MS Lighting Design takes the stage at Grand Designs Live

MS Lighting Design’s owner and lead lighting designer Marcus Steffen was absolutely thrilled to be asked to be a guest speaker at this year’s Grand Designs Live show in London. Held at Excel, Marcus delivered two engaging talks in the Design & Build Forum. His talks on bathroom and kitchen lighting pulled in quite a crowd who were keen to listen to Marcus’ expert advice on how to give your home the wow factor with your lighting design.

Marcus will be delivering more expert talks throughout the rest of the year, so keep an eye on our website and social media channels where we will announce more of Marcus’ guest speaker slots at a number of industry events.

MS Lighting Design secures double page feature in Arc magazine

Over the past few months the team at MS Lighting Design has been blown away by the successes we’ve secured, as well as the increasingly positive reputation we are achieving across the lighting industry.

As part of this, we were thrilled to secure a double page spread in the latest issue of Arc magazine. This leading industry publication is read widely across the lighting sector, so it was an honour to be included. The article features four of our stunning projects, as well as a profile of our company and how we are growing.

You can read the full article on pages 34-35 of the Feb/March issue of Arc.

MS Lighting Design featured in Park City Home magazine

MS Lighting Design was very proud to see our owner, award-winning lighting designer Marcus Steffen, interviewed in the Spring issue of Park City Home, a popular US interior design magazine. Here are a few snippets of Marcus’ expert advice:

Q: What takes lighting from functional to beautiful?

A: The secret is creating different levels of light. Look at the key lighting groups: task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent or feature lighting. When you’ve covered all of these — and ensured that they are adjustable in brightness — you create the kind of layered atmosphere that turns a house into a home.

In additional to bright lighting that attracts the eye to a beautiful feature — be it a dining room table or a piece of art — soft shadows can help draw attention to a lit area, as well as hide less attractive spaces. Homeowners should look at the lamp itself — that’s what lighting pros call the bulb — as well as the light fitting, which is known as the fixture in America. If you want to create soft light, for example, a chandelier with exposed bulbs can be very bright and will be right in your eyes. Adding dimmers will help control the brightness and subdue the glare.

Q: How do you put together a kitchen with good task lighting that also makes entertaining and dining a pleasure?

A: If you’re using a kitchen for other things besides cooking — perhaps it is home to a dining table or breakfast bar— you want something other than bright task lighting. Make sure the task lighting, which could be spotlights above or under the counter, focuses solely on the work surfaces. Then put pendants and wall lights on different switches. When you want to work, increase the task lighting. When you’re dining, the task lighting goes down and the other lighting comes into play .

You can read the full article here.

MS Lighting Design shortlisted for prestigious industry award

MS Lighting Design is absolutely thrilled to announce we have been shortlisted in the Lighting Design Awards in the highly-coveted Emerging Practice category. These prestigious awards recognise the best in class across the lighting industry, so to be selected for the shortlist by our peers is a true honour.

This huge achievement comes in the same year that MS Lighting Design will be turning five years old. Specialising in residential projects, since establishing in 2014 we’ve built up an enviable reputation having worked across London on some of the city’s most coveted properties. The company is also growing rapidly, increasing the headcount of staff as well as the number of projects we are working on every month.

As well as the many residential projects, MS Lighting Design was recently appointed by Inside Out Architecture, to form a partnership and deliver a number of airport executive lounges by No1 Lounges. The first of these was completed in December 2018, with more due to follow in 2019 and 2020.

The awards ceremony is taking place in May where the winners will be announced. You can read more about the awards on their dedicated website.

Thanks to everyone involved in the awards and the judging process for recognising the bright future MS Lighting Design has and the contribution we will continue to make to the industry.

Finding the right LED for you

LED is fast becoming the standard light source in the home. Knowing which one to buy can be very overwhelming in this competitive market. So what key information should you look out for?

Colour Temperature – How warm is your light

The colour temperature, measured in Kelvins, determines how cool or warm the white light is. LEDs can range from 1800K (orange/red light like glowing embers) to 6500K (cold blue/white light like daylight). Generally, for a home, a 2700K light source is best, giving the warm light like old incandescent lamps. If going with cool colour schemes, such as blues and greys, 3000K can bring the colour out better, though this should be tested.

