Vinyl SLighting

The locally quarried stone and stained concrete shapes that make up Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Fallingwater are key ingredients of its success, but the maintenance is expensive.  Natural stone needs care and mortar; concrete cracks and spalls.  So last year the Foundation that oversees Fallingwater made the sensible choice to reduce maintenance costs. They covered the house in... Continue Reading →

The Best & Worst Light Bulb

I finally found it: a light bulb that performs just like the beloved 60-watt incandescent. And I am very, very unhappy.  Angry. Because this pack of bulbs costs me $4 to buy but will lock me in to spending an extra $300 over the next decade.  And that's not the only downside.  Let me explain. I... Continue Reading →

Mix & Match Lighting

I live by the rules.  But am I wrong? One of those rules is to never mix warm white bulbs (yellowish) with cool white bulbs (bluish).  I learned this rule back in the fluorescent day by looking at ceilings where some bulbs were pink and some were blue and the end result is that the... Continue Reading →

Lighting isn’t brain surgery…?

I frequently hear myself saying that lighting is not brain surgery, that getting it right just requires the attention of a dedicated experienced professional. I might be wrong. (Not literally.  I could never do brain surgery because I would pass out as soon as the knife dug in.  I'm getting faint just thinking about it.... Continue Reading →

Change is the Only Constant

I am as guilty as the next lighting designer.  See my design above for proof. Once upon a time, light indoors depended on light through windows or flames from candles, lamps and fires.  The windows were automatically scheduled to turn on slowly in the morning and turn off slowly in the evening.  They changed intensity... Continue Reading →

Is Smart Lighting a Dumb Idea?

No. Er, Yes.  Wait a minute, is this a trick question? Retailers and websites are hawking new smart gadgets for our homes incessantly, essentially trying to do what Apple did for smart phones: make them cost a whole lot more.  There are smart coffee makers, smart pet feeders, smart doorbells, smart thermostats, smart irrigation systems,... Continue Reading →

Don’t Mock Me

Light is a tricky substance.  You cannot hear it, taste it, feel it, or smell it.  You can only see light when it comes directly into your eyes or bounces off of something.  It is predictable, so long as you can memorize the trillions of possibilities and recall the correct answer. I can't. Lighting design... Continue Reading →

Lighting & Learning

Today I delivered a presentation on layered lighting to the Toronto section of the Illuminating Engineering Society. At my request, one of my hosts scribbled "Great Presentation" on a napkin, so now I can officially add "internationally acclaimed" speaker to my self-congratulating biography.  Sounds pretty cool, eh?  Just another reason not to believe everything you... Continue Reading →

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