Let’s Talk Basics

Three types of light

Words by The Coolicon Team

Photo by Coolicon Lighting

Photo by Coolicon Lighting

More than just light

When you think of light, what comes to mind? Now, you might say things like bright, warm, or maybe that it’s just a constant that you’ve never really given a second thought about. But for the romantic; it’s a trusty companion in the dark, it’s their first “good-morning” when they open their eyes, it’s a way-finder, a work buddy, and ultimately, it’s a life source. From the moment we are born we’re surrounded by it and yet, we take it for granted so easily. 

“Light is a trusty companion in the dark”

We’ve all experienced “bad” lighting, whether it was when you were reading the paper, threading a needle, or taking the family photo you’ve been waiting years to take. We’ve all been there, each of us as frustrated as the next. So, what makes “good” lighting? A lot of factors come into play here, all of equal importance. Just like in our enamelling process, you’ve got to start with a good base layer. For lighting, this base layer is of course any natural light within your space. Building off your natural light is key to creating an atmosphere that works both in the daylight and in a night-time setting. The next step takes a bit of insider knowledge and as with any trade, there are lots of words, terms and phrases thrown around in the lighting industry that can swoop straight over the head of anyone not in-the-know. We'll take things easy and start you off with a few.

Three types of light: task, ambient and accent

In the lighting industry there are three main types of lighting that are staple for any indoor space: task, accent and ambient. Each type of lighting has a specific role to play within an environment and can contribute to your intended design in various ways, so it’s best to go in knowing what you’re looking for.

Task lighting

Direct lighting that brightens specific areas of a room enabling people to complete tasks in those areas. This is what made pendant shades, like the Standard Coolicon®, so popular in the factories and workshops of Britain since its creation in the 1930’s. Essentially, this is the style of light that will help you focus your attention and get jobs done.

Accent lighting

Often used to draw attention or spotlight features throughout the home, adding dramatic effect to a specific detail of interest. Accent lighting is seen a lot in commercial builds or when adding grandeur to a building exterior. If you’ve got something in your space that you want to make “pop” then this might be that extra touch you’re looking for.

Ambient lighting

Also known as general lighting, tends to be the main source of light for a room, providing a comfortable light level within the space. Ambient lighting is most common throughout the home as it helps create a sense of natural light at night-time and in spaces that lack exterior windows.

Photo by Coolicon Lighting

Photo by Victor Albrow

Coolicon by design

True to its original form, the Coolicon® pendant shade has what we call bi-directional lighting, meaning two forms of light are produced from the single shade. Isn’t that something! The gallery vent at the top of the shade allows ambient lighting to project across the room while the task light below illuminates objects directly beneath. This nifty little design feature provides ample lighting for any room while emulating the cascading, natural qualities of the sun. From the top gallery flows a warm, inviting glow of light that enriches the lustrous colour of the Vitreous Enamel so you can cherish this time-honoured design at any hour. 

“Ample lighting for any room while emulating the cascading, natural qualities of the sun”

Of course, there is one more contender which can drastically change the tone of light in a room no matter what lampshade you have. Ah yes, we’re talking about the trusty lightbulb. Stay tuned for our write up on filament vs LED lightbulbs – who will your champion be?

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