7 Lighting Tips By Glowing Structures [Guest Post]

September 08, 2020

Lighting is possibly the most important attribute for setting the scene for your special event and your venue.

In our latest guest blog post, we ask Melbourne-based lighting design company Glowing Structures for seven tips to do with effective, eye-catching lighting.

How do you work out the number of pendants you need to effectively light a certain area?
There is no single formula as pendants can emit varying levels of light but if they're grouped, they always look best in odd numbers (1, 3 or 5) as they look much more elegant and thought out. 

Consider the interiors and the use of the space. Are they being used purely for decoration and to add an element of evening ambience or does the light needs to be used in a practical sense?

Generally, decorative lighting is used to create ambience and mood lighting and is an addition to general lighting.

A kitchen island pendant must provide good even, bright and practical lighting. A decorative pendant that is beautiful and creates interesting dapples and throws shadows for example, is not ideal in a space where there is fine detailed work being performed.  

Some pendants are designed to not only look good but they can also provide excellent and practical lighting.

We're having our corporate Christmas party in our inner city office courtyard. We've got some ginkgo trees, box hedge and standard topiary trees in planter boxes but still want it to look Christmassy
Exterior lighting is where you can really have fun and add a little bit of magic.

Lighting from high up in the Gingko tree can create a beautiful dappled shadows through the canopy whilst adding play of light and shadows to the courtyard beneath.  

Uplighting box hedges and planting is an interesting way to create visual interest and highlight sculptural forms. Adding decorative lantern lights hanging from the tree will add ambience, and create the feeling of an outdoor room.

Use warmer coloured lighting to replicate candlelight. Introduce any other colours in small amounts and offset with other neutral lighting, otherwise the colours can be overwhelming.

Decide which features to light so that the your outdoor area is not overly, glaringly bright, but feels magical.
We want a permanently lit-up bar in our corporate boardroom. What would you suggest?
The main use of the room is as a corporate boardroom. By having bar lighting on a separate switch, you can switch the mood from daytime corporate to evening function.

A simple yet appealing way to light bars is through the bottles, by adding acrylic stepped shelving so the light can pass through the myriad of different liquor bottles to create a dazzling illuminated display.

When the boardroom is in use for meetings you can turn this off so that it is not the main feature in the room and it can be switched on for an eye-catching feature when the meeting is over! 
We're renovating our upscale French bistro. What are the types of lighting we can use that at our venue for visual impact?
A layered lighting scheme lets you produce various effects which can be combined according to requirements and times of the day.

Layering of light is built from various light effects and introduced at differing levels and positions.  A successful and balanced scheme relies on a combination of various effects.

Downlights can highlight tables and be dimmed for soft ambient dining mode.

Decorative pendant lighting will add visual focus and once dimmed creates a warm glow, like candlelight.

Uplighting features such as doorways and columns can emphasise height, adds light from a different direction, and draws the eye towards the features.  

Spotlights with a more intense beam or higher output can highlight art or create pools of light on tables to create a central focus that catches the eye.

Colour wall washing can really open up a small space and can reduce the amount of light needed elsewhere as the light is reflected back into the room.

By controlling all the effects and layers, they can be combined to create differing moods and perfect balance. Individually, these do not provide sufficient light but together they create an interesting space.
Our event is a makeup product launch. Our number one priority is soft, flattering lighting yet bright enough for the photographers to take shots. What should we look for?
For makeup it is crucial to be able to read the true colours of the products.

Light and colour quality is measured as Color Rendering Index (CRI) which measures the ability of a light source to accurately reproduce the colours of the object it illuminates.

CRI values of 90 and above are considered excellent. Scores below 80 are generally considered poor. Consider lighting the products with a high CRI light source.

To create flattering light you need a shadow-free space. A venue with good amounts of daylight pouring in would be ideal to achieve both these.

If there's no natural daylight, adding specific lighting to the products in a cooler tone with a high CRI light source highlights and optimises the products. Employ warmer, even lighting dimmed down around the venue with downlights with wide beams, tracks or decorative pendants to provide soft ambient, even illumination.

Dotting candles around the venue on tables always provides a lovely natural glow on faces that the camera loves.
We've seen events featuring projection mapping on Instagram. What do we need to do this effectively?
This is an amazing, theatrical effect.

The fittings and equipment to produce this are very specialised as they need to be positioned correctly for seamless overlapping of the effects  plus the programming to individualise is a unique talent.

There are many great theatrical lighting and AV companies that can help with this.

Older venues and architecture with columns and elaborate gargoyles naturally lend themselves to the most unique effects. You can have the columns crumbling or the gargoyles magically flying away.

Blank space venues can be transformed in just the same way – coupled with a soundtrack, this can be a really show-stopping experience.
For Earth Hour Day we want to light our venue exclusively with candles - real and/or faux. How can we work out how many candles we'd need to create enough light?
If you use faux candles you don't need to be worry about them next to curtains or clothing and they can be used over and over again. Plus, you can use them inside during summer as there is barely any emitted heat.

However, real candles throw such a beautiful, organic, warming glow that is difficult to replicate. Putting candles (faux or real) into small glass votives and lanterns lets the light create magical patterns and dancing shadows.

Group them on the buffet table, with others dotted around the venue individually and in groups.

Add a generous quantity of faux candles to stairs, doorways and corridors to provide more light to high traffic areas.

Calculate the number of LED candles you'll need
This handy lumens/watt calculator (you can measure LED candles in watts), allows you enter the room length, width and height to give you an approximate required illumination level in watts.

To estimate the number of LED candles needed, simply halve the number of watts.

For example, a room measuring 12m wide x 40m long x 3m high with light wall colours and medium illumination results in 2,436 watts which is roughly 1,218 LED candles.

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