electricity, gas and water and focusses intently technical installations, climate control and kitchens.

Aixut Interiorisme
Recepción Apartamentos Oasis Sa Tanca. Cala Llonga, Ibiza.

Home interior design is another area in which you are especially active. In this area, linear LEDs provide a wide variety of lighting solutions. Do you like to use light lines? What are your favourite uses?

I confess that I am a great admirer of led strips and I always fit them into our projects. We put a lot of thought into lighting, as it is the component that provides the greatest degree of comfort. Personally, I find indirect lighting attractive. Human beings receive sunlight from above, therefore it seems important to me to apply this principle in artificial lighting. When you install spotlights, you see a very intense point of light that generates a pool of light on the floor, not on the ceiling. That is why I consider that linear LEDs integrated into recesses, false ceilings, or with specific profiles that hide them, do let you light the ceiling. Then you can always add a fitting to provide focussed light at a certain point, but when designing general lighting, the linear led system provides greater uniformity, comfort and visual quality in all spaces.

Aixut Interiorisme
Cafeteria y terraza Hotel Lux Isla. Platja de Talamanca, Ibiza.

Could you mention a project in which the linear LEDs have solved a specific challenge?

In the renovation of the Sal Rossa tourist apartments in Platja d’en Bossa in Ibiza we had to renovate the pool area, located on a floating floor due to the problems associated with being in a flood zone. We had to adapt the lighting to the existing kidney shape and the best solution was offered by Lluria’s Wolf strip, as it had an IP68 rating and met the requirements of being flexible, submersible, shock and weather- resistant. Moreover, the resin capsule does not turn yellow in time, as it usually does. The client is very satisfied with the result, the lighting creates the right atmosphere for outdoor dining on summer nights.

Aixut Interiorisme
Terraza piscina Apartamentos Sal Rossa. Platja d'en Bossa, Ibiza.

Five creative ideas for lighting your bathroom

Saladie Lighting Projects

Bathrooms have been gaining more and more prominence in recent years and is no longer thought of as merely utilitarian. Nowadays bathrooms are designed as places where you can be alone and spend time on yourself,

It is essential to provide your bathroom with the right kind of lighting to turn it into a relaxing, intimate place where you can enhance our personal, physical and emotional well-being.

As we describe in our article “The three types of linear lighting in the home”, to make a bathroom comfortable and give it a pleasant atmosphere, you really need to take special care not only of the lighting you need for those intimate gestures up close to the mirror, but also of the ambient lighting. Although, when it comes to small bathrooms, the mirror lighting itself can also serve as ambient light. It is in larger bathrooms, designed with a spa area, or with finishing touches that need highlighting, where it is advisable to include accent lighting and decorative lighting fittings.

Here are 5 ideas to solve bathroom lighting creatively using linear leds:

VAM Arquitectos + Vié Il.luminació + Solertia

1. Minimal recessed lights

Integrating light lines in the ceiling, walls or floors creates an elegant and clean effect. Nowadays, thanks to miniature led lines, even the tiniest cubicle can be fitted with a curtain rail, coving, or a vertical or horizontal slot that emphasizes the structural elements and provides a soft indirect general lighting. Forget the downlights and risk recessing!

Tip: include light in wet and shower areas, using high-IP fittings.

iluminacion banños tiras led
Maraba Studio

2. Illuminated mirrors

The lighting in the mirror area is without a doubt the most important. Using linear LEDs on the sides of the mirror (integrated or surface) we can effectively solve the practical aspects of lighting; that is, personal care such as makeup and shaving. If you can’t fit lights on both sides of the mirror, you can also opt for frontal linear lighting at the top.

Placing LED strips behind the mirror does not provide the best light for practical purposes; however, depending on the finish, it can give an interesting general indirect light or an effective halo of light.

Tip: it is important to study the installation in detail to prevent the led strip from showing from different positions.

RS Arquitectura + Krea Lighting Studio

3. Furniture floating in nocturnal lighting

Depending on the time of day, or what you happen to be doing, increasing or decreasing the intensity of the light in the bathroom can make a massive difference. Integrated linear lighting fitted under furniture, benches or sinks offers an interesting opportunity, providing lighting which, in combination with other lighting systems, provides depth and visual richness to the space during the day, and at night provides a subtle halo of guiding light at ground level.

A word of advice: avoid direct reflection from the led strip on very glossy floor finishes.

