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Building Today, Volume 1 Number 2 (January 1937)

Living With Light

page 42

Living With Light

To deal fully with all aspects of Home Lighting in an article of this size would be a difficult matter, for a moment's thought will be sufficient to bring to mind the innumerable types of homes which call for different treatment. Those who advise, need more than a knowledge of lighting data, which would serve when planning an installation in a factory or an office, for scientific knowledge cannot be applied to the home without careful discrimination. The element of personal taste is a strong one which will often revolutionise all previous ideas. To combine science and art is the ideal. Present-day culture has made our homes places of beauty, comfort and convenience, but for many hours of home life we are dependent on artificial light to enable us to enjoy those benefits. Unhappily, many homes of to-day are less than half lighted, according to the reasonable ideals and principles of the present time, while the cost of good lighting sinks into insignificance when compared with the cost of furnishing and decoration… Physicians recognise that lighting conditions play an important part in life, and the eyes are the first members to be injured by a glaring light source, or to be strained through insufficient light. The evil of glare is only too prevalent in many homes, the most common example being that of an unshaded lamp left exposed to the eye. The other cause of eye strain is due to insufficient light to pursue in comfort the many "close" occupations, such as reading, writing and sewing. These two evils, Glare and Gloom, can be abolished in every room in the house if certain rules are followed. These are of fundamental importance, and might be considered under three headings.

page 43

Prevention of Glare

All lamps used in the home should be adequately shaded or completely concealed from view. The use of the brilliant, clear gas-filled lamp unshaded, or in conjunction with glass shades, which do not shield the filament from view, can only result in discomfort, due to glare, and a decidedly detrimental effect on the decorative scheme of a room.

Design of Fittings.

The purchase of lighting fittings should be undertaken with the object of obtaining lighting effects plus artistic appearance. A lighting fitting should, in the first place, conform to the needs of adequate illumination, and its uses as a distributor of light must not be subordinate to appearance. Since the recognition that utility and beauty is a lighting ideal easily obtainable, linking up the furnishing and decoration of a room with its illumination has become a well established principle. Shades, which in the first place serve to hide the lamp from view and prevent glare, can be made to strike an added note of beauty in a room already harmoniously conceived. A colour scheme in curtains, furniture covers and wallpaper may be given the final touch by a shade to tone and blend with the rest of the room or strike some happy note of contrast.

Position of Lighting Points

An installation which eliminates glare and gloom and at the same time achieves artistic effect can only be called complete when the various lighting fittings are placed to give maximum service.

Illustrations by courtesy of Electric Fitments Ltd.

Illustrations by courtesy of Electric Fitments Ltd.

Lamps are frequently blamed for disappointing lighting effects, whereas the result is often due to the dark surroundings of the room. As much as 80 per cent. of the light falling on the dark walls and ceilings may be absorbed. Bracket lighting with dark wall surfaces is the most costly method of lighting.