Lighting Design Trends Since 1970
According to Ted Ferreira in his article, The Latest In Lamps, appearing in Lighting Dimensions in October 2001, “artificial lighting affects the lives of billions of people around the world each day”. Ferreira also contends that “. . . lamp manufacturers continue to introduce new products and technology at a pace which might surprise even Messrs. Edison and Swan.” Here he was referring to Thomas Alva Edison and Joseph Wilson Swan, who established the Edison and Swan United Electrical Lighting Company, 120 years ago, inventing and producing some of the world’s first carbon-filament incandescent lamps.
Over the last century, the lamp and lighting industry has literally exploded with innovation. It was just over a century ago when families delighted at the Pan American Exposition’s exterior in Buffalo, New York, where bare electric bulbs illuminated and decorated the way. However, incandescent lights are not much in demand anymore. “Nearly everything new today [in lamps] requires either a ballast or a transformer,” notes Edward Effron, specification marketing consultant for Philips Lighting in Los Angeles. Based on industry statistics in 2001, fluorescent lighting itself accounted for more than 80% of the artificial lighting used in the United States. (source: Ted Ferreira, principal of LA-based City Design Group, is a lighting and show systems consultant specializing in themed facilities. http://citydesigngroupinc.com/) By 20012, nearly 75% of Americans were using CFL light bulbs.
Use of an artificial source of light for illumination is a key element of architecture and interior design. Residential lighting uses mostly incandescent or fluorescent lamps. Residential lighting also frequently depends on movable fixtures plugged into outlets; the built-in lighting is usually in kitchens, bathrooms, and corridors. Sometimes one sees built-in lighting also in the form of hanging pendant lights in dining rooms and sometimes living room recessed fixtures. Nonresidential lighting is typically fluorescent. High-pressure sodium-vapor lamps (see electric discharge lamp) are more efficient and often utilized in industrial applications. Halogen lamps are found in the residential, industrial, and photographic markets. Depending on their fixtures, lamps and bulbs generate a myriad of lighting situations. Incandescent lamps placed in translucent glass globes create diffused effects. Additionally, in recessed ceiling-mounted fixtures with reflectors, they evenly illuminate walls or floors. Fluorescent fixtures are normally recessed and rectangular, with prismatic lenses, but other types include indirect cove lights and luminous ceilings, in which lamps are placed above suspended translucent panels. Mercury-vapor and high-pressure sodium-vapor lamps are placed in simple reflectors in industrial spaces, in pole-mounted streetlight fixtures, and in indirect up-lighting fixtures for commercial applications. (Yahooligans lighting 2003)
Among all electrically operated light sources, however, incandescent and halogen lamps remain the most popular for decorative lighting in addition to applications which demand excellent color rendering. Halogen / IR lamp technology utilizes an infrared reflective coating on the tungsten halogen lamp capsule, which refocuses waste heat back onto the filament, resulting in higher light output without increasing lamp wattage. Such lamp characteristic makes it easy to address design applications that require more light output but aesthetically need a smaller lamp.
Despite these innovations and continuous advances in existing incandescent, halogen, linear and compact fluorescent, metal-halide, and high-pressure sodium fabrication methods, lamp manufacturers are speeding along a parallel track to develop the next generation of lamp technology. Organic light emitting diodes [OLED], high-brightness RF electrode less sources, and LED chips are some of the newest and most exciting areas of research in lighting, with the promise of low energy consumption, rated life in excess of 100,000 hours, and extremely low heat.
According to the American Lighting Association, specific modern styles that have developed since 1970 are, Arts & Crafts/Mission, Contemporary, French Country, Global Chic, Traditional, Tropical / British Colonial, and Victorian.
There is also a description of today’s looks following four major developments as stated by experts of the American Lighting Association (ALA). They are described below.
1. Softer metals. Brushed nickel, stainless steel, pewter, even brushed copper, have done their best to dethrone brass as the top finish choice. The softer tones of these gray metals make it easier for a lamp to blend with a multi-toned interior, according to Dan Blitzer, the American Lighting Association’s technical lighting consultant.
2. Painted finishes. Multi-toned colored finishes offer consumers lamps with more depth and texture. Expect to find colored finishes with a soft tone that may include gold or silver flecks and tones of brown and red. Textured white finishes are also widely popular.