Saladie Lighting Projects

4. Lighting integrated into furniture

The variety of ranges of profiles and linear miniature LEDs can provide personalised lighting solutions for any bathroom furniture. There are simple solutions, such as fitting the lighting directly onto the shelves or on the sides of the doors, using orientable profiles. The functional and aesthetic benefits are significant.

Tip: miniature shelves help you to get the most out of the space in your bathroom furniture.

La Casa de las Lamparas

5. Sensory dynamic lighting

Since the bathroom is a place dedicated to our well-being, why not dare to do something different and enjoy changing lighting for the pleasure of our senses?

Colour changes and dynamic white are often used in water and spa areas. Lluria’s waterproof and flexible led strips are ideal for this type of situation and can be fitted details to provide a perfect finish.

Dynamic white LEDs are also an excellent solution for the general lighting in any bathroom –especially one that lacks natural light– since they offer us the opportunity to better adjust the lighting to our circadian cycle: cooler and more energizing in the morning and warmer and more relaxing at the end of the day.

Tip: use a control system with a simple interface, for quick and effective adjustments.

AlsinaSech Lighting Projects
AlsinaSech Lighting Projects

Whatever the dimensions or the style of your bathroom, linear LEDs are your perfect ally for lighting design. They have freed us from the need to depend on downlights and wall lights, revolutionizing general and specific lighting solutions.

You can design a minimalist bathroom just with linear LED fittings by carefully selecting profiles, diffusers and integration details. But even the most baroque bathroom, with chandeliers or wall lights, can benefit from the discreet light provided by hidden LED lines, which will provide general or complementary light, making the decorative fittings stand out even more.

Interview with Mary Pardo and Susana Barea, founders of Krea Lighting Studio

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
©alvarovaldecantos

If something characterizes the founders of Krea Lighting Studio it is their accessibility and personal touch. They pride themselves on listening to customers and providing the best strategy, as well as the talent, creative approach and attention to detail that deliver the best solution to every need. They are convinced that their commitment to and enthusiasm for well done work will take them far.

In 2018 you founded your studio, Krea Lighting. What led you to do it together? Were you close friends?

Susana: No, the truth is that we had never worked together, we only met because we had some common suppliers. We were at a decisive point at a time when Mary was deciding between going into teaching or continuing with projects and I had to decide my professional future from among several proposals.

Mary: It was a matter of good vibrations, Susana inspired trust from the very beginning. We only needed to meet a couple of times to decide to combine our knowledge and experience and establish Krea Lighting.

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
Casa Kub's

Is it difficult to get into the profession as an independent studio? What are the biggest challenges you faced?

Mary:  The biggest challenge is economic. The current pandemic situation is extraordinarily complex. The rest needs dedication and enthusiasm.

Susana: Developing projects is no problem for us, beyond the challenges that each customer poses.  In contrast, all the management and paperwork issues involved in founding a company are time-consuming and are exhausting. In our case, because our premises are on the ground floor and visible from the street, the architectural and regulatory requirements are much greater.

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
Agrupació Jugadors FCB. ©alvarovaldecantos

The question we must ask is, where does your interest in light come from?

Mary:  My interest in light came by pure chance. When I was quite young, I went to work in a lighting company as an office worker. There I discovered the enormous possibilities light offers to the point that the manager encouraged me to devote myself to it and to study interior design, so I’d have the basics. I fell in love with light from the outset.

Susana: I studied interior design, but when I joined a food company in 2001 that was developing projects for markets, pastry shops, butchers, shops or restaurants, I realized the enormous importance of light in general, and especially how it affected people’s perception of food. But as an interior designer you are not a lighting expert, so I sought out the studies I needed and took the Master in Lighting Design from UPC in Barcelona, of which I am currently coordinator.

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
Agrupació Jugadors FCB. ©alvarovaldecantos

What kind of projects are you working on?

Susana: The current situation, which allows us to work online, gives us the opportunity to develop all kinds of projects at local, national and international levels. Having the studio in Vic does not limit us in any way. But it is true that the pandemic has boosted housing projects.

Mary:   Currently we are also working on a couple of restaurants, shops, a showroom in Barcelona and on teaching.

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
Obra exhibeo VM

Have you developed a language that characterizes you as a studio?

Mary:   More than a language or style, I would say that what characterizes our work is that we always listen to our customers to determine their needs. Once they are established, we can develop the most suitable solutions.

Susana: Even if customers don’t know anything about lighting, if they know how they like to live or how they like to work, they understand their needs better than anyone else. Therefore, this initial and close contact is essential for achieving the best results. And I’m not just talking about small projects; we’re always present from the beginning, ready to establish a one-on-one relationship. If something defines us as a studio, it is our accessibility.

