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There’s no place like home

Gone are the days of incandescent light bulbs and limited possibilities for your lighting choices. It’s 2018 and with the rapid movement of technology in addition to evolving, innovative design, luminaires come in all shapes and sizes to appropriately compliment and create moods for various architectural applications.

It’s no secret homeowners generally overlook the initial lighting concept, usually focussing solely on the design layout; the colour of the walls, or furniture choices. As lighting serves a significant purpose in both functionality and aesthetics, lighting designers from all around Australia are rallying together to educate further the boundless opportunities in which lighting choices can create.

Lighting contribution is an integral part of any residential design, just ask Danielle, who is all too familiar in assisting with this fundamental task. Having worked in the industry for the last eleven years and appearing on The Block, an award-winning renovation show for her guidance in lighting choices. Danielle firmly believes that because people are currently investing so much in architecture, lighting is more vital than ever and that the two go hand in hand.

Middle Park Project, by Architecton Photographed by Jack Lovel

Notably, within the last ten years, lighting has changed dramatically, evolving from a passive element of the home to an opportunity in creating desirable environments and taking complete control of each design. The role of lighting design has grown exponentially, from placing countless downlights everywhere, to education in sourcing various luminaires for the home to compliment each structural characteristic. Danielle says her fundamental goal over the years has been to teach and inform her customers on other ways to light a space. She states that with the aid of mediums such as social media, that stagnant mentality has finally shifted, especially with the opportunity to showcase the latest products and projects via these accessible platforms. In particular Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz have reshaped our ideas and provided affordable design inspiration to creatives, along with everyday homeowners.

With LEDs dominating the market due to their efficiency and long lifetime, diverse applications have now become readily available. Danielle discusses the changes lighting has seen over time; from halogen to fluorescent, to LED. In regards to LED, Danielle believes that not only can designers now create a better colour rendered space, but a more sustainable approach can be applied.

When it comes to the initial stages of lighting an area, being spatially aware is imperative, as ceiling height and size of the space always needs to be considered so that the room is lit appropriately. Danielle confirms that above all, you need to understand the client, who they are and what they are going to do in that space. A needs analysis should be completed prior, to know how the client is going to meander through the area. “Do they have children, are they single, do they entertain a lot?” Danielle remarks. With the idea that the light doesn’t always need to assert downwards, Danielle does a lot of uplighting and pin spotting on walls. This aids in keeping an open and soft environment, and refrains from creating a closed in setting. Given each client has different needs, it is imperative that the design journey embarked upon is entirely tailored. “Of course, there are similar principles in every design but the way I apply these depend primarily on the need for the life that exists in the space and the personality of the structure itself,” she states.

Display home by Mazzei Homes, Photographed by SMCD Photography

When approaching residential lighting, one must consider reflectance, surfaces, materials, natural daylight, colour, style and vision. Danielle exemplifies that it is easy to light a bathroom with an understanding that all the tiles will be white, however, if the client changes to a dark tile last minute, the way the light emits is going to be entirely different. Scenarios like this confirm why hearing your clients vision throughout and understanding the truth behind the build is so important.

With the current importance placed on lighting designers, Danielle firmly believes it is an opportunity to tell the story of the build for each home. “It truly is the accessory of the home; it creates movement, dimensions, it’s what gives the build life,” she reinforces. Continuing, “Gathering data on the build, talking and reading plans are all part of the job for lighting designers, as they share the journey, the knowledge, the passion and from there, the client can feel empowered to make their own choices.”

As lighting is an element of styling, the choice can entirely make or break a rooms feel. As far as trends go, there has been much more of an organic selection going on for 2018, with more and more natural materials used amongst the home. Danielle states that from her clients, there is a push for more daylight, liking to an airy feel, which the light then needs to transcend. Homeowners have fallen in love with soft colours with an emphasis for rustic finishes and metals, along with the minimal approach of clean lines and less clutter.

“In today’s financial climate, consumers are investing in their bricks and mortar more than ever. They recognise the value of a property and spend a great deal of money and time in the planning stages of their build, enlisting in architects who are producing work that rivals the best in the world,” Danielle explains. From this, the critical role of lighting in residential spaces is recognised, and with this light, the build awakens. “The light reflects our life and our character, and often this is the only static fitting that offers a decorative tone,” states Danielle. Establishing that designers now possess the confidence in their skill to change the entire atmosphere of a home with light.

Designed by Aimee Tarulli, built by Thomas Archer Homes Photographed by James Geer

Danielle states that in residential lighting, the scale of a build can vary from a small three bedroom home renovation to a multi-million dollar display home, “each have their complexities,” she remarks.

A particular favourite project Lights Lights Lights undertook was the lighting design for Aimee Tarulli’s home. Aimee is a renowned interior stylist in Melbourne and was eager to embark on the lighting journey with Danielle. “We spent a great deal of time discussing the lighting design, it was all about the education in different colour temperatures, CRI and beam control,” Danielle comments. Given Aimee had such a clear vision and style for the house, Danielle knew exactly what she wanted from merely looking at the two-dimensional plan.

This home had a lot of glass, so an enormous amount of natural daylight came through, it was because of this that Danielle and Aimee decided to pick black tracks and surface mounted canisters to create contrast. The lighting selection also involved a good quality warm white light that had a high CRI. “We made every effort to offer an aesthetically pleasing space without compromising functionality in any way,” Danielle remarks. She concludes that multiple components showcase Aimee’s personality in the home, and light plays an integral part in that.

Danielle discusses another favourite project of hers, Belmore Road Display Home built by Mazzei Homes, explaining the design was sustainable in her approach and that every light had a purpose. She says there was a layered lighting solution created that offered flexibility and control while maintaining a strong focus on an artistic and appealing design. Continuing that the home was curated by the renowned David Bromley of Bromley and Co, so close attention was paid to beam control and glare which gave complete justice to his featured art. Dan Webster Architecture designed the space, with an emphasis on natural light and freedom of space which was clear from the outset of the build. For this reason, lighting selections were kind to the presence of large voids and open spaces.

Danielle expands on her passion for lighting design by exploring an extraordinary and original art deco building that was once a post office and has now been transformed into a trendy cafe, called Postmistress. “The brand epitomises an Italian love affair, and the design felt very close to my heart,” she explains. Using track in the functional areas for flexibility and creating custom pieces in colours that reflected their story, Lights Lights Lights assessed the needs of the brand, the client, the build and brought the restaurant in West Brunswick to life.

Danielle thrives on the idea of lighting design for residential homes that no two houses are the same and that you can create a new story with every build. For lighting designers, concepts are limitless. Business is just one aspect of Lights Lights Lights while creating a space that empowers the community in knowledge for lighting choice is the other.