Shedding light on the latest lighting trends

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Lighting options are evolving with a variety of options for you to choose from to illuminate your home.

Lighting has come a long way since Thomas Edison introduced electric light bulbs to the world in 1879. Today, light emitting diodes or LED’s have emerged as the lighting option of choice for many thanks to their energy efficient, long lasting qualities.

Says Mark Greenhill, Philips’ Product Marketing Manager for LED’s and Lamps:

In South African homes, builders and developers tend to stick to what they know and LED’s are usually put to use in the form of downlights. There is so much more that can be done with lighting in general though as evidenced by the global trend towards ‘connected’ or integrated home lighting which can be operated remotely from a mobile device.

In line with this shift, Philips has developed a personal wireless lighting product portfolio named ‘Hue’. Hue comprises a wide range of LED lights which, together with a ‘bridge’ and app can change the way people interact with light around the home. Owners can experiment with shades of white or play with approximately 16 million other colours. The lights dim, flash, pulse and can be programed to suit your mood, your activity or even your favourite movie. Hue products can be used in just about every area of the home and can be used independently by the entire family.

Notes Greenhill: With Hue, you can make it look like you’re at home even though you’re on the other side of the planet or programme your lights to wake you up gently in the mornings. The possibilities really are endless.

According to Chantal Finn, Segment Marketing Manager of Retail and Trade at Philips, Hue products are due to be introduced to South Africa in 2016. Given the nature of the products they won’t be cheap though. As such, Philips anticipates the most uptake will initially occur amongst tech savvy people who want to give notable properties an edge.

In terms of other lighting trends within the South African residential space, Greenhill says there has been an uptick in the use of chandeliers and a distinct shift towards solar and rechargeable lights. There has also been an increase in the use of motion detector lights. That said, Greenhill says there’s a lot of room for this technology to grow, particularly within the residential arena.

Notes Greenhill: “Right now motion detector lights are used mainly for exterior, security applications. We’re trying to communicate the fact that motion detector lights can also be used to great effect in interior settings. For instance, motion detector lights in passages and bathrooms can be re-assuring for children who struggle to find light switches. Motion detector lights are also incredibly useful from an energy and cost savings point of view. If you forget to switch off the lights, they simply turn off after a certain period of time.”

Philips has also embarked on an educational drive to communicate the importance of room specific lighting. Says Finn: "There is a lack of understanding about what lights work best in various rooms. People tend to just purchase whatever light they can get their hands on at the supermarket which results in mismatched, ineffective and inappropriate lighting. There are distinctions. For example, cool white light tends to work best in kitchens and studies as people typically want to see what they are doing in these rooms and concentrate. Warm white light works well in dining rooms and bedrooms because it’s softer and relaxing."

In terms of advice relating to exterior lighting, Greenhill says the types of lights used in exterior spaces depends entirely on personal preferences, the layout and colours of your home. He says some people may want to highlight certain areas, accentuate specific pieces or focus on task lighting for a braai area. Whatever the case, he says LED is the way to go as is generally the case across the lighting spectrum.

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