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
Obra ESOROSA. @ZINCBCN

When you establish that close contact with the owners, do you think they are generally sophisticated enough to understand the language of light as the generator of architectural narrative?

Susana: Generally, our customers come to us, which is important because it means they have a specific interest in lighting. Many of them say, ‘I don’t know what or how, but I want it to be well lit’. In our case, after having completed several projects, it is often word of mouth that works best. People come and say, ‘Wow, that has turned out well! Who did it?’ and then they come to us. From when they first show their interest, we try to educate them about how important lighting is as a component in the development of a narrative.

Mary:  Going back to the close personal contact we mentioned before, we not only design the visual project, but we are fully involved: we arrange visits, perform light tests, advise, explain why we have chosen one product or another, advise on the pros and cons… We are totally involved with the architects and installers on site, and we always try to be part of the overall team. We can develop a great project, but if we do not cooperate with the architect, the interior designer and the installer afterwards, it won’t turn out as we want.

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
Mercat de Olesa. Obra Exhibeo VM. @Pere Grimau

When you talk to architects, interior designers and installers do you need to adapt your language to theirs, so that the projects can be successfully implemented?

Susana: The difference between them and us is that when we work with architects and interior designers, they perceive us as a plus in their work. Installers, however, often see us as competitors that invade their area and will make their lives more difficult. In fact, many of them come straight out with it. Our relationship with installers is more complex, but the results speak for themselves. Once they see the finished project and the relationship has gone smoothly, they end up acknowledging our contribution.

Mary:  It depends on the project. In our case, we know installers who are regular customers and who call us directly. We have recently worked on a series of homes and it was the installer who invited us to take part, because we add value to their work. Although there are all kinds attitudes, fortunately some people are beginning to appreciate us.

Krea Lighting Mary Pardo Susana Barea
Mercat de Olesa. Obra Exhibeo VM. @Pere Grimau

Do you like to use lines of light in your projects?

Susana: A lot. They are excellent for emphasising architecture and hiding the light source.

Mary:   They are practical; they give great results and are easy to incorporate into projects. At the moment we are involved in modular houses for which we have made a prototype that incorporates several light lines. And we always work with Lluria, because of their proximity, efficient service and problem-solving capability. It’s a company with a great team behind it.

Susana: Yes, and another point in their favour is that their catalogue enables us to choose from a wide variety of profile and linear led models, whether for a project that requires the highest quality or for lower budget projects. And what we appreciate most is their ability to adapt when making custom lengths. We find it very practical and the installers are more than happy with the results.

Krea Lighting
Vivienda Vilaseca Interiorisme. @ZINCBCN

5 tips on how to light your kitchen, the multifunctional living space

Iluminacion cocinas lineales led

Kitchens are the heart of the home; they are not only used for preparing food, but they are often the space where we meet family and friends, and even where we work or study. Some kitchens are separate and others are fully open to the dining room. Some have abundant natural light and others have hardly any and need artificial light. But, in all cases the lifestyle and aesthetic preferences of the people who inhabit the kitchen are plain.

As it is a multifunctional space, it absolutely needs good lighting. Achieving that is not as easy as you might think, so we are going to give you 5 tips that will enable you to achieve optimal lighting for all your activities. It will also help if you read our article “The three types of linear lighting in the home”.

iluminacion cocinas lineales led

1. Achieve uniformity with ambient lighting

In kitchens, general ambient lighting is often the main source of light. The aim is to illuminate the area as uniformly as possible and provide sufficient light to see and carry out general tasks. Linear light fittings can do this in different ways.

. Linear recessed or surface lights. These provide general lighting and are usually distributed evenly on the ceiling.

. Linear suspended lights for direct or direct and indirect lighting, centred over the kitchen islands or the entire space.

. Linear lights on the kitchen fittings, projecting indirect light towards the ceiling. If the height of the space and the design of the kitchen allow it, this is a very elegant solution and out of direct view. High powered lights, up to 28.8 W/m and circular opal diffusers are required to avoid shadows on the ceiling.

A tip: it is better not to illuminate only from the ceiling, since shadows may fall on the work surface where the food is prepared. You will have to fit lights above the work surface.

iluminacion cocinas lineal led

2. Precision and convenience in food preparation by lighting work areas

Linear leds perfectly solve lighting those places in the kitchen where you actually work. With their different sizes and formats, they provide ideal solutions for any task, and can illuminate work surfaces most efficiently.

