Lighting
Littman Bros Lighting |  November 22, 2013

Define Your Lighting Style

Traditional Style Chandelier

In a recent American Lighting Association (ALA) webinar, the question of design and style was discussed and it was clear that lighting styles and design components with lighting is more than often a subjective issue.

Joe Rey-Barreau, architect, lighting designer and associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Design, hosted the webinar and talked about the impending confusion that often takes place between a lighting specialist and the customer.

Contemporary Style Chandelier

Rey-Barreau said discussing styles with customers is sometimes not the best starting off point as people understandably have a different idea of what each style profile looks like to them.

“I will always try to steer the conversation away from styles and toward the elements and principles of design,” Rey-Barreau said. “I say this with all honesty because I find the discussion of styles with customers becomes very, very confusing.”

It is more imperative to get the customers opinion and assessment of what a specific style is, he said.

Here are the primary factors Rey-Barraeu said affect the selection of lighting fixtures:

Style = Aesthetics, how does it look?

Function = Purpose, does it work?

Mood/Behavior = How does it make us feel?

Symbol = What does it mean?

Preferential = The unknown, the decision that someone makes that may make no sense whatsoever.

Instead of focusing on specific styles, retailers should bring up the idea of simple vs. complex and the core principles and elements of design.

Rey-Barreau said the elements of design are: line, shape form, space, direction, size, texture, color, value and contrast. While the principles of design include balance, harmony, unity, contrast, dominance, repetition and emphasis.

“Design and styles can be very, very useful, and very fun,” Rey-Barreau said. “But, again, think more about the simplicity of what defines an object rather than what we call the object.”