Heralding a Lighting Change!

Lighting gurus around the world have vouched time and again for 'just the right quantum' of light. They feel that lighting is not just illumination but a vital element of life and should be dispensed with prudence. And in tune with this sentiment, their connotation of lighting takes into account aesthetics, energy efficiency and most importantly, the intent. It is therefore not surprising that in this age, professional lighting solutions are a veritable blend of these three credentials. We may feel that Indians are oblivious to 'good' lighting, but, will be forced to change our perception once we take a look at the real picture, reports, S D Khan.

Heralding a Lighting Change!

Heralding a Lighting Change! Heralding a Lighting Change! Heralding a Lighting Change!

Heralding a Lighting Change!
According to Mr. R. L. Narayan, a leading architect of the country who heads the Mumbai-based firm Architect Narayan & Associates, Indian clients understand what they want and are keen on perfection whether it's indoors, outdoors, intimate or impressive in scale."Lighting plays an essential role in Indian architecture. Today, lighting is much more than illumination. It's the catalyst and the vision. It decides mood, defines personality, creates atmosphere and enhances shape and form."

Let's start with aesthetics, since it's the visual appeal that makes an object the cynosure of all eyes. Keeping all the other elements aside, it's the quality of ambient lighting that draws an onlooker towards a particular building, monument or even a surrounding. No matter how trendy the design, poor light can be a spoil sport. Chandeliers, for example, breathe new life into hotel lobbies since they not only enlighten the covered space but also make the ceiling attractive. Bollards add a unique flavour of serenity to gardens after sunset while underwater lighting fixtures make swimming pools welcoming even at night. LED-based lighting fixtures come in more than handy in such applications since they emit highly qualitative focused light. All of these trends are visible in urban India.

Heralding a Lighting Change!

However, when we talk about the 21st Century, aesthetics and energy efficiency go hand-in-hand ! According to the Central Electricity Authority, the power deficit in India during the current fiscal is 10.3%. Add to this, the numerous amount of electricity lost in theft and pilferage and the demand-supply gap only broadens. This means that each and every watt is highly precious and each watt saved is each watt gained. Here too, the LED bulb has emerged as the champion. The illumination generated per every watt consumed is much higher in the LED bulb as compared to the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and the conventional favourite GLS bulb.

Typically, a 4-5W LED bulb yields around 450 lumens per watt vis-à-vis a CFL which consumes around 9-13W for the same illumination. On the other hand, the appetite of the GLS bulb is much higher as it eats up 40W for the same. And now, with the constant technological advancements, a 1W LED bulb is churning out around 150 lumens and is slated to touch 200 lumens in the near future. According to the Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers' Association of India (Elcoma), an apex body of the Indian Lighting Industry, the domestic lighting market is touching `8,000 crores. And the share of LEDs is constantly increasing given the national sentiment of saving electricity.

Heralding a Lighting Change!
According to Mr. S.C. Joneja, Director of Delhi-based AMKA Lighting, "Now people have started realising that it's wiser to switch over to LED-based lighting fixtures as they are not only energy efficient but also emit a wonderful quality of light." Notably, AMKA is one of the leading providers of LED lighting systems for both indoor and outdoor applications. The company's manufacturing facility is based in Noida and its products are backed by extensive R&D and ample after-sales support to consumers. AMKA has a pan-India presence and has completed notable lighting projects such as Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, CPWD (New Delhi) during the last Commonwealth Games, Eicher Corporate Office Building and Indogulf Hospital & Diagnostics to name a few.

Talking about the popularity of LED-base luminaires, Mr. Joneja informs, "The growing acceptance of LED-based luminaires in cities is an established fact, but what's more astonishing that discerning buyers are not confined to the urban confines. Recently, a gentleman from Rewari, Haryana, visited us and sought LED lighting solutions for his house. This is really heartening and a sign that LED is bound to flourish even more." AMKA's kitty comprises street lights, strip lights, commercial lights, track lights, tube lights & bulbs, lamps, and commercial lights. The company is also the Indian channel partner of US-based lighting major Greenstar and markets the latter's high end street and canopy lights in the country.

Well, in these 'green' times, everyone wants to contribute towards the welfare of the environment and takes pride in that. Energy efficient lighting fixtures are an ideal medium for the same. Moreover, optimally managed light fetches LEED points and pushes-up the real estate value of a building. No wonder, luminaires are now fitted with lighting control technologies like dimmers and sensors. Companies such as Lutron are taking the lead in this cause.

Heralding a Lighting Change!
But this leads us to some points to ponder upon! Which area needs to be illuminated? What is the actual lighting requirement in this area? What will be the ideal luminaire here? If it's indoor lighting, such as home lighting or office lighting, for how many hours will a particular area be in use by the occupant? If it's outdoor lighting, such as a façade, street, garden or a landscape, to what extent should be the reach of the illumination? A rational approach is call for.

Here comes the importance of intent and to everyone's surprise the constantly evolving Indian consumer is now taking the onus of this decision upon himself. Of course, the role of an architect is ever instrumental but a discerning client facilitates a symbiotic relationship thereby facilitating a feasible lighting solution.

As Mr. Narayan concedes, "Indian consumers are getting aware of the wise lighting solutions with the advent of technology. But as architects, we carefully manage projects, design them, implement them by correct knowledge and skills which ensures realisation of anticipated results and keep facility disruptions to a minimum. Imagination is the key and innovation is the norm."

Speaking of lighting philosophy, he says that successful architecture is the result of a meaningful collaboration and thoughtful play between functionality and lights through the process. "For example, sensitive lighting for commercial space can motivate and lead to commercial success. Natural lighting goes best for exterior but then we create illusions for night time, to accentuate and enhance the structure."

But isn't there a growing penchant for natural light considering it leads to energy savings? "There is no need to define what natural light is", he exclaims, "but we need to remember that this light allows us to define what is around us, by day and night. Light transforms the space but then nature's lighting sometimes is not enough. When darkness falls, buildings take on a whole new personality especially when dramatic lighting accentuates their facets, features and idiosyncrasies. Every structure can be transformed to reflect every occasion at the flick of switch."

Heralding a Lighting Change!
Affirms Mr. Ravi Ogra, Vice-President, Marketing, of Delhi-based Architectural Lighting Solutions (ALS), "Nowadays, the role of both the architect and the customer is important if a good lighting solution is to be devised. Education, awareness and the growing exposure to different technologies have enabled clients to understand their requirements. An architect is able to better serve informed solution seekers. Nevertheless, the endeavours of architects and consultants in spreading knowledge are exemplary."

ALS, which specialises in indoor lighting, promotes its products through architects and consultants. "Quality, reasonable pricing, unprotracted delivery time, excellent after sales service and custom designing are our unique selling points. Our present aim is to further increase the product range and reach out to more architects and consultants." The company's clientele comprises renowned names such as Accenture, Capgemini, Barclays, and many more.

AMKA too relies on architects and consultants, besides its channel partners, to market its offerings. Mr. Joneja states, "We approach the architects and make them aware of our products which helps us in building a long-lasting clientele. In-fact, we are keen on interacting with more architects."

Clearly, the Indian consumer has come of age. And this is a good sign for the architects and consultants who are keen to propagate the cardinals of lighting. In the words of Mr. Narayan, "As with good architecture, good lighting illuminates, clarifies and stimulates us." These words are really worth their weight in gold and will leave the Indian lighting industry buoyed for many years to come!
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