3. More authenticity. Developing hand-in-hand with painted finishes, are weathered finishes and patinas, which offer a unique, timeless look. “This is the next antique brass,” says Monty Gilbertson, CLC. “It’s a soft, traditional look.”
4. Better detail. “Today’s fixtures are more refined,” says Blitzer. “There’s more attention to detail.” Nearly every aspect of the lamp, from the base to the pull chain, has earned more decorative detail, giving the lamps greater sophistication.
Next, it isn’t possible to consider the weight of lighting in home decor without considering one of the lamp’s most decorative features – the lampshade. It too, has evolved from the days of limited choices. Shades have taken on a more decorative look with a variety of shapes, fabrics, and adornments. Materials from metal and paper to tapestry and sheers, beads, stones, wire, fringe, and myriad accoutrements have made it onto shades. Whether it is crystal or beads or whatever… It’s been a growing trend for several years. Certainly, the off-white A-frame silk shade in its traditional form is available, but why stop there when you can customize a lamp with shades shaped in cylinders, spheres, rectangles, and squares?
Each year lighting designers and manufacturers combine fashion with function to create decorative lamps and fixtures that do more than simply illuminate. Consumers, too, have seen the light.
Decorative wall sconces, chandeliers, table lamps, and floor lamps in variety of shapes, styles and finishes elevate a room from drab to dramatic with the flick of a switch. While traditional, polished brass fixtures still form the central core of the decorative lighting business, a variety of options have become more important in recent years.
“The mindset on decorative lighting has changed from thinking of a lamp as a keepsake to considering it more as a home-fashion accessory.” says Larry Lauck, vice president, communications, of the American Lighting Association. “People now buy new decorative lighting every few years to update their interior, as opposed to buying one lamp, keeping it forever and passing it down to their kids.” Some lamps boast bases crafted to mimic the branches of a tree. Neo-classic designs, complete with acanthus leaves, ivy and fluting, remember Caesar and the Coliseum. Still others borrow their beauty from the Biedermeier style of the early 19th century for modern-day élan.
Like the rest of the house, decorative lighting reflects our changing lifestyles. “There is a greater emphasis on informal style in home decor today,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, American Lighting Association Consulting Director of Education and Director of the Lighting and Design Center at the University of Kentucky. Lighting designs follow larger forces, like housing and furniture trends. Today’s new homes feature relaxed, open interiors with flowing floor plans and coordinated furniture. Decorative lighting’s brightest ideas work to illuminate these spaces. As a result, more homeowners are coordinating lamps and fixtures by room, say industry experts, creating harmonized vignettes that emphasize decorative lighting.
Some information on the fabrics used — Mission and Arts & Crafts-inspired styles serve up a selection of lighting with an unpretentious elegance. Metal and hardwood bases combine with angular shades in glass, mica or mica-patterned fabric to re-create the clean lines popularized by designers such as Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright. One is also encouraged to look for other shade materials like Duponi silk, mica and linen, as well as patterns ranging from urbane tapestries to exotic animal prints. Shades of blue, brown and rich black gain importance, balancing the more expected white options. 2. Finishes are equally varied. Brushed and satin finishes are important because they soften hard edges in a design. A finish adds a decorative touch, allowing the fixture to blend into the decor.
Furthermore, brushed nickel offers contemporary chic. Antique brass reminisces of a Wyoming lodge. Hammered metal begs to accent lush brocades and East Indian batik prints. Moreover, Other popular finishes are bronze and browns. Look for neutrals, pewter for a high-tech look, and patina or verdigris.
The clean lines of these styles fit into the interior decor of most people’s homes. Decorative lighting inspired by the stained glass beauty of Louis Comfort Tiffany continues to gain importance with homeowners as well. Accent and floor lamps, sconces, and chandeliers in cast metal with glass shades in soft tones and floral patterns work well in a variety of settings. “Tiffany style lamps have also done well, but they are more unique, collectible pieces to feature in a home. The affect of lighting colored glass has always been a favorite for consumers because they bring life, vibrancy and warmth to any room.”
Decorative lighting manufacturers depend on such ornamentation and detailing to catch consumer’s attention. A homeowner surrounded by pine trees, might choose lamps embellished with pine-needle filigree. Those with square windows might opt for T-bar designs to accentuate that detail. Many companies also offer post and column lights, as well as interior and exterior lights so consumers can continue a chosen theme throughout their property. Design Trends for 2000/2001 reflect a fresh attitude about color and style. The new looks are softer and gentler on the eyes. Color is real and understandable. Design styles range from Traditional, with an updated softer and less formal look. Neutral colors with bright accents. The new classics are wonderful. Classic styles mixed with new casual accents give this look an updated look. Mission has become a very popular look. Warm wood tones, older furniture pieces mixed with new add a modern twist to this comfortable look.
