Light and the Sacred landscape of Uluru

“Field of Light Uluru”

Australia’s famous red sandstone monolith – Uluru rock is located in the desert of the Northern Territory and for about 2 years now, the sacred landscape of Uluru has been lit up with a multi-coloured display of solar powered lights. The installation by the artist Bruce Munro consists of more than 50,000 bulb-shaped flowers that are connected by a network of fibre optics. The artist and his team were careful not to disturb the land and worked with the natural landscape to create an organic outcome without a specific or organised pattern, so once the installation is taken down, the area will be left as found.

Referred to as “Tili Wiru Tjutu Nyakutjaku” by the indigenous Anangu people, which translates to “looking at lots of beautiful lights”, the installation is located six miles away from the sacred rock. Munro was inspired by the burst of happiness he felt during a trip to Uluru he took with his wife.

Luckily for travellers, “Field of Light Uluru” has received an extension until 2020. This means there’s still plenty of time to plan an illuminated visit to Uluru and enjoy the amazing landscape filled with light. Our lucky Australian customers will have a little less distance to travel to than our UK ones.

e-Luminate Cambridge

The e-Luminate Cambridge Festival has been celebrated each year since 2013 in February. This contemporary artistic tradition explores the limitless prospects created by light, crossed with art and science.

This year’s theme of the festival was Colour, the event ran between 9-14 February 2018 and took place around Cambridge’s most iconic buildings and public spaces.

The Cyclists – a big part of Cambridge lifestyle who also joined in, accessorising their bicycles with lit up fairy lights to set the mood. Photo below By Jordan Harris  from Launch night. The Guildhall looked amazing as Cambridge Cycling Campaign set off on their Bike Light Procession!

Why Light?

Light is about life – without light there is no life. The Light of the sun fills us with a sense of tranquillity. The same happens with Light art: we find a space for contemplation or just an absorbing view, and it makes us feel enriched. In art light becomes matter and redefines space and time. The exhibitions at the Festival evoke the ambivalence of Light, its numerous meanings and facets. Clearly, the Festival does not exhaust the vast field of questions posed by contemporary artists on these concepts. However, it encourages the visitors to explore their path between the opposite polarities of light and darkness, day and night, reality and illusion.” – Cambridge Live Trust

Cambridge’s Light Festival creates opportunity for different field specialists to collaborate, artists and scientists jump at a great chance to explore newest light related and environmentally sound technology as well as promoting artistic innovation practise.

So have you had a chance to visit e-Luminate Cambridge project this year and did you have a favourite projection?

Thanks for reading!

Best Wishes from Lamps and Lights 

Happy English Wine Week!

Have you ever heard about English Wine Week?

Yesterday was National Wine Day, 25 May (National Drink Wine Day was 18 Feb) and English Wine Week is taking place Saturday 27 May until Sunday 4 June 2017.

English Wine Week is a national campaign, organised to increase awareness of English wine across the country. To celebrate English Wine Week, wide range of activities will be taking place across the country, involving both retail and leisure outlets, and at the vineyards themselves.

English Wine Week starts over Spring Bank Holiday which is also half term holiday for most schools. It marks the start of the tourist season, and the vineyards themselves are waking up to the new growing season – there is plenty to see and enjoy,I’ve put some links down below, if you fancy a trip to a vineyard or visit your local event during English Wine Week!

Let us know in the comments below, which type of wine you prefer? Red, white, Chardonnay or Merlot?

If you have a stash of wine bottles you would like to convert visit our previous blog post for more information!

Cheers!

For forthcoming English Wine Week events and news visit www.englishwineproducers.co.uk

Lighting your way into Winter

Getting festive? So what’s your style this Christmas?
vintage-wall-lamps
Are you fancying nostalgia with a hint of rustic charm or are you going all out to make a bold statement with a punchy zing?

