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Interior lights


The modern light interior — it is not only a well thougth over combination of architectural volumes and decorative elements, but lighting as well

Today the latter it is of paramount importance. One may suppose that, in this case, the human instinct, which is much older than the primeval one, is expressed here. All living being like light; in this respect, we are similar to plants and protozoans that are invisible to the naked eye. Using light, the necessary accents can be achieved, functional zones can be singled out, and the direction of progress within a house could be marked. One and the same room could change its appearance greatly with different lighting used. Finally, the whole composition of the interior could be exclusively based on a combination of decorative lighting.

One could make his dreams come true in this respect not only in one- or two-storey private houses, but in apartment houses as well. For example, one architect decided to catch the rays of the setting sun using an enormous copper saucer resembling a satellite aerial. As a result, there was marvellous warm light in the room. No special techniques are needed for the work with artificial light. Its use is not limited by anything, and designers are happy with that, inventing quite incredible things sometimes. Sometimes, linear lamps are placed along the wall between the floor and the wall (the so-called light skirtboards), and the premises are lighted with diffused reflected light; or columns are made, where the capital and the base are connected with a "trunk" consisting of bright directional rays; or a glass table covered with white fabric is illuminated from below.

But, speaking about less exotic types of interior, two types of lighting are normally used: the overhead lighting and the lower lighting. The situation is more or less clear with the overhead lighting: this is either a chandelier or halogen lamps, which, in turn, could be either hidden or displayed. But it is impossible to tell about the “lower” lighting in a few words. 

This is the case when successfully designed “lower” lighting "keeps together" the composition of the whole room. Four voluminous round luminaires in multi-coloured surroundings not only perform their main function, but also serve as an effective wall decoration, being similar to windows. When the image of a window appears, the feeling of boredom caused by the sight of a windowless unsubdivided wall disappears. The mutual positions of the objects are also reasonable - quiet, stable. It should be mentioned that such a solution is suitable only if there is a laconic and sufficiently spacious interior, the colour solution for which is based on open colours.

The anterooms usually have their own “lower” lighting. It plays psychological rather than practical role there. An anteroom is not a simple zone. First of all, it is a kind of a “lock” between "one’s own" and "alien" space. Secondly, the guests get their first impression there about the house, which they have entered. As we know, the first impression is the strongest, and it is difficult to change it. Besides, “lower” lighting helps in the visual enlargement of small anterooms of standard flats: the corners are moved into darkness, blurring the actual size of the premises.

A few words about the organisation of “lower” lighting in a concrete entrance zone. Two luminaires on both sides of the door give a certain solemnity to the premises. The lighting of the cantilever for gloves, keys and purses is a sign of well-designed details of the interior. Table lamps could play a very important role within the interior. In this case, lighting fixtures are not needed for influencing the environment. Table lamps, being fully functional, assist their owners in reading or less important work, e.g. embroidery. It would not be convenient to do one’s home tasks under such a lamp, since only one book could be placed in its light circle. The suitable location for such a lamp would not be on a desk, but on a bureau, secretaire, or at the bed-head.

Strictly functional, anti-decorative approach to the interior is reflected in the interpretation of “lower” lighting. In this case, it is organised “without excesses”, so to say. There are no visual effects, no wish to conceal or stress anything. Everything is transparent, clear and calm. How to create such corners? A certain closeness and limitation of space are necessary, either imaginary or actual. If upholstered furniture is placed in a semicircle, it already creates the impression of closeness. Another option – to place an armchair (sofa) in a recess (not necessarily in a wall). It could be a space between two bookcases situated in a single line. Besides, a horizontal surface will be needed for a “nest" (a coffee table, shelf, chest of drawers). The main thing here is the individual lighting. 

The following items are preferable in this case: a standard lamp, table lamp (especially the traditional one, with a bowl-like base and shade made of fabric) or a wall lamp. The light circle, created by the shade, creates the impression of comfort and protection. The light intensity must be sufficient for reading. Too contrast lighting is not suitable – it leads to tiredness, which comes fast, and damages one’s eyesight.

How one can arrange “lower” light in the kitchen? The surfaces of working tables must not be in shadow in any case. In order to light them, the manufacturers of kitchen furniture offer cornices with built-in light sources, placed along the top of hanging shelves. Still, it is much more convenient to place light fixtures directly above the table. These could be tubular models attached to the bottom of hanging shelves, but their white light is not always pleasant to the eye. 

These could be wall lamps, placed in the "key" points of the working zone: above the sink, stove, bar. But their interfering light creates light breaks and forms extra shadow surroundings, thus creating certain inconveniences during the evaluation of quality; it can also change the visual colouring of food. 

The design of lamps used in the kitchen is somewhat technocratic, which is more or less justified, because kitchen is a kind of production facility. 

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Based on the publications in magazine "Idei vashego doma - Ideas of your house", No. 11, 2005