For most of the projects that I work on I have been recommended to my clients by someone such as a friend or another professional on their project like their Interior Designer, Electrical Contractor, Main Contractor, Architect or Lighting Controls Designer.  For some, they have come to me because they have used a Lighting Designer before and understand what one can bring to the party.  However, for others, they have been told by someone on their project that they need a Lighting Designer and they don’t always understand why this recommendation has been made.  So when I am asked what I will do for someone my “in a nutshell” reply is that:

  • I make everything that everyone else contributes to their project look its absolute best,
  • That clients get the types of lighting that they like without using ones that they don’t like
  • Ensuring that every space functions to its full potential,
  • And, that everyone gets the information and support that they need to make the lighting installation run smoothly.

That usually leads to a second question along the lines of “Oh, OK, and how do you do that?”  So, this is how I do that:

  • I take a brief from my clients and any other professionals involved, such as their Architect or Interior Designer to find out what types of lights they like or dislike and to understand the overall design schemes.
  • I identify the focal points in any spaces that have them and use lighting make sure that they can get noticed.
  • As a complete opposite, in doing the above, I can draw attention away from any undesirable areas.
  • I use lighting make large spaces look and feel smaller and more intimate.
  • I use lighting to make small spaces look larger.
  • I use lighting to add visual interest to otherwise bland spaces.
  • If there is an Interior Designer on a project, I liaise with them to ensure that I interpret their work so that it looks the way they want it to look.
  • I can assist Interior Designers with decorative lighting suggestions as the lighting companies that market to Lighting Designers are often completely different to those marketing to Interior Designers. We can open each other up to so many more possibilities.
  • If there is no Interior Designer on a project, I ensure that any decorative lighting, such as ceiling pendants or wall lights, are in proportion to the spaces they are going into (unless they are deliberately chosen to be over proportion). If I had a pound for every time that I’d rescued clients from wasting money on ceiling pendants that were so long that they would have walked into them…
  • I ensure that the tasks required of a space can be handled effectively.
  • I build in “layers of light” to allow changes of atmosphere and mood depending on how my clients feel or want to feel.
  • I specify the right lights for each of their jobs and to meet the budget – so please give me a budget to work to as the difficulties of working without a declared budget is a whole complete other blog post of its own!
  • I ensure that the colour temperatures of all of the different lighting products are a close match – unless it’s part of the design that they shouldn’t.
  • I create a lighting plan that shows the different types of lights in their locations, indicating with link lines which ones need to be operated together. I meet to discuss this through in detail so that my clients understand what they are getting and to take feedback to incorporate into a revised version.
  • I provide detailed drawings and setting out drawings where this extra level of detail or explanation is needed.
  • I discuss with my clients the pros and cons of using traditional light switches, dimmer switches and lighting control systems and indicate which are to be used on the lighting plan.
  • I create a detailed and completely transparent quotation so that all costs can be individually examined.
  • I produce a detailed lighting specification so that the main contractor and electrical contractor know exactly what they are dealing with thus ensuring accurate quotations for their work.
  • I can attend site to brief everyone involved before the first fix electrical works start and I suggest that I visit after that to check the work with a fresh pair of eyes and allow for any last minute changes that may need or want to be made.
  • If there is a lighting controls designer on a project, I provide a lighting control schedule that tells them how many and what type of dimmers or switches they need to allow for in the lighting control racks. I liaise with them regarding lighting control panel locations.
  • I ensure that the specification meets all of the current building and electrical regulations so that the works get passed by Building Control.
  • I can procure lighting ensuring that what’s required arrives at site when it’s needed, reacting to any obsolescence or long lead times with suggestions for substitute items.
  • I can pop in and check on the second fixing of the actual lighting, aiming any directional lighting so that it lights what it needs to light and getting up ladders or crawling around on the floor if I need to.
  • I can work with Lighting Controls Programmers to set the lighting scenes to create exactly what I had planned for.
  • Sometimes, I even dress decorative lighting so that the electricians can be getting on with what they need to do and no-one else can do.
  • I can produce an objective lighting snagging list and an O&M Manual that helps with future maintenance.

Have you used a Lighting Designer before?  Why did you choose to use one?  What do you think you got that you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t used them?  I’d love to know your thoughts so please add a comment to this post.

Do you know anyone who is considering using a Lighting Designer and isn’t sure what they are going to get from using one?  Please feel free to share this post with them.

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