Lighting design is something that many people don't consider when building or renovating, sadly. To a lighting designer, seeing a ceiling dotted with downlights as the only form of illumination is like limiting Van Gough to Crayolas: it might get the job done, but you're missing out on a whole lot of possibility. So, what would the director of a lighting company do in their own renovation to achieve the lighting equivalent of The Starry Night?
Located in an inner-city Melbourne suburb, Light House, designed by LAYAN Architects + Designers renovation leaves the front two rooms of a detached, double-fronted Victorian-era worker's cottage intact, in keeping with heritage regulations. Behind the front two rooms, however, an extensive addition extends to the rear boundary.
On the ground floor, new open-plan spaces wrap around a central courtyard, to let light and natural ventilation into the home. Full-height glass sliding doors can open to allow the whole living space to bleed into the outdoors, creating the perfect indoor-outdoor living experience. A skylight running along the boundary lets daylight in along the textural brick wall.
The materials are paired back, yet warm. American oak is used throughout which brings a warm glow to the home, while a terrazzo floor to the living spaces is hard-wearing, yet textural. A thin, glazed white brick in a standard stretcher bond pattern along the boundary walls and as the fireplace feature similarly brings texture while still being hard-wearing and elegant.
But it's upstairs that the lighting design really flexes its flux, where the main bedroom is wrapped in a custom polycarbonate screen to protect it from the north sun. The upper storey is built on the portion of the block where it will have minimal overshadowing impact on the neighbours. The screen is multifunctional: it limits the amount of sunlight that can reach the bedroom to reduce overheating, but it also ensures the bedroom's privacy and creates a spectacular light effect which changes with the time of day and throughout the seasons.
The best way to describe the screen is two back-to-back translucent convex discs. The discs were rotation moulded Ultraviolet (UV) stabilised polyethylene (PE) to ensure an illumination. Each disc (there are 907 in total) contains a single amber LED designed to work with our circadian rhythms to promote healthy sleep. The whole screen draws less than 60 watts (yep, less than a standard incandescent bulb) and is programmed to only come on between dusk and 10:30 pm, as long as the room is occupied.
The difference good lighting can make in your home is phenomenal: from simply creating the right mood to keeping you in touch with natural rhythms to promote wellness. Here, the owner has demonstrated the power of good lighting and how it can be integrated with architecture to create a harmonious home that deals with its constraints and creates a beautiful environment day and night.