Wall lights really are the way to go for the vintage touch, creating evocative moods and intimate spaces. Cosying up, reading a good book by the subtle light of a traditional lamp, by a roaring winter fire as the twinkling Norway spruce emits a heady scent, who could want for more in a festive scene.the-stove-ceiling-pendant-02

home-made-simpe-bulb-flex-pendantMaybe Victorian charm is not your cup of tea?
(or even a glass of mulled wine 🙂 )

Perhaps a more contemporary look is your seasonal inspiration. Add a shimmering prismatic glass lamp shade in front of a brightly painted chimney breast and watch the lights dance. Hanging pendant bulbs on our stunningly bright coloured fabric light flex against a funky wall will add charm to the gloomiest of dark winter days.

contemporary-tripod-lamp

Upcycled standard lamps add a touch of modernity for that shabby chic characteristic.

Lighting can completely lead the way to setting the scene and evoking differing moods.

hg-lighting-made-simpleHomes and Gardens‘ recent Lighting Made Simple feature focuses on the latest trends, inspiration and shopping advice; with a lighting design masterclass from the wonderful Sally Storey and ‘How to introduce decorative flair through carefully selected lighting.’

led-giant-elips-colesseum

From pendants and wall lights to floor and table lamps their gallery of great schemes is packed full of classic and contemporary bright ideas …

Plus our very own Director of Lamps and Lights Denise Hatherly is featured, in very good company alongside some of the top leading interior and lighting designers, to help shine some light on the new world of LED bulbs and the mystery of light rating myths; brightness comparisons; what colour temperature bulb to buy and how to make them work for you.

www.lampsandlights.co.uk

2016 inspiration for your home

neutral tonesAs we enter the second month of 2016, although clearly still a chilly windy winter, the signs of Spring ahead cannot be ignored with the sight of early blossom, crocus and daffodils.
So what does 2016 have in store for us colour wise?

Pantone seem to think subtlety is the way to go, their new colours for 2016 are soft muted pinks and steely blues, with Rose Quartz and Serenity.
Fashion dictates we’ll be sporting coffees, iced teas and silver lilacs with echoes of peach.house beautiful
So, what’s happening with home decor?
Classical and relaxing with pale wood, Spring lilacs and lavender quartz….So our lilac, silver, grey and natural linens lamp cables tie in beautifully.

dulex coloursDulux concurs with the muted look, although are favouring their new rustic feel Cherished Gold and Copper Blush range. How clever of us then to introduce our new gold and bronze coloured lamp bulbs plus our new muted gold plugs to compliment our new and old brass and antique metal lamp parts!2016 rustic productsBeautiful HomesWe were delighted to hear from Lamps and Lights’ customer, Sarah Heaton who informed us her newly designed home is featured in this months 25 Beautiful Homes. A Grade II listed Napoleonic prison is not your average dwelling and Sarah, along with her partner Graeme Reed, have successfully created an architectural gem enhancing the building’s nostalgia.

rustic tonesMixing and matching both our contemporary and vintage style light fittings Sarah has created a look that works beautifully within the framework of the raw brick walls and exposed steel joists, a nod to the beauty of the recently restored Wilton’s Music Hall.

If you want to emulate Sarah’s wonderful design for your own home try adding in a few touches from our new range coupled with a few of the old favourites.

The current trend of combining rustic with natural – you can’t go wrong www.lampsandlights.co.uk

Susie Watson Designs – tantalising interiors in Cambridge

SusieWatson-DeniseHatherlyAn inspiring morning was spent with Susie Watson and Janet Strydom heading her team at the Cambridge branch of Susie Watson Designs for a coffee, meet and greet. We felt very lucky to meet this uniquely talented dynamic designer and we definitely came away feeling in awe and inspired!

Originally an architectural designer, Susie was inspired by her own personal experience of family life, primarily living in the kitchen as we often do, and wanting beauty in the function that surrounded her. Transforming a family, child friendly, practical home into a designed space suitable for a dinner party with just the flick of a tea towel – who says we can’t have both together, not Susie!

lampholders-Susie-Watson-DesignsAt the time, running an art gallery, Susie had that light bulb moment; realisation that she was experiencing as much pleasure in viewing a beautiful pottery toast rack as her wall-hung art, she discovered the pleasure of a well designed mundane daily object – a ‘thing of beauty is a joy forever’ –

mugs-at-Susie-Watson-DesignsI have to confess that sat there listening to Susie’s talk, cradling my beautiful mug filled with steaming coffee on a rainy November morning, I realised that it felt as comfortable in my hand as a perfectly designed ergonomic chair.