The secret to designing this type of lighting is correct placement and glare control. Linear LEDs can be installed in two ways:

. Suspended linear lighting. This is a modern, minimalist solution, which works for both islands and countertops. It is usually fitted directly above work surfaces. To minimize glare, it is best to install them at least 75 cm from the surface to be lit. Alternatively, you can use anti-glare accessories or regulate the power of the fitting.

. Linear lighting for countertops. This can be integrated into top cabinets, extractor hoods or inside cupboards and on the sides of pantry doors.

. Linear lighting integrated into furniture. It is recommended to place it inside drawers and inside cupboards or pantries.

One more tip: don’t forget that some countertops are made of very shiny materials, such as marble or steel. In these cases, linear LEDs must always have a diffuser and their location and fitting into furniture must be carefully studied.

3. More personality with accentuated lighting

Like salt in a stew, the appropriate proportion of accentuated lighting will depend on each person’s personality, as well as the interior design. This type of lighting enables you to highlight details of the space, the decoration, the utensils and the foods on display. It creates depth and visual focus.

There are functional kitchens in which task lighting alone already creates a visually interesting accent. But in open kitchens, or in kitchens where part of the social activity of the house takes place, specific visual accent zones often appear. Here are some of the most important:

. Skirtings and lit perimeters. They draw attention to isles or kitchen furniture, slightly separating them from the floor or walls. It is important to correctly dimension them for proper light emission.

. Integrated lighting in shelves. Ambient light usually already provides general lighting to the shelves, but nowadays, thanks to miniature LED strips we can give a special prominence to the objects they display. In this case, the way you integrate the lights is everything. Placing a LED at the front, rear, top or bottom will provide a totally different effect. The chosen solution will depend on the type of objects to be illuminated and the design of the furniture.

Another tip: if we want to highlight glasses, bottles or other translucent materials, it is advisable to experiment with backlighting. Placing the lights at the back will make integrating them into the fixtures easier and will provide an unexpected lighting touch.

iluminacion cocinas lineales led

4. Getting the right colour temperature

Several factors influence the choice of colour temperature, but the amount of natural light present, the type of lighting and space, the feeling to be conveyed, the style of the interior design and the personal preferences of the users are all important factors.

There are three main colour temperature ranges: warm white (2700 K to 3000 K), neutral, cool white (3500 K to 4100 K), and very cool, daylight white (5000 K to 6500 K). The higher the colour temperature of the LED, the more bluish the light it emits, and the lower the temperature, the warmer the light.

For ambient and task lighting in kitchens, LEDs with a colour temperature of 3500K to 4100K are often chosen to ensure that floors and work surfaces are lit by a neutral white light. But if we want to simulate natural light, sometimes much cooler light tones, around 5000-6500K, are used. On the contrary, to provide a feeling of intimacy, temperatures of 2700 K to 3000 K would be used.

For accentuated lighting, temperatures of 2700 K to 3000 K are often chosen to highlight objects and surfaces in warmer light. But you can also use the same temperature as the ambient light and highlight the objects through the intensity of the light.

In short, there is no single rule, but each case must be individually assessed. If you are undecided, you can always resort to the lights with variable colour temperature from Lluria!

One last tip: the materials in the floors and walls and the finishes in the kitchen will affect the light reflected in the space. It is worthwhile looking for a light shade that enhances existing materials and colours. In open kitchens, you must also consider the finishes in the dining room and the general effect you want to provide.

iluminacion cocinas lineales led

5. Controlling the various lights

Given the many types of kitchens, having the possibility of regulating the lights gives you flexibility when lighting the space. This is especially important in multi-purpose kitchens, as lighting needs can vary greatly. When preparing food, you’ll need a bright and diffused light, while, for the ambience, the table and after dinner conversation, dimmer lights are recommended. This is easily achieved by installing dimmers, components that will help you personalize the lighting in each situation and improve your well-being.

Interview with Cristina and Paula Martínez Abad, founders of Maraba Studio

Young and enterprising, Cristina and Paula form part of a new generation of lighting designers who’ve been able to forge a path in their profession with optimism and enthusiasm in spite of all the difficulties. In their short life as a studio they’ve already become a benchmark for Lanzarote, an island that’s provided them with their inspiration and creative discourse, based on nature and its effects in terms of light and shadow.

It’s interesting to note that, as sisters, you both studied architecture and specialised in architectural lighting design. Moreover, you work at the same independent lighting studio. Are you really inseparable?

