Total LED Lighting
The first picture below is from VosLED, a company founded by the designer Marcel Jean Vos, creator of the Vos Pad, the first apartment in the world to be lit entirely using LEDs (way back in 2003).
The only lighting used in the place is LED and the specific effect shown (termed “full ambient lighting control”) is down to the Minicubeus and (embedded in the floor) color changing Orbit wall wash LEDs, both produced by ACDC Lighting Systems based in Lancashire.
The underlying engine (should you be interested in trying this yourself at home, but without forking out for expensive design consultancy) is the Philips Lumileds Luxeon Rebel LED. If that name is starting to give you a headache already, then let’s break it down for you.
Philips co-founded Lumileds Lighting but later took full control and so it is now a division of Philips Lighting. Luxeon is Lumiled’s trade name for their range of high-power LEDs and the Rebel is the smallest of the range and also available in a variety of white shades and various colors. If you want to know more then knock yourself out, but the gist of it is that it is a quality, versatile and powerful LED with many uses.
As you can easily pick up from such photographs, the key is using a lot of relatively low powered LED lights that reflect off adjacent surfaces, be they wall, floors, ceilings or furniture.
You can also very simply create a “floating coving” effect, either using carefully aimed wall wash lights or rather more easily and cheaply with concealed LED light strips.
Note that concealment is very much the name of the game with LED lighting design – you want to see the effect of the light, not the light itself.
It’s a complete world away from light shining out of a light fitting – the light is bounced off other items in the space and so the wall, for example, appears to be the light source itself. But you don’t have to stop at creating this kind of futuristic ambient lighting.
These next photographs illustrate how you can blend old and new beautifully with these LEDs set into the side of an old wooden staircase. Alternatively just add a decorative touch with colored LED buttons set into a wall or board.
These don’t provide much in the way of actual illumination but they sparkle like nothing else you could imagine and help create a magical/fantasy feel (a magnet for small and rather larger children alike).
And why restrict yourself to LED lighting indoors when LED garden lights can be used to create stunning effects outdoors. Now admittedly this color changing uplight effect on a large tree in Geneva requires a fair bit of horsepower (and is most effective when the tree is not in leaf) but in principle you could apply essentially the same idea to your own garden.
If you look carefully you can see that many color changing LED spotlights are connected together and synchronised (the hard part) so as to all change in unison.
Talking of color changing light effects, if you want LED mood lighting in your home so as to, for example, create different effects in your lounge then you can just buy kits specifically designed for domestic use.
Philips (again) offer two ranges called Living Colours and Living Ambiance that allow you to control and programme any number of lighting units to create an almost endless variety of coordinated color schemes.
They have this slightly daft video to demonstrate the technology but it does at least give some idea as to what’s possible and how it’s done. Obviously, if you want to install this kind of system it works best when the decor is fairly neutral and muted.
And of course, there’s nothing to stop you mixing conventional lighting design using simple LED downlights with some of these more extravagant ideas to switch modes or alter the balance between the two styles. Just put them on different lighting switches and if you can, also use LED compatible dimmer switches (but see caveat above regarding LEDs and dimmers).