Apparently Susie’s favourite piece is the bees & stripes, but I couldn’t quite decide which mug spoke loudest to me as the whole range was calling my name.

cushions-at-Susie-Watson-DesignsHer inspiration comes from a love of the eclecticness of the old English country house, mixing stripes with flowers and spots with Paisley and more recently exploring the Indian theme with her new camels range.

Her brand is simply ‘homemaking’ where colour = happiness, being specific with colour is the downfall of many companies – whereas it is Susie’s specialty.

SWD-glass-lampSusie gets her subtleties absolutely spot on, spending vast amounts of time and hard work on getting each product right, which is precisely why Susie Watson Designs work!

Starting in humble beginnings at Northcutt road in 2008 and with a more glamorous shop in the very pretty market town of Marlborough (which still thrives as the hub today along with a further 6 more stores) Susie’s unique pottery designs were originally manufactured in Stoke on Trent, but now reside in Sri Lanka, where she firmly stands by her ethos to achieve unique, high standard pieces that are ethically sound.

tea-time-at-Susie-Watson-DesignsStarting her fabric collection with just tablecloths, made by a family factory in southern India who on ‘crying out for more work’ Susie put on her thinking cap and designed a whole fabric range for them to manufacture which now include her stunning cushions with the intricate embroidery all completed using a freehand wooden hoop with all the birds and flowers cut by hand.SWD-making

All the glass pieces are hand blown in north India with every fine detail etched by hand. Susie is immensely proud of the skilled workers employed to produce her intricate designs and is very aware of the costs and not unrealistic to her clientele and manufacturer alike.

All Susie’s wool is English wool from a mill in Leeds and with the closure of so many English woolen mills, the demand is high. Furniture is made by a highly sought after independent furniture maker in Preston as too are the curtains and blinds. The quality of the curtains show and Susie’s original design of lining using her striped material has now become a popular design feature.

Christmas-at-Susie-Watson-DesignsShe is immensely proud of the team behind her but Susie herself is the force, describing herself as fussy, she is behind every design, every shade, mixing the paint and designing every minute detail, if Susie doesn’t like it, it doesn’t get made, so it really is ‘her’ work. Her personality is in every piece, and it is this attention that has afforded her the perfection that surrounded us in the store.

SWD-glass-lampSo when you’ve reached perfection …
where to go next?

Susie laughs when she tells us she’d love to re-educate the British culture away from duvets and steer us towards stylish crisp cotton sheets with beautiful quilts, layering is so much better than fighting off an over-hot duvet and after yet another struggle to embrace that regular fight with the household duvet change, I’m inclined to agree.

And things for the future?

A question from one customer sparked the imagination and may mean you see in the future … embroidered spot voiles!

glass-lamp-02New ranges include the recently unveiled bespoke service available on pottery, inscribed with your wedding date to Christmas stockings and even personalised dog beds, which are totally scrummy.dog-bed-at-Susie-Watson-Designs

Coming soon is a range of charcoal painted lamps to flourish the grey range and 2016 will see the Cambridge store appoint its own personal interior designer available for home visits bringing just a little taste of Susie into your home, and who wouldn’t want that!

Wilton’s Music Hall, The Oldest Grand Music Hall

wiltons lights “the most important surviving early music hall to be seen anywhere… It is of outstanding architectural and archaeological significance” – The Theatre’s Trust.

wiltons exteriorWhen we were approached to supply a variety of lighting hardware for this regeneration project we were intrigued by such an undertaking. Steeped in history we just had to make a visit to see where our lighting would end up.

It’s not an easy place to find, a little alleyway off a side street, Wilton’s Music Hall incorporates all 4 of the 1690s terrace houses on Graces Alley, but once found, on walking up to the building you cannot fail to ‘feel’ the place.

