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 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

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

The three types of linear lighting in the home

iluminación lineal viviendas Lluria

Linear lighting has revolutionised the way interiors are conceived and designed. One example would be to consider how complicated it used to be to avoid putting in ceiling lights or to resolve details when it came to building light into the furniture. Today, linear LEDs, with all the available formats and finishes, have opened up an infinite array of possibilities for lighting solutions in all sorts of spaces and construction details.

In the home sector, there are countless linear lighting applications that make it possible to set up a perfect, flexible and visually appealing solution.

iluminación lineal viviendas Lluria
Baño vivienda. Solertia. VAM Arquitectos & Vié Il·luminació.

TYPES OF LIGHTING

There are three basic types of lighting that are combined and interact with one another, to create the ideal atmosphere in a home:

. General or ambient lighting
. Occasional or accent lighting
. Task lighting

Linear LEDs provide solutions for each of these types of lighting. So, in both this article and subsequent ones, we will be exploring the diverse applications that exist today for the different spaces that make up a home.

TIPOS DE ILUMINACIÓN Existen tres tipos básicos de iluminación con los que crear la atmósfera perfecta en una vivienda, combinándolos e interactuando entre sí: . Iluminación general o de ambiente . Iluminación puntual o de acento . Iluminación para tareas Los LED lineales aportan soluciones a cada una de estas tipologías, así que, en este artículo y en los siguientes, vamos a repasar las distintas aplicaciones que existen para los diferentes espacios que componen una vivienda.
Vivienda Bilbao

GENERAL OR AMBIENT LIGHTING

This type of lighting is designed to create an ideally uniform level of general lighting, to identify the space and enable users to move about within it safely. Generally speaking, the light emitted is soft, diffused or indirect and can be regulated to adapt to day and night-time setups. Usually, this lighting is not enough to enable users to perform certain activities beneath it or to highlight specific objects or elements around the room, yet it is fundamental to create sensations.

For this purpose, linear LED lighting is a major innovation, as it provides general lighting with no need to install any sort of recess or surface lights in the ceiling. For hidden general lighting using linear LEDs, here are some of the most frequently found solutions:

. Perimeter recesses facing the walls
. Perimeter recesses facing the ceiling
. Hidden indirect lighting above structural elements or furniture

Of course, linear lights can also be hung or installed on surfaces in plain view, if the idea is not to integrate the lighting into the architecture.

iluminación lineal viviendas Lluria
Vivienda en Vilanova. Saladie + Energia 32 Studios SLP-AMCA Architecture

TASK LIGHTING

This is an intense and direct source of light that is necessary for specific activities that are carried out in the home, such as reading, studying, working, cooking, putting on makeup, sewing, ironing and doing arts and crafts. It provides a greater level of light in the specific area where the activity is carried out, as an additional reinforcement to the general lighting. In this case, linear LEDs are placed closer to the work surface. The applications would be as follows:

. Linear lights built into the furniture (kitchens, offices, bathrooms and mirrors)
. Hanging lights close to the work surface
. Portable floor or table lamps

To be efficient, lighting must provide a considerable luminous flux that can be controlled at the same time, to prevent glares and visual fatigue.

iluminacion viviendas
Vivienda Barcelona. Punto Luz

ACCENT LIGHTING

Accent lighting is designed to highlight a specific object or area, generating a contrast with the ambient lighting. Accent lighting draws attention to certain elements in the home, such as architectural details, materials and textures, works of art, plants, and shelves featuring books or other objects, making each one of those elements a focal point in the space.

Traditionally, occasional and adjustable lights were used for this purpose, yet linear lighting is offering increasingly more solutions for these needs, with miniature LED lights and LEDS built into the furniture. Here are a few examples:

. Linear lighting built into details of the furniture
. Linear floor lighting
. Linear lighting for wall washing

The main aim of accent lighting is to draw the eye to a specific area, creating a point of interest and visual enjoyment.

iluminacion viviendas Lluria
Apartamento en Lanzarote. Maraba Studio

Hence, when selecting the type of lighting for a given area of the home, the first step is to identify the types of activities that will be carried out there. Very often, a single room in the home is used for several different purposes. For example, the living room can provide a reading area, a place to relax, a dining area and a place to watch television. In keeping with this conceptual framework, in the upcoming articles we will be offering you helpful guidelines for the use of linear lighting in specific household areas.