"Light Sets the General Mood of the Space..."
"Light Sets the General Mood of the Space..."
November 24, 2023
Kapil Surlakar, Director of Design, Light@Work Design Consultants speaks to Kitchen Ideas about his views on lighting and its impact on the kitchen space.
What are the specific requirements for efficient kitchen lighting design?
Cooking involves the preparation, e.g.: cleaning, sorting, cutting, etc. and the actual act of cooking. The intensity of concentration and intricacies and dangers vary from task to task. Therefore, a general illuminance level should be maintained so as to create a bright and lively environment, further augmented by task lighting with localised task illumination over countertops and work planes. This would help to maintain alertness and focus on the tasks at hand also aiding in the visual ability to scan, discern and clean impurities in food items, if any, before cooking.
How important is ambient lighting in the kitchen? Can ambient lighting override or be sufficient for efficient lighting in the kitchen?
Ambient light sets the general mood of the space. Kitchen being a task-oriented workplace, it is important that the ambient illuminance is aptly provided to suitably carry out all tasks in the kitchen, without having to rely on any specific task lighting. Task lighting accents are a design element and are to be applied at the designers’ discretion. Higher concentrations of illuminance for task lighting also double up as visual accents in the space and contribute aesthetically to the presentation of the space. Care has to be taken so as to not create sharp contrasts or shadows.
Larger kitchen allows the element of lighting to be used creatively, with the possibility of introducing decorative lighting elements to support the design intent. Image by Vecstock on Freepik
How to maximise daylighting in kitchens in today’s apartment designs?
Getting maximum daylight in the kitchen is preferred as it helps to maintain hygiene. The daylight design has to be factored into the architectural design, with due attention paid to the orientation of the space, and the openings that would let in daylight. Elements like light shelves and fins can be integrated into the architecture to reflect and redirect daylight into the space. Optical fibre arrays can be used to transport daylight into the kitchens with no direct access to daylight. All these interventions involve cost and have to be implemented with informed decisions. The orientation of the kitchen in modular apartment designs is not uniform due to various other design and commercial constraints and therefore, it is not always possible to have a good daylighting situation in all apartments. This can, however, be designed into individual villas.
What creative leverage can be taken in lighting for small kitchens versus large kitchen spaces?
Larger Kitchens provide more space and probably more architectural/ furniture elements. They also provide an opportunity for more elaborate space design. This, therefore, allows the element of lighting to be used creatively, with the possibility of introducing decorative lighting elements to support the design intent. If the larger kitchen being discussed is an industrial kitchen, the focus would then be towards more efficient and functional lighting.
"Kitchen being a task-oriented workplace, it is important that the ambient illuminance is aptly provided to suitably carry out all tasks in the kitchen, without having to rely on any specific task lighting. Task lighting accents are a design element and are to be applied at the designers’ discretion."
Director of Design,
Light@Work Design Consultants
Please enumerate the comparative performance and utility of incandescent bulbs and LEDs and their relevance in the kitchen.
Incandescent lamps provide a full spectrum of light in warm colour temperatures. They also generate heat in the forward direction, which is sometimes used for the purpose of keeping food warm. The lamp life of incandescent lamps is very short and power consumption is high. The LED, today, has progressed greatly to being very efficient and towards being a full spectrum light source. The right kind of LED with the desired characteristics is now replacing the incandescent lamps in most applications as the technology of choice. The LED also scores high on lamp life which is at least 10 times if not more than that of the incandescent lamp. The LED can never replicate the nostalgia and the ambience generated by the incandescent lamp, however, purely on its efficiency and performance, the LED is now the preferred technology for use in kitchens.
LED is an electronic technology and is fragile, and care should be taken in the correct selection of luminaires for the right applications, considering safety and durability as guiding parameters beyond illuminance, efficiency and performance.