EnergySafe Magazine Autumn 2015, issue 39 - Page 13

13 For all the latest energy safety news visit www.esv.vic.gov.au Modern statement Thomas continues to design his own lighting products in parallel with his electrical work. He is constantly perfecting a range of products and custom pieces, playing with materials and processes, and has produced a stunning collection of work, from high-volume flat-pack products to one-off hand-made objects. The results make a very modern statement, while retaining the warm integrity of the materials: string, rattan and wood. Using a clever mixture of handmade craft techniques and machine-made componentry has allowed Thomas to keep all production locally based. What has emerged is a second business for Thomas. Called Light Basics, the business now produces electrical products for small designer/ makers—the likes of which have bloomed with the new appreciation of crafting in design and websites like etsy that allow small makers to promote and sell their products to the world. Thomas imports certified, approved components from China so that he can help designers to produce lighting products here, and meet Australian standards. He produces the electrical components while the makers can concentrate on working with their own materials. (The day we spoke, Thomas was off to see a glass blower to chat about a glass light collaboration.) Through the Light Basics website, a designer can choose good-looking cable by the metre, lamp holders, ceiling roses, light shades and even light globes. By holding a carefully curated range of electrical componentry, Thomas doesn’t need a giant warehouse to store the full range of gear. “When I started out, I wanted to make beautiful products everyone could have but, over time, I’ve seen how that does and doesn’t work. What’s changed is the manufacturing might of China while ours has eroded.” The collaboration with Thomas is also allowing all those backyard makers and crafters to benefit from a professional in electrical safety. No more do-it-yourself wiring. “There’s to and fro in a successful collaboration. We can sell and promote each other’s products. I’m trying to make it easy to make something which, in the past, has been difficult for makers. Even if I’m not installing it myself, I know what the electrician is going to need.” “I love designing a light in isolation from an environment and then seeing the many and varied ways that other people end up using them. You have to remember that someone else is seeing your products as part of their own designed solution. “Like other physical elements in a space the form of a light can visually enhance a space. However, unlike most other objects in a space, the function of a light can entirely transform the atmosphere of space. It is a crucial element in creating a beautiful environment.” Autumn 2015 energysafe issue 39 Design meets electrical: Light Basics allows small designers and makers to produce their own lighting creations. Photo: Thomas Seymour. Quick lighting tips From Yourhome.gov.au: Australia’s guide to environmentally sustainable homes: »» Use highlights to draw attention to key objects in spaces or a room, or for lighting-specific tasks. Carefully select features to highlight and use the m!nimum effective highlight level so you don’t waste energy. By contrast, dark areas serve to accentuate the brigher objects of interest. »» Use separate lighting solutions and circuits for each function rather than integrating them. Lights may need to be on separate switches. »» There is no best lamp for all applications; good design uses an appropriate light fixture for each application. »» Avoid using downlights for general illumination. They make bright pools of light on the floor (most floor surfaces absorb up to 80 per cent of the light) while making the ceiling cavity appear dark, which creates a gloomy ambience. Up to six downlights can be needed to light the same area as one pendant light. Think about other ways of lighting with fluorescent omni-directional lamps. »» Basic rule: for the same wattage lamp, the smaller the beam angle the brighter the surface illuminated but the smaller the area illuminated. Select the appropriate beam angle by determining the largest dimension of the feature to be lit and the distance from it. »» Fluorescent, CFL and LED lights are available in a wide range of colour temperatures. Cool and warm white temperature lamps give rooms a different appearance. Match the lamp’s colour temperature to the tones of the room. »» No matter what colour temperature light you choose, if it has a low colour rendering tone, nothing will look good under it!