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Interior Design is Interior Architecture, by another name

There is no obvious line where “architecture” ends and “interior design” begins.  That’s because Interior design(interior architecture) is a subset as opposed to being a completely different creature.  When creating a concept for your home or business focus on the interior architecture is as important as the structural and exterior architecture.

Some of our clients have asked us to design and build them an exterior framework for their home, whilst keeping the interior design as their own project.  There is nothing at all wrong with this and we’ve had some clients achieve a great result doing their own interiors… but we’ve seen some disasters as well.

A common misconception held by some  is that because interior fittings can be purchased and installed by anyone… anyone can do it. Just buy some really nice fixtures and fittings, install and your interior will perfectly compliment your architect designed exterior. Right?

No. It’s not quite that simple

Let’s look at lighting for example.
A common mistake people make when planning interior lighting is to focus only the lights themselves. Do they look cool? Are they well made? Will they suit the rest of my interior? These questions are important not more important than:-

a. Will these lights create the right type and amount of light?
b. How can I direct the light emanating from these lights to achieve the best result?

Common mistakes we see:-

  1. Too much unusable light. Very bright, direct light emanating from too few sources creates  colour imbalances. Part of your room is left in shadow and others areas are over-lit. Such light is tiring on the eyes as your eyes are constantly trying to manage the different amounts of light. Not great for work or reading. Or anything in fact!
  2. Too little usable light. Soft lighting is one thing but a room so insufficiently lit that you can’t read  with all the lights on without eyestrain is not ideal.
  3. A poor balance of light types. Different types of lights give off a different colours. Incandescent lights will be warmer, fluorescent lights will be cooler, LED lighting will be more neutral/whiter. Your balance/mix of lighting varieties will greatly impact the colour of the room and its contents.

I was over in Berlin for the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final last June(Wow Barcelona, just such an amazing team) and whilst there had to attend to a semi-formal dinner. Late in the piece realised the hair needed a bit of man-scaping. I tried a few of the barbers/hairdressers near where I was staying but none had a spot for me that day. Luckily almost at my wits end I walked into Hoffmans in Savigny Platz and was able to snaffle a just cancelled appointment.

The moment I walked through the door…I was impressed. The “light went on”, in my architectural brain so to speak. The salon was well lit but with nary a light to be seen anywhere… well… nary a globe anyway. There were spotlights on the wall pointing up at the ceiling at an angle so  the light reflected down from the ceiling. There was a central light feature that looked amazing, but again, the light was reflected up with no harsh light from the globe visible. There was subtle placement of fluorescent lights behind mirrors that were attached slightly out from the walls.

The end result? Virtually perfect lighting.
There were no bright or dull points, not harsh shadowing from too much indirect lighting, the colour balance was perfect ensuring that everyone had a warm, healthy appearance.

When you go to the hairdresser you want to feel good about how you look and this was achieved in spades. You couldn’t help but feel awesome sitting there getting your hair cut because you’d never looked so good!

I complemented the proprietor on his choice of interior architect, mentioned I’m on the management team of an architectural firm in London and I’d rarely seen such a good delivery of ambient lighting. With a wry grin he admitted that as well as being a hairdresser (and a good one at that I might add) he was a qualified architect and had done the lighting himself with a clear picture of what he was trying to create.

How is hairdressing Salon Lighting relevant to your Project?
Your home is not a hairdresser’s studio but the same principles apply.

  • Minimise the harsh lighting without leaving your rooms under-lit.
  • Light features should catch attention because of the light feature itself – not because the featured light throws too strong a light.
  • Colour balancing lights is also important as your carefully chosen interiors are going to appear discoloured.

Expect that Kroos can help with all of the above and more with any full service exterior and interior project. We address the fine details of all aspects of the project(including lighting). Our goal is to never see a raised eyebrow from a client at the end result… unless both eyebrows are raised together from a smile of joy.

Got a London project that needs an architect with a keen eye for detail?

Talk to us today.

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