Number 1 Graces Alley was the first ale house dating from early 18th century and was known locally as The Mahogany Bar, due to being the first pub to install a mahogany bar and fittings. Wiltons barIt was in 1839 when a concert room was built behind the pub before John Wilton bought the business in 1850 and combined all four back yards to create the first music hall in place of the concert room. 1859 saw the start of Wilton’s Music Hall as he replaced the existing with his ‘Magnificent New Music Hall’ which has remained more or less unchanged, despite being plagued by tragedies.

wiltons standA serious fire in 1877 left just the four walls and the ten barley twist columns (that still support the balcony) but the hall was rebuilt within just one year with little change from the original design. Sadly in 1881 Wilton’s Music Hall had to close its doors as a licensed music hall due to the rebuild not conforming to the new fire regulations brought in that year.

mahogany bar entranceWilton’s was bought by the East London Methodist Mission in 1888 where it performed a star role as a soup kitchen feeding the starving dockers’ families during the Great Dock Strike. The Mission remained open for nearly 70 years, but suffering bombing during the London Blitz, it closed it’s doors in 1956 when the building was then used for a time as a sorting warehousethe rag trade .

A campaign in the 1960s, led by theatre historian, John Earl, along with John Betjeman and the newly formed British Music Hall Society, fought to save the building from demolition. The building was bought by Greater London Council and remained standing, but empty and unused and suffered severe structural damage. It wasn’t until 1970 when Spike Milligan joined the campaign and and the first charitable trust, The London Music Hall Trust was formed that this curiously important building was declared grade 2 listed.

playhouse doorwayDespite still being in a state of semi-dereliction, this was part of it’s charm, music and stage artists were drawn to its invoking aura. The building was used for many films such as Isadora and Chaplin in 1992 and video shoots for Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax 1984 and Annie Lennox’s No more I love You’s in 1986. The Music Hall’s own promotional flyers of the time referred to it’s state of disrepair and included recommendations as ‘please dress warmly’ and play reviews were quoted as saying ‘wear hard hats’.

cabinet of curiositiesIt wasn’t until 1999 that The Wilton’s Music Hall Trust was formed and after much fundraising and donations Wilton’s raised the £2.6 million required to repair the houses of Graces Alley which make up Wilton’s front of house.vaulted ceiling

On our visit, a year before its completion, it was highly apparent that the restoration was being carried out with such compassion. Despite rehearsals being in full swing we were allowed a quick sneaky preview at the work in process, admiring the magnificent domed ceiling as we tip-toed our way through the barley twist columns in the relative darkness. rehearsal chairs

In carrying out the building work, a policy of ‘conservative repair’ has been followed which means ‘retaining genuine historic fabric and avoiding misleading restoration, so that future generations can interpret the significance for themselves in their own way, based on the physical evidence’.

quirky staircaseThe charming facade remains along with the exposed brick work, crumbling paintwork and quirky entrances, it all adds to the historic atmosphere.

The project is now complete and Wilton’s Music Hall is fully open to the public and well worth a trip. A recent Guardian article quotes “Tucked behind a row of terraces, this vast barrel-vaulted venue is the East End’s best-kept secret. Now, thanks to an overhaul that leaves the tattiness intact, a beguiling Tardis of Victoriana is open for business once more”.

box officeWiltons bar 2We highly recommend you pay this stunning building a visit.
Wilton’s Music Hall, Graces Alley E1 8JB

Check out their What’s On list, watch a play, have a drink in the bar, peruse the exhibition in the John Wilton room on the ground floor, see if you can spot our Lamps and Lights’ light fittings 😉 and immerse yourself back in time.
It’s good to see you back on top Wilton’s!

May Design Series 2015

light in artThe May Design Series 2015 at London Excel was a truly pleasant experience for us here at Lamps and Lights and with brands never exhibited in the UK before it was very exciting to see some exclusive new products.may design series

haberdashery london

The hardest question was “Where shall we go first” ?
Our focus was obviously on lighting though there were plenty of unique furniture pieces that caught our eye along the way. But boy were we spoilt for choice with new lighting design; Striking 21st century light art from Haberdashery London Ltd could not fail to catch our eye.

haberdashery discoWith many of our trade customers exhibiting at the show we took advantage of this golden opportunity to meet as many as possible and we met some very lovely people, putting a face to the name is always a pleasure, but sharing stories, laughing and joking with them is even better 🙂

The Light YardJeff and Gwyn at The Light Yard were a delight to chat with and see their fabulous Alchemist Collection, hand crafted vintage lighting where ‘industrial rustic meets urban chic’ creatively designed with the highly in vogue SteamPunk ‘Victorian industrial’ theme.