Color & Lighting Trends
Color is the easiest and least costly way to transform a room. Even the subtlest hue when applied on all the walls will make a room feel new and updated. Learning the colors you like best and can live with is an important first step. This year’s Pantone color of the year is Emerald green while last year it was tangerine Orange. Bright colors in general have recently been hitting homes and fashion.
More and more Americans today are looking at their homes as place of refuge in stressful world of challenges and economic instability. Instead of going out to dinner or social events, they’re cocooning with their families. Now, more than ever, their homes need to be restful and soothing, yet stylish at the same time.
Few things make as much design impact on a room as the right lighting. The top trend in decorative lighting has little to do with style, shape or shade choices. Instead, it focuses on the new mindset of the consumer. Homeowners are beginning to seek out lighting as decorative elements. Lighting should be planned to complement your lifestyle.
Finishes range from rich and refined to lustrously weathered. We are moving away from shiny brass and china to more burnished, brushed and hand painted finishes. Hand painted doesn’t mean simply white enamel with painted flowers. Instead, think multi-toned finishes with depth and texture — layers of color; hand-rubbed, burnished metal; finishes flecked with gold or silver and rubbed so color shines through.
People are moving away from the plastic and resin look that used to be so popular in newer homes, and we’re seeing a return in popularity of the old world look — brass and copper, crystal chandeliers… There is also a move toward heavy iron, and rust finishes are still important as is oil-rubbed bronze glass is becoming more a preference for homeowners them.
People are using recessed cans as a primary source; under-cabinet lights to brighten up areas where tasks, like meal preparation, are preformed; and they’re lighting up the toe space and top of the cabinets with ambient lighting that showcases them.
Environmentally friendly fixtures are in – just like every aspect of interior decorating, eco conscious lighting is brightening the day for eco conscious homeowners. Dimmer switches help keep energy usage down, as do automated lighting control. Look for lighting to go more high tech as this trend continues.
Organic Materials: Corresponding with greater interest in more energy efficient and environmentally friendly lighting, look to see more organic materials such as bamboo and wood veneer table lamp bases.
A lot of companies have brand new decorative chandeliers and pendants and table lamps out each year that take compact fluorescent bulbs rather than incandescent ones. Compact fluorescent bulbs last longer and are dimmable so they use less energy than your everyday incandescent.
These days, people are spending more time than ever before on their terraces, decks and patios, and since they’re become an extension of the house, they need to be lit up. Realizing the emergence of a new market, lighting manufacturers are adapting their most popular designs to outdoor living, using materials that can stand up to the elements.
Homeowners are using more intense colors not only for accents but throughout entire rooms. Because residential interiors are incorporation more intense paint colors — not only as accent walls, but throughout an entire room — more light is needed to properly illuminate a room. Vibrant color and bright lighting take center stage in the top ten decor trends for 2009. Colors are across the spectrum with Fuchsia Red, Salmon Rose, Palace Blue, Lavender, Rose Dust and Vibrant Green predicted to be popular, according to the Pantone Color Institute.
The Pantone Color Institute has just published a report on the top colors for fall 2009 as described by designers showing at New York fashion week. Pantone’s executive director says that the colors chosen are “a direct outcome of what’s happening in the world around us”. See the top 10 colors and what percentage of designers used the color after the jump http://www.porhomme.com/2009/02/fall-2009s-most-popular-colors/
Today, colors are no longer selected simply because they share the same value: this is as true of solid color fabrics as it is for print and patterns. Instead, combinations are intentionally chosen for the contrast they provide. Light and dark contrasts are an important story. They will be found in monochromatic color stories, featuring light tones and strong dark or bright accents.
Lighting is what gives your room its character and comfort. Good lighting relaxes, warms and relays a comfy place to read or the right atmosphere for entertaining. Table lamps are trending along with background lighting. Of course, accent lighting and wall washes can always create a dramatic look in any room.
The Latest in Lamps – Date: 10/01/2001; Publication: Lighting Dimensions; Author: BYTED FERREIRA Lighting Dimensions
Yahooligans / Britannica.com – Modern lighting trends