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 lighting designer Bárbara Rodríguez Pando of LDC

Barbara Rodriguez Pando LDC

A lover of light as a catalyser of human perception and fascinated by the endless possibilities that technology brings to the creation of spaces, Barbara Rodriguez Pando, along with the studio, Lighting Design Collective is looking to invent new settings that stimulate our senses. The projects developed thus far bear witness to her ability to imagine dynamic settings that move between the physical and digital worlds.

You’ve been a member of the Lighting Design Collective team for six years. What sorts of projects does LDC carry out and what is your specific job as Senior Lighting Designer?

We work on a wide range of projects of diverse scales, including hotels, town development plans, restaurants, offices, small art pieces for residential developments, media façades, landscaping projects, infrastructures like bridges and tunnels, museums and exhibitions, and shopping centres. My job is to carry the projects from concept development to implementation. I play a creative role in developing the vision of the project, and I am responsible for delivery and quality control, as well as client-related tasks. Yet the most important task of all is identifying the role of lighting and the added value that it can bring to each individual project.

Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

LDC’s slogan is “We design dynamic environments”. In your opinion, what can dynamic lighting bring to architecture and constructed environments?

Ever since architecture has existed, it has been bathed in the powerful and dynamic light of the sun. Natural light varies immensely in both its day-and-night cycle and its annual cycle. We all yearn for the incredible sight of a sunset when we haven’t seen one in a while. For example, the shimmers and reflections of light in contact with water have been used for centuries to enhance town squares and courtyards. In fact, static and constant light is the most antinatural thing for humans. Dynamism is a very effective quality to call our attention while we are perceiving a space. Today, we have tools that enable that dynamism to provide meaning to a place or transmit an idea through real-time data-driven parameters, and we can even interact with our environment and its variability.

Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort

Many people associate dynamic light with the creation of experiences. Do the new times call for a more communicative architecture that causes memorable experiences in people?

I’d say that the new times are bringing us new technologies that enable us to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, creating a phigital environment. When we conjure up a memory of a place, we get the feeling of having had an experience there. We can peel our eyes away from the small screens of our mobile phones and once again feel our environment and connect with it directly. A moment of beauty or fascination is a powerful marketing tool, and it can also serve as a channel to convey an idea and connect people with one another and with a place.

 

Anonymous, Lux Helsinki.
Anonymous, Lux Helsinki

Lighting events and festivals are becoming increasingly trendy. Is Light Art another of your specialities?

LDC participated in Lux Helsinki and the Durham festival with the piece Anonymous, where the visitors had a cabin equipped with an open microphone that allowed them to express themselves freely and cause changes in their setting through their silhouette, which was warped by their voice and other layers of lighting. LDC has also created different digital art pieces that are now permanent installations, projects that are totally unrelated to any festival. It is in those projects that lighting becomes a layer absorbed in the architecture of a place, generating its identity.

Amandolier media façade
Amandolier media façade

Developing digital dynamic light projects requires a vast knowledge and understanding of technology in terms of software, programming, digital arts and the like. How does LDC develop its projects? Do you have a multidisciplinary team or do you outsource those services?

Because each project is unique, the teams that work on them are also unique. In the early brainstorming phases, we have ReVR depict complex lighting scenes through image, virtual reality, animations and applications. This helps to ensure that all the agents involved in the project have in mind a shared goal to work towards. ReVR works independently, meaning that they work with LDC and with other design offices. To make dynamic environments a reality, we have Skandal Tech. They act as an integrator for the client, so they provide the control system, which includes software, hardware and services like implementation, devices such as sensors, network systems and specialised lighting. Poet software enables us to design the contents based on parameters that we can link to real-time data or system inputs.

Radisson blu Goteburgo
Radisson blu Goteburgo

Can you name one project that you’ve worked on that has been especially rewarding or challenging for you?

The Gothenburg Radisson Blu project required the refurbishment of a building from the 1980s, with a large covered atrium that many of the rooms looked out over. The atrium was the heart of the hotel. The natural lighting at those latitudes is insufficient on winter afternoons. For this reason, we designed a suspended lighting structure corresponding in size to the large scale of the space, serving as a sort of ambient communicator. The structure generates brightness through soft movements of light patterns, forming an abstract sky that changes thanks to real-time weather data. If the space is used for an event, the lighting is personalised with the desired colours. To get an intervention that becomes part of the setting rather than just serving as an ornamental figure, we dared to dream big in terms of scale and worked to maintain a very simple shape in the design of the object.

Radisson blu Goteburgo
Radisson blu Goteburgo

One project that you did with Lluria was the exhibition Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul, which was developed along with the Snøhetta architecture team. What can you tell us about that?

The design of the Snøhetta exhibition arranged the vast space of Ithra’s Great Hall into wooden pavilions with very slanted roofs reminiscent of Norwegian cabins. Inside, a backlit tension membrane ran up to a lit oculus. Munch’s paintings could be admired in a space with a very human scale and a diffused and even light, completely free of glare. This was the ideal backdrop for Munch’s introspective and emotionally unstable paintings. In Lluria we found a great ally for the supply of the high CRI LED strips mounted on profiles with countless different sizes, enabling us to adapt to the geometry of the cabins. A meticulous zone-by-zone control system allowed us to adjust the light to the conservation requirements of the different works.

Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul
Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul

Finally, as a lighting designer, what do you think are the major challenges for your profession today?