journeyman-02Amongst many intriguing pieces the Shore Table by Journeyman Furniture with it’s subtly smooth recessed footprints imitating footprints in the sand and the curvature of the table edge reminiscent of the ebbing and flowing of the tide, and not forgetting the hidden detail underneath the table – the relief footprint – was a cheeky little surprise.

journeyman-01Also wall plates where your child’s hand and footprints can be replicated in wood to make timeless gifts. Perfectly timed for us, Nicholas was showcasing his prototype relief Footprint Table Lamp and we had a lovely chat with him answering his questions of how come up with a suitable solution using our lamp fittings.

stormIt was great to see our products also in use at Storm Furniture and Felix Lighting Specialists chatting with them and listening to the designers, what they like, don’t like and what they need from their suppliers. We took samples of our new fabulous coloured switches and plugs which were very well received and shall be winging their way onto our website shortly. It’s always extremely helpful for us for finding out what new products we should source and stock in the future.

felixTMO LightingTMO Lighting-duoWe loved the subtlety of the hand painted lampshades from TMO Lighting When the lamps were turned off the shades, a piece of art looked harmoniously gentle, yet once lit, the layer upon layer of colours sprang into life and gave great depth.

Ostrich Legs-Temple & IvyThere was nothing subtle about the ostentatious Ostrich Legs lamp from Temple & Ivy, the gregarious bright orange feathers match perfectly with our vibrant orange fabric flex and drew our eye immediately.

The stand that stood out the most was Tatt Light.

tatt light-01I’m not sure there are enough adjectives to describe the wonderfully unique designs and the joyful creative people we met at this individual stand. Vintage style lights inspired by tattoo art, we were definitely illuminated!tatt lightIt was a great pleasure to meet Blottworks founder, Dan Morrison.

blottworksBlottworks’ bird lamp series, inspired by birds of prey and the towering cranes found on construction sites with beautiful filament bulbs hung ‘prey-like’ were stunningly smooth engineering feats, but my personal favourite was The Clam Shell Alchemist Lamp. I fell in love!

ollumiavivoA plethora of talent under one roof (albeit a pretty big roof, but the sentiment is genuine 😉 and we have to confess we were just an incy bit excited when we realised we were stood next to a fave design guru, Naomi Cleaver. Roll on next year!

Theatre & Panto – set the stage

Our increasing customer base in the film, TV and theatre industry is totally exciting for us here at Lamps and Lights. From big blockbuster films such as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and the yet to be released Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, to the UK’s most popular period TV dramas and our newest kids (customers) on the block, set designers, providing superb lighting for all styles and eras in all manner of stage productions. mrs henderson presents

TWO CLEVER BY HALF-royal exchangeWith this growing demand we love seeing our lighting products used not just in the theatres themselves lighting the dressing room mirrors and auditoriums; one being the current refurbishment of Wilton’s Music Hall, but by the props departments in many of today’s stage plays. With customers such as the Abbey Arts Centre, Rose Theatre, the Royal Opera House, Almeida Theatre and even the Farrer Theatre at Eton College. We are proud to be regular suppliers to Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre with our lighting ‘starring‘ in many plays; creating a period 1950’s look in Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams and in the play Two Clever By Half, who would know that underneath all that shade is hiding all manner of our light parts 😀

We played a ‘flexible’ role in the fantastical chandelier designed by William Dudley in the West End production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre and keep a ‘brass’ eye – yes, that’s a clue🙂 out for us in Ghost Stories, written by theatreThe League of Gentlemen’s Jeremy Dyson, and Andy Nyman is a scream of a roller coaster ride of thrills and shrills all at London’s West End Arts Theatre. You can see a review by moviegrrl reviews here and now with an extended run till March 2015 you can be chilled with laughter for even longer!