Lumen Output – How bright is your light

We have been so used to the old incandescent lamps, and using the wattage, which is a measure of power used, as a guide of brightness, that it has now become very confusing. The luminous flux, measured in lumens, is the information that you should be looking for. This will tell you how bright a lamp is, and allow you to compare between different brands. As a reference, a 60W incandescent lamp had an output of around 600 lumens (lm).

General Tips

·        Don’t assume an LED is dimmable, check with the supplier to make sure it works properly

·        If lighting artwork, try to find LEDs with a colour rendering index (CRI) of 90+

·        Cheap LEDs will have poor colour matching, meaning they will be different shades of white. Look for manufacturers who offer good colour matching.

The key to good lighting in your home

Lighting a home is very different from lighting a commercial property. Some parallels can be drawn between hotels and residential lighting, but even they are very different. However, there are several key techniques that will help improve any lighting in a home, and these can even be applied without having to rewire the entire building.

Design with light...and shadow

Good lighting in a home is not about providing light everywhere, but really providing lighting to the right places. Even lighting will end up producing a bland lighting scheme, with the space appearing flat and uninteresting. Having light highlighting the correct areas, and leaving others in shadow is what creates the atmosphere.

Identify the key spaces

Identify where light is needed. This could be features in the room, such as artwork hung on the wall, architectural features such as columns, or task areas like a kitchen island. Work out how to light these, rather than apply lighting to the whole space. Keeping the lighting targeted to these areas will enable you to pick light fittings which are appropriate to that space, and avoid having unnecessary lighting in the room.

Adding atmosphere to an existing room

Rewiring can be a huge amount of work, but adapting your existing scheme to offer more targeted light can work for any space. For example, targeted lighting can be added to a seating area by using table or floor lamps with a solid shade directing the light onto the chair. Pendants can be moved by replacing the existing fitting with one with a longer cable, and then hanging it in the new position with a hook fixed to the ceiling.

Recessed Downlights - do you really need them?

Downlights (sometimes called spotlights) are ubiquitous in new builds and extensions. Seen as a more upmarket form of lighting than just a pendant in the room, it’s a common sight to spot neat little rows of them everywhere. But is this right? Is this the best way of lighting a space? The answer is no, and there are a multitude of pitfalls to the use of spotlights in properties. Many of the cheaper fittings have poor colour quality and produce lots of glare. Here are the top tips of when, and how, to use downlights.

It is about the light, not the light fitting

Good lighting is all about putting light in the right places, highlighting features and providing good task lighting. Think about where you need light. Downlights are very good at producing a beam of light, so if you want to highlight a piece of artwork, or a centrepiece on a table, then a downlight is an excellent choice. Make sure every downlight has a purpose.

Ignore Symmetry

Rarely is the architecture and interior of a room symmetrical, so neither should the lighting layout. Ignore neat rows, and put the lighting where it is needed. Unsymmetrical layouts will not be noticed, but having to do the washing up in the dark will be.

Make sure the downlight has anti-glare features

Most downlights have the light source at the front and it produces a lot of glare. Once there are a few in the room it will be uncomfortable and can cause headaches. Make sure the downlight has a baffle (which recesses the light source back) so that it is not visible. This will still produce a beam of light but will feel much softer.

Getting the most from lighting control

The general consensus about lighting controls is that their main benefit is to make things simple. In our mind, and surely for most people, this doesn’t mean having an endless number of buttons to press.

Having a lighting control system should make life easier, offering a straightforward approach that doesn’t require excessive amount of thought or effort. There is no sense in having a control system that ultimately needs you to adjust 6 different dimmers in a room, just to get the beautiful space you want to achieve - surely it should just be a simple as pressing a button, and the desired result happens.

Our advice would be this; think about how you use a room, and that will tell you how many buttons you need. For example, a dining room is a place used for entertaining and eating. So most homes will need a brighter setting for family dinners, and a more ambient setting for romantic dinners or entertaining guests. So with two purposes, that equates to two buttons.

The next question is of course, how do you get this? Make sure that the commissioning engineer or programmer does not finish their work until all of the lighting controls have been set up to your liking. In our experience, often they are waiting on others to instruct them on what to do, rather than be proactive. If they are not provided with any guidance, more often than not they will leave basic settings such as 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, and off, which ultimately means you are paying 10-20 times too much for having 1 dimmer for all of the lights in the room.

Lighting controls are amazing, but only if they are set up correctly to ensure they deliver the desired results, with minimum input from the user.