I think we must continue to promote a more prominent light culture in society and keep pushing for the professionalisation of the lighting designer as a figure.

Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul
Edvard Munch: Landscapes of the Soul

Interior and exterior design with dynamic light

Bala Perdida Club. El Equipo Creativo
Bala Perdida Club. El Equipo Creativo

The notion that artificial light can only be switched on or off is now a thing of the past. Dynamic lighting has come to stay, thanks to LED technology and its control systems. But what is dynamic light? Well, its lighting that can vary and change, to better adapt to the room or the needs of the people, through changes in colour temperature, intensity and even chromatic spectrum.

Restaurante Zela. Londres. BMLD.
Zela Restaurant. London. BMLD.

Natural light as a benchmark
Sunlight is dynamic by nature, transforming its composition and distribution throughout the day, with changing speeds and patterns that we as humans find fascinating. In indoor spaces, the distribution of natural light is made up of diffused light and reflected light, which is redistributed on surfaces in a complex way, thanks to refraction and reflection. Fortunately, LED technology now allows us to reproduce and reinterpret the dynamic nature of natural light both indoors and outdoors.

Lluria Xperience reMM
Lluria Xperience. reMM

Benefits
Static lighting affects the way we perceive our environment, whereas dynamic lighting has the added ability to influence our emotions and sensations. Because it is flexible and customisable, it helps create comfortable, adaptable spaces that are more centred on the human being. Dynamic light also provides more experience- and sensory spaces, whether by amplifying our feelings, as in commercial shops, concerts and events, or by helping us to reconnect with ourselves, in more private and relaxing spaces, where the changes in brightness and tone can generate feelings of wellbeing. When dynamic lighting imitates the natural rhythm of the day and night, it helps to improve our inner biological clocks.

But what are the most common applications of dynamic lighting?

Vivienda particular. Bellaterra. Vié iluminación.
Private house. Bellaterra, Barcelona. Vié iluminación.

Connecting with the outdoors / Imitating daylight
A paradigmatic case of this would be an office, where the quality of natural light is fundamental, according to WELL certification standards. Dynamic lighting can adapt to the tasks and needs of each user, making for better attention and concentration.

For industrial work, dynamic lighting ensures the workers’ state of alertness and concentration, fostering greater safety.

Similarly, in the school setting, it has been proven that students’ performance improves significantly under dynamic lighting. The youngest children particularly benefit from a type of lighting that supports their activity and rest periods.

And in homes that lack natural light, the changing patterns of the lighting help the people to feel more connected with the outside world.

Hotel SB Glow. inSense + Alado Studio

Achieving flexibility in use
In places like the hotel lobbies, event reception halls, multipurpose halls and auditoriums, dynamic lighting can quickly transform and adapt the spaces to the specific type of event or to new uses, and it is unquestionably an advantage when it comes to selling services.

Restaurante Origen. Ainara Arevalo
Restaurante Origen. Ainara Arevalo

Changing the mood or the perception of the space
A simple change in intensity or colour temperature can have an enormous effect on our perception. In the case of entertainment establishments, restaurants and bars, the variations throughout the day, with brighter and more energetic light during the hours of sunlight and a more diffused and warmer light from sunset onward, for example, can have a direct effect on users and their consumption habits.

Museo Egipcio Barcelona
Museo Egipcio Barcelona

Highlighting products, objects and works of art
In commercial and leisure and entertainment sites, shop windows and hospitality centres, yet also in museums, the use of dynamic lighting, whether in white or other colours, enables us to emphasise the objects on display, guide the visitor and communicate brand identity. It also enables us to evoke a given mood or recreate an inspiring environment, reinforcing the story that is being told. In commercial architecture, LED lighting can be truly dynamic, allowing for virtually infinite variations in colour temperature, colour reproduction and saturated colour.

Roca Gallery. Barcelona. inSense
Roca Gallery Barcelona. inSense

Dynamic lighting for outdoors and façades
The advantage of implementing dynamic lighting in urban spaces is its capacity to generate a visually more alluring and sustainable setting. Though it is advisable to avoid bombarding the senses when calling people’s attention, dynamic lighting improves the use of the spaces, and cities are opting for permanent and temporary lighting installations, thanks to their ability to attract visitors.

Lluria Xperience. reMM
Lluria Xperience. reMM

Lighting and music
The design of dynamic lighting is closely related to music, as a sequence of dynamic patterns, rhythms, phrases and events that take place in time. Moreover, light and sound are two materials that when brought together mutually reinforce one another and enhance our sensory experience. As a result, it is hard to find music without dynamic lighting, which is essential at concerts, events and discotheques.

BGA Ganjilk Mall.
Ganjlik Mall. Lighting Design Collective

How to design dynamic lighting
Dynamic lighting requires careful planning to ensure that it satisfies the needs of the people, the space and the intended uses of the space. It is a detailed process that will generate a flexible space envisaged to improve the human experience; a space that can be adapted to new uses and new technologies. The idea is not to play with flashy lighting effects that can ultimately become tiresome, but rather to plan out a lighting that provides real added value to the space and the users.

Hence, the first step is to understand the needs of both the space and the user. Next, the different settings of the space must be defined, documenting and discussing them with the client who will be using the space. The following step is to decide on the most suitable type of dynamic lighting and the control system, as well as defining whether the dynamism will be automatic or whether it will require some sort of user interaction. Finally, the envisaged settings will be viewed, making any necessary adjustments during construction.