We supply our lighting products to small reps, West End productions and grand opera houses, and now we can include pantomimes, the stalwart of festive frivolity. stamford arts ctr pantoFor those less familiar with this very British tradition (did you know there is even a ‘National Panto Day’) Pantomime is a stage tradition of theatre actually dating back to 16th/17th century Italy with the commedia dell’arte and the Masques festive pageant developing into today’s seasonal musical slapstick comedy highly encouraging, if not demanding (oh no it isn’t) audience participation, which is unique to pantomime and a far cry from the usual classic productions.

peter panNow a unique production for the  21st Century is being unleashed, the latest in Pantomime theatre; Peter Pan Goes Wrong, the story of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of Peter Pan, but with a twist. From the creators of the West End smash hit comedy The Play that Goes Wrong, the award-winning comedy company; Mischief Theatre, this hilarious new alternative pantomime is the story of accident prone thespians of Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they venture into Neverland and so ensues two acts of hysterical disaster. Traveling all over the country until July 2015, catch it at a theatre near you!

HHA, Lux Live 2014 and LEDs

It was busy week for Lamps and Lights with our usual Christmas rush of orders plus two important events in London.
We were delighted to receive an invitation to attend the HHA‘s Historic Buildings, Parks and Gardens Event with an address by the Historic Houses Association’s President, Richard Compton and the 2014 speaker Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust. We found the talk by brothers, Jean-Charles and Alexandre Vogüé of Vaux le Vicomte mesmerising with their lively humour and passion for their 17th century chateau; truly engaging; we want to visit and explore more of this historic French masterpiece by Nicolas Fouquet just 50 minutes south of Paris.
It was a more intimate venue than the usual trade shows and walking around the stands we were delighted to meet and greet a lot of our architect, design and engineering customers, it’s always nice to put a face to the name 🙂

bannerWednesday saw the opening of Lux Live 2014, a big event at London’s ExCel where all the must-see innovations in lighting design come together under one roof. With human centric lighting that follow your daily biological rhythms, technologies that track your position through smartphones to light your ‘personal’ way, to flexible shelf lighting that folds like a newspaper.

A massive floor of trade stands incorporating three stages; the Lux Arena, Design Live clinic and the Ecolight Arena where we experienced half an hour of shear opulence by lighting designer Sally Storey, Design Director of John Cullen Lighting, who shared her inspiring luxury residential designs, and believe me, there were some unbelievable properties with truly stunning lighting. With a second floor of two lecture theatres we were spoilt for choice and thoroughly enjoyed the various talks and lectures; especially pleasing was to see local Cambridge Nano-therm engineers pioneering a brand new technology using nano-ceramic material and how it can be incorporated within future LED lighting.

As specialists in period light fittings you may think modern technology is not relevant to our business, but we feel keeping our fingers on the pulse is essential to ensure we can offer our customers the best products available.

pyramid candle LEDOn this trip we were particularly interested in exploring the new technologies in energy saving lighting, LEDs and how soon filament style dimmable LED lamps will be available. We were thoroughly excited to see a whole new range of new LED and eco friendly lighting in stylish designs.
Some had a decidedly ‘modern’ internal glow, not at all suitable for our historic film and theatre market.dimmable LeD candle

led groupBut our long search proved fruitful with some truly exciting finds; a new range of energy efficient and LED lamps with the look of our current vintage light bulbs.
Keep a watch on our website for some new LED additions very soon!

So what about ‘dimmable LEDs’?
We know our customers want this technology, and so do we, but all too frequently we hear questions such as “Why does my LED flicker?” and “Why does my light buzz?”.
We went to Lux Live to meet the companies with the technology to find out the answers. Our research shows us that, despite claims by some companies, filament style dimmable LEDs are not yet fully reliable without the correct corresponding industrial dimmer and transformer…

For the technical explanation, Lux Live answered this great ‘as yet’ unsolved problem;
“If those fancy MR16 LED lamps you’ve just installed flash when you try to dim them, then you’ve just stumbled across the lighting industry’s Achilles’ heel: dimming compatibility. The wall dimmer won’t talk to the transformer that won’t talk to the lamp. Why not? Because they’re all trying to do different things. The wall dimmer is happily chopping up the waveform, the transformer is desperately trying to maintain the voltage at 12V and the lamp’s internal driver is battling to keep the current at 350mA. And no-one is winning. Least of all, you, the customer. Gaaaaah!
Prospect for a solution: ‘smart’ dimmers offer hope, but we’ll have to wait for old tech to work its way out of the system.”
Quoted from Lux Live 2014 Daily

So, technology is catching up and the companies we spoke to say suitable household dimmable LED lamps are on the horizon for 2015.  Watch this space!