Paula: It’s true, it’s curious. Both Cristina and I have always been attracted to the world of architecture; our family is connected with design and construction and that’s undoubtedly influenced us. But although we’ve grown in parallel, we actually started out in different cities. Cristina graduated in Seville whereas I graduated in Madrid. When, in 2015 and after working in Germany, I founded ABAD Lighting Design Studio in Lanzarote, Cristina was furthering her career in architecture in Madrid. But in the end it was light that brought us together. We wanted to create something together and, at the beginning of 2020, we founded Maraba Studio.

Paula y Cristina Martinez Abad Maraba Studio
Nave Grupo Martínez

When you decided to study architecture, were you already interested in light or did you discover it later?

Paula: I’ve always been fascinated by natural lighting, its impact on materials. Living on an island like Lanzarote with its landscape and environment, where the sun is present for more than 12 hours a day, creates a different vision. You learn to sift the light, to protect yourself from it and create shade using natural elements. Shadow is as powerful as light; you just have to know how to work with it. But my interest in the profession of lighting designer came later. During my degree I discovered how important it was to design lighting in order to enhance architecture, its form, structure and texture. So I began to investigate and that’s how it all started.

Cristina: I agree with Paula. Being born in a place like Lanzarote has a lot to do with who we are and what we’re doing today. Living on this island, you develop a particular sensibility. I’ve always seen light as a fundamental part of my architectural projects but it was during my work that I realised the profession of lighting designer actually existed. That’s when I took the decision to redirect my career and specialise in lighting design.

What were your career paths before founding Maraba Studio?

Paula: After finishing the Masterdía Master in Architectural Lighting in 2014, I had the chance to meet Andreas Schulz, CEO of Licht Kunst Licht, who gave me the opportunity to work with him in his studio in Berlin. It was a wonderful experience! For almost a year I was immersed in a world of light that I’d never imagined, working on very special projects. I learned to design by thinking about every nuance and every detail to create spaces that are comfortable for our visual perception. It was after this that I was offered the first project on my native island: Jameos del Agua, a project by the architect César Manrique. It was a real challenge for me.

Cristina
: In my case, before entering the world of lighting completely, I specialised in retail design and worked for several architecture studios in Madrid. It wasn’t until 2019 that I trained as a lighting designer at the IED in Madrid.

Fundación César Manrique

Are you finding it difficult to make your way in a profession that’s not yet recognised as it should be?

Paula: When I had to make the decision to return to Lanzarote, the profession of lighting design was unknown. But contrary to what people might think, I saw it as a great opportunity. The island was like a blank canvas on which I could start designing and developing a lighting culture.

Cristina: Yes, on Lanzarote we’ve been able to carry out projects in all kinds of fields, related to culture, the landscape, business, retail and education. Little by little we’ve raised awareness of the importance of light that’s now bearing fruit.

Monumento al campesino

At the Arrecife Gran Hotel you work with Lluria’s LED linear lighting. Do you like using it? Do you think it allows you to develop new ideas?

Cristina: Lluria’s linear lighting is used to create indirect lighting on walls and to enhance textures and materials, as well as to guide routes for guests and define the surroundings in space.

Paula: At the Arrecife Gran Hotel, whose inspiration is nature and its different forms, we’ve implemented an LED strip whose modules are perpendicular to the base so it adapts perfectly to the curves, projecting the light vertically and homogeneously. In outdoor lighting, flexible waterproof products enable us to design without limits.

Maraba Studio
Guarderia Arenas

Dynamic light is another of the great virtues of linear lighting. What possibilities does it offer you in creative terms?

Cristina: Such tools add personality and character to a design and open up a range of possibilities during the creative process.

Paula: The truth is that, right now, we’re using dynamic lighting in two different projects. In the first, a shopping and sports centre, we’re designing a dynamic façade in blue tones that changes throughout the day, simulating the movement of the sea. In the second, a glass roof for the Pool Bar at Arrecife Gran Hotel, we’re creating a magical space in constant flux that takes you to another galaxy. Using the metal structure of the roof as a support, we’ve covered the entire surface with linear strips. They’re installed in pairs, combining White Tunable with RGB White, which produces a colourful environment where our aim is to create a limitless, changing space. It’s a mutating environment in which the immersive experience begins at sunset with a show of lights that multiply. We’ve played with the spatial perception of the environment as it’s reflected in the glass dome and on the surface of the water.

Cristina y Paula Martínez Abad, Maraba Studio
Clinica Nores