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Light design for gourmets

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Ingo Schaer
Written by Ingo Schaer

Whether it is good home cooking or a molecular kitchen – cooking is still in full swing! There is even more pleasure in snipping, roasting and simmering in a well-lit kitchen.

 

Cuad by lzf

Cuad by lzf

 

Luminous view over the kitchen table. The pendulum light Cuad by lzf presents your dishes in an appetizing way.

The narrow and, unfortunately, all too often unattractive functional kitchens of the past century are fortunately not en vogue – instead, kitchens with a live-in quality are preferred these days. The reminiscences of the large kitchens of the founder’s day mansions or the romantic kitchens of the country houses present today’s demands and can also be integrated into concepts of open living with a lot of light and permeability. The cooking areas often lead directly into the living or dining area. This means that the entire family can be part of the action and the cook is no longer isolated in a lonely kitchen.

A kitchen, which becomes a place of representation, also has new demands with regards to the design. High-quality devices and surfaces should be in the right light. When planning kitchen lighting, it is best to focus on the functions first and add decorative lighting later. It is therefore important to consider how to combine emotional and aesthetic requirements.

A special feature of most kitchens is the fact that almost all the furniture is fixed. Even in kitchens with freestanding elements, at least the water and electrical connections are fixed points on which you can align your concept. Stove, sink and hoods are the starting points of your lighting scheme.

 

Giro by Formfjord

Giro by Formfjord

The filigree hanging light Giro by Formfjord consists of 32 thin steel rings, which combine to an elegant sphere.

Since these elements are fixed, you should install the most important lights in your kitchen with regards to these elements in a fixed way as well. Permanently installed luminaires have the advantage that no cables run over work surfaces, floors or walls that can become hot or humid. In this way, the power outlets are reserved for kitchen appliances as well. Recessed luminaires do not get as dirty as pendulum or floor lamps. In addition, freestanding lights always take up space and can even become a danger when cables come into contact with hot pots or even water.

Optimal working light

For the perfect lighting of your kitchen, you need a functional working light for cutting, washing and preparing your food. Safe and precise working with sharp knives requires shade-free brightness and good color rendering properties of the light source, because your food should look as natural as possible.

In addition to halogen lamps, LED light sources are also being considered these days, which can be placed invisibly on the underside of the upper cupboards. For kitchens without shelves or cupboards above the work area, focusing downlights on the ceiling are recommended. Position the light cones of the lamps to focus on the worktable so that they do not cause any irritating shadows during the preparation of the food. The stove with its hot plates, pans and steaming pots should be well lit as well. This way you can always tell whether your food is done cooking. Since most hoods above the stove have built-in lights, it is important to pay attention to the light output when buying a new one.

Ariane Plug

Ariane Plug

Practical lighting tool from Top Light: Ariane Plug is plugged directly into the socket.

Balanced ambient lighting

In order to have pleasant ambient lighting in the kitchen, the focused zone light above the stove and sink is not enough. It is best to plan with many decentralized luminaires, which can be controlled separately and can be dimmed as well. You will get the best results with ceiling lights or recessed wide-beam ceiling or built-in lights. Light from above avoids glare and underexposed areas. Especially if you do not want to use your kitchen for cooking only, it is recommended that ambient lighting should not be ignored with regards to other scenarios.

Experience with illuminated shelves, drawers or cupboard rails and you will be amazed at how your kitchen can be immersed in relaxed light with a touch of a button! These effects are not only an eye-catcher if you are looking forward to having your kitchen become a favorite place during evenings and parties, but especially when you want to eat in your kitchen.

TIP

Good light for eating

Pendulum lights above the table, which primarily illuminate downwards and which do not create a glare, are suitable as light sources for illuminating the dining table. Ideal is a height of about 60 cm above the table surface. However, ceiling lights are also possible, which emit focused light on the center of the table. Just remember to use light sources with good color rendering properties, because this is the only way to enjoy your food properly. The best solution with this regard are halogen lamps and high-quality LEDs.

Appetizing light at the dining table

The lighting of the dining table generally requires adaptation to a wide variety of options as well: your table should not only be immersed in the right light for comfortable or festive occasions; it can also be “misused” as a working or reading place. During the winter season you will occasionally turn on the light during the day as well. This is why you should always provide your dining table with flexible lighting.

Hue Beyond

Hue Beyond

With Hue Beyond, state-of-the-art technology is integrated into the kitchen: the pendulum lamp can be controlled by a smartphone. Both LED segments can be controlled separately.

The most important lighting situation is, of course, to present your food charmingly and concentrate the main light on the center of the table. Because food can only be enjoyed with good light. In any case, avoid too bright light, as this affects the mood when eating. You can always achieve good lighting by means of pendulum lights with their main light directed downwards.

These should be installed so high that eye contact of everybody present can be ensured and at the same time glare is excluded. The light does not have to be too bright, especially when you use white tablecloths. These reflect the light as well as light porcelain and also provide for an advantageous illumination of the faces of the people present. In the case of a round table, a luminaire usually provides the best result, while several luminaires in a row or a long luminaire strip can be installed above a long table. You should pay attention to good quality with regards to the lamps, because best color reproduction is absolutely necessary for enjoyable food.

Max by Lucente

Max by Lucente

Purist design from Italy: The suspension lamp Max by Lucente is now also available as an LED version. The minimalist aluminum luminaire was designed by Roberto Favaretto.

Dimmable halogen lamps are suitable for this purpose, whereas fluorescent lamps should only be used in less important places due to their spectral light composition. If your furniture does not allow for any pendulum lights, however, it is also possible to use focusing ceiling lights – possibly also as part of a rail system.

Then you can simply move the table during a party without having to rearrange the pendulum lights. In the case of ceiling lights, however, you should remember that the light does not come out directly over the heads of your guests, because then, on their faces, they could form a shadow. As a complement to the table lighting, soft backlighting is recommended, which slightly reverses the contrasts between the light table and the dark room.

The running magnet by Flox

The running magnet by Flox

The lighting system The Running Magnet by Flos integrates structural profiles into walls or ceilings. The light modules – and optionally spotlights – are fixed magnetically.

TIP

Best light for the kitchen

Make sure you have good general lighting before you think about how you can achieve any changes with the help of illuminated glass curtains or mood lights focusing on objects. However, the most important thing is the good illumination of the working surfaces: Ensure precise working with sharp knives with a shadow-free brightness of at least 500 Lux and good color reproduction.

 

About the author

Ingo Schaer

Ingo Schaer

Ingo has been in the lighting business for over 20 years. He regularly blogs about trends and tips in the industry while running one of the most complete contemporary lighting ecommerce sites on the net. Please take a moment to browse his website and feel free to contact Ingo for all your lighting needs.

You can also follow him on: Google + - Facebook - Twitter & Pinterest

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