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

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.


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

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 lighting designer Mariel Fuentes of LDLuz

Mariel Fuentes LDLuz @alvarovaldecantos

Convinced that light is a silent partner with the ability to lead us into different moods, Mariel Fuentes has plunged into a personal exploration that has led her to unveil this material’s capacity to communicate and generate narratives of great visual impact. Her goal is to get perception and technology to work together, to benefit the end user.

You define yourself as an architect by trade and a lighting designer by choice. What is it about lighting that led you to choose this path for your professional career?

What I loved about light from the very first moment, even without knowing how important it would end up being for me professionally, was seeing that it was a language, a form of communication, a wonderful tool to generate and provide new perspectives for architecture, in both interiors and exteriors. Light can transform an architectural space or a landscape and it accompanies us in the story of the project, even when we’re talking about light art or art installations. And one thing that continues to fill me with wonder today is seeing that everyone, whether they’re professionals or not, has a special and very acute sensitivity to light.

Mariel Fuentes LDLuz
Holmes Place Yoga Studio. @Milena Rosés

How did a Chilean end up laying down roots in a faraway country such as Spain? Was it for personal or professional reasons?

Actually, it was a combination of the two. A friend from Chile recommended a master’s degree programme in lighting applied to interior design, which was offered at the University of Salamanca. It all began as an experience and I didn’t know where it was going to take me, but once I was in Spain and had finished my studies, I decided to move to Barcelona to seek opportunity in the field. That was how I started working at artec3 Studio, back in 2006.

Holmes Place Yoga Studio. @Milena Rosés

Ten years later, in 2016, you decided to set up your own studio, LDLuz. What sorts of projects do you take on?

Life is a constant learning process, and our professional lives are, too. In all the years that I’ve been working with architectural lighting, I have had great opportunities that have enabled me to continue to learn and that have given me immense experience in different types of projects. At the moment, at LDLuz we’re developing projects of all types: homes; restaurants and hotels—a field that especially interests me, given the very fascinating narrative that you can develop—; offices and multi-purpose spaces; and even façades. And another area that also really interests me, where I have worked with designer Michela Mezzavilla, are light installation projects.

Mariel Fuentes LDLuz
Holmes Place Yoga Studio. @Milena Rosés

In these times of COVID-19 and because of the period of confinement, many people have realised how important it is to have a home where they feel comfortable. Have you noticed a greater demand for home design and redesign projects?

Generally speaking, yes. Because I work with lighting design, lots of friends and people who are close to me have asked me for advice on how to improve their homes, their workspaces or their broadcasting rooms. And I’ve also received questions about the lighting for yoga rooms. People have realised that when you spend a lot of time in a place with the wrong lighting, it’s not only uncomfortable, but in the long run it leads to health problems.

Mariel Fuentes LDLuz
Mortitx House. @Toni Matos

As an architect and lighting designer, how important do you believe integrated lighting is in architecture? Do you recommend it in residential projects?

For me, there are two basic layers in the development of a lighting project: the one that allows you to read the space and the one that gives you the environmental and functional support to do different tasks. They work together, hand in hand. Yet in the first layer, the one that allows you to read the spaces and even underscore certain materials or generate a lighting composition, integrated lines of light become extremely important, both if the line is visible—if it’s built into a wall, floor, ceiling or piece of furniture—, and if it’s integrated invisibly, as would be the case of the recesses of indirect lighting. I have worked with some interior designers who at first didn’t acknowledge the importance of this and tended to avoid this lighting effect. But when I showed them how effective it was in generating a certain degree of dramatics or theatrics in the composition of the scenery, and even when creating a certain intimacy in lighting, they were the ones who asked me to incorporate indirect lighting lines into their projects, to highlight spaces and materials.

Mariel Fuentes LDLuz
Mortitx House. @Toni Matos

Do you use products by Lluria?

I have on many occasions. Right now, we’re finishing a project where we’ve used a specific technical solution by Lluria that has worked amazingly well. This residential project specified a reflecting pool with a special ozone treatment to prevent fungus and odours. We had found salt, chlorine, and other treatments of different kinds, but we’d never seen ozone. After checking with the technical departments of different manufacturers, we found the option of Wolf illumination by Lluria, which was the only one that gave me a 100% guarantee the submersion in this compound.


Mariel Fuentes LDLuz iluminacion viviendas
Vivienda San Carles

You combine your work at LDLuz with teaching. What motivates you to devote so much time to teaching? Is it vocation, economic reward…?

I’d say it’s more of a vocational thing that responds to the notion that good things should be shared. I love helping to initiate the students in the world of lighting and sharing with them the knowledge and experiences that I’ve acquired professionally. And I must say that you also learn when you teach. My students are as devoted to me as I am to them, and they enable me to keep an open mind to take in new input.

Mariel Fuentes LDLuz
(IN)MATERIAL. Milena Rosés

You’re also very active in professional associations. You form part of the APDI and the IALD. Why do you do this work?

I believe in the value of our profession, and I believe that together we can make our professional field better, bring it higher social acclaim. Dedicating yourself to something as magical as lighting design goes beyond borders. So, when we work together, we can really contribute a great deal to this discipline. Also, because I’m a very social person, I really enjoy the interaction and exchange of experiences that takes place when you form part of a professional association. I am very grateful to be able to share and expand my passion for light through these two associations.

Mariel Fuentes LDLuz
Crossfit La Huella, Nike. @Milena Rosés

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