Mike Randall of Kurva Design Lighting discovered his passion for lighting about six years ago.
He had been focused on building furniture for several years until a friend asked him if he could design a wooden light for use in a large open plan space. At the time, LEDs were really coming into their own, so the project intrigued him and he started researching the possibilities of the project.
After a week at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking’s Wood Bending course with Seth Rowland, Mike emerged with the Bow Lamp. Soon after that, he designed the S-Light, and he was hooked on creating beautiful, functional custom lighting pieces, drawing inspiration from the simple yet functional lines of the Cotswold Arts and Craft movement and the clean, minimalist and timeless curves of Mid Century modern shapes.
“Lighting technology is always changing, which fascinates me, and always seems to spark some new project ideas,” he says.
Mike loves the creative freedom of his craft and constantly pushes himself to explore wood’s bending capacity. Each new idea is an experiment until he gets the prototype just the way he wants it, which keeps the process interesting.
ELEVATE YOUR EXPERIENCE
Although Mike loves the creative process involved in designing custom lighting fixtures, he is also passionate about how lighting can elevate our experience; it’s an integral element in creating the mood of a space. Lighting enhances people’s experiences in a room and can have a real impact on how we feel; as a result, it’s rapidly becoming a highly considered fixture.
“In my experience people are really starting to consider the details of their lighting a lot more. There are so many options that have become possible with advances in lighting technology and social media has played a big role, for better or for worse, in letting clients see what can be achieved, particularly Pinterest and Instagram,” says Mike.
Having control of, not only the light levels, but the colour temperature makes it possible to change things up in any given space based on personal preferences, the desired effect, and what the space is being used for.
More and more, people are using the same space for a range of tasks throughout the day and this can mean that there are different preferences for optimal lighting. Circadian lighting is one example of how lighting technology is evolving. It takes into account the biological impact of light on our bodies by following the natural sleep/ wake cycles of the human body.
There are also great advances in controller technology that give people the ability to change the setting for a space with the push of a single button or even to have it change automatically. This allows people to pre-program different light sources to come on at different levels, and even temperatures throughout the day and night, creating different atmospheres based on what they like best and how they are feeling. This is especially relevant in large open plan houses or condos where light can help delineate the different areas and uses, much like a stage production.
HOW TO START YOUR LIGHTING JOURNEY
There seems to be two approaches to lighting a home. The first is purely practical: when you flick the switch does each room have enough light to allow you to see what you are doing? The simplest use of light rarely takes into account the other aspects and uses of light, though. If this is your goal then there are a whole host of websites that can provide advice as well as your electrician, who can guide you through the process.
The second is a more nuanced and deeply personal approach. This takes into account your uses and movements in the space throughout the day. In most cases, it is best talking to an interior designer or lighting consultant. It will also involve, among many other aspects, the use of different colour temperature light sources for each area, and the use of ‘bounce back’ which is the reflected light off walls and furnishings to create a mood.
If you are looking for the complete package and want to set up a circadian lighting system then it is important to bring in someone who has training in this area and an in-depth knowledge of the equipment available.
Laying out the lighting plan and deciding on the fixtures you want is something that needs to be done in the early stages of a project. For example, it is much easier to design a fixture during the planning phase rather than when the painters are just leaving and there is a single junction box in the middle of the room. It is best for the client, designer and electricians to work as a team to ensure that there is the necessary power supply to the right locations and that the lighting fits in seamlessly with the overall success of the project.