The art of lighting unconventional spaces
No matter the age, size or type of property, chances are that there’s an area that’s just a bit…awkward. We’re talking about those unconventional nooks, long corridors and non-90-degree corners. Those period vaulted ceilings and concrete office staircases.
And, whether you consider them to be a loveable quirk or a design headache, a creative use of lighting can bring interest from awkwardness.
Adding a bold focal point to your target area can create an anchor from which you can build the rest of the room’s design scheme – whether it’s a residential or commercial building. Lighting is often the perfect solution for this, especially if the unusual shape of the space means it’s devoid of natural light.
For example, when it comes to challenging corner areas or spaces that don’t quite form a 90-degree angle, a sculptural wall fixture like the Sticks can add some beautiful geometry to proceedings. Comprising three minimalist aluminium rods, each of which rotates on its own axis, the Sticks can trace individual points of light, as well as highlight the vertical space.
“Unique areas are often considered as a negative,but spaces that don’t conform to convention are actually the perfect place to have some creative freedom. Embracing those unusual corners or nooks can be the catalyst for a bolder overall design scheme. It’s about flipping the switch on awkward areas – don’t see them as awkward, see them as an opportunity.”
– James Mansfield, CEO at LSE Lighting
Many residential properties or converted commercial spaces have unusual alcoves, window seats,under-stair areas or other architectural features that are ripe for creating a cosy reading nook or office break-out space. You don’t just have to lean on accent lighting – consider highlighting the depth of the alcove with backlighting or adding extra illumination for some warm.
Period features are also a chance to highlight the property’s individuality – consider using a metallic light installation to change up the look of rustic exposed wood beams or brick chimney breasts, juxtaposing the industrial look of the metal with the natural warmth of the wood or brick.
Think layers, too. Using different heights and textures can add extra charm to your chosen spot. You could opt for a cluster of mouth-blown glass pendants, like the Giulietta, which comes with various cord lengths and colour finishes in rich colours and bold metallics.
While not an ‘awkward area’, per se, high footfall thoroughfare areas in open plan rooms can pose a design dilemma. Instead of adding a furniture feature, you could use a bespoke light to add that wow-factor, like this sweeping spiral glass pendant from our hotel bar project.
A different application for a walkway is the ambient zone in Newcastle Airport. We used a special linear wall washer to curate a gorgeous light distribution to set mood zones within the airport’s club rooms.
Large, angular stairways also call for creative thinking. After all, there’s a lot of space but little leeway for decorating this functional space. Use soft shapes to contrast the hard angles. We love the Palma collection, which comes in multiple globe compositions.
Even more interesting, is its use of integrating beautiful vegetation within the light fitting. Nature doesn’t conform to shapes or angles, it goes with the flow. So it’s the perfect way to soften a stairway, as well as using different layers and textures. With a multi-height composition, it’s something that can be appreciated at different levels – even for people entering the stairway from the lower level.
As we’ve seen, these previously unloved spaces may not be a good fit for traditional lighting solutions, but that’s what can make them special. Corners, alcoves and stairways have huge potential, and by playing to their strengths with a bespoke lighting solution,you can bring any ‘dead space’ right back to life!
Contact the LSE Lighting team today to discuss your next installation.
June 20, 2023