In 2013 we were asked to design a huge lighting design for a very large front and rear garden. This is not unusual but the one thing the client wanted was the outside of his house illuminated in colour changing LEDs. The client had specific requirements for the fittings which meant we had to bespoke our own lights and each one had to be addressable.
Addressable means that the light fittings can take a command from a central controller separately e.g., if you had 24 lights, then each one can be switched, dimmed or produce a different colour separately. This is known as DMX control, an acronym of ‘Digital Multiplex’ and is used to remotely control intelligent lighting fixtures.
This is a complex setup that requires professional light fittings and control equipment. Along with this, the lights are often fed by CAT5 cable which similar to the cable you plug into your computer for your broadband.
However, whilst this is complex it is extremely powerful allowing the user to choose almost any colour, at least 16 million!
This was the start of our relationship with colour changing lighting and the realisation of how good it is.
If you think colour changing lights are tacky, think again. The colours produced by RGBW LEDs are rich and varied, from dreamy pastels to punchy hues.
Once we installed these lights the client used them for parties and events such as Halloween, Christmas and birthdays.
When our sponsored athletes Lucy and Reece Charles Barclay asked us to light their private gym, we knew exactly what to do. Colour lighting can evoke feelings, motivate, change moods and inspire you, and for a sportsperson, this can be vital.
The gym had different sections including an endless pool so we decided to zone each area allowing them to be a different colour. With Lucy and Reece competing all over the world creating a hot or cold atmosphere was so much easier with the use of colour changing lights.
Without doubt, with the use of orange or red colours, they add to the intense heat training that Lucy and Reece train in, which helps them to acclimatise for their destinations so much easier. They often use blue to push themselves harder or purple to wind down in.
Photos by Holly Charles©
Colour changing lights are a fantastic way to illuminate inside and out creating fantastic displays to complement whatever you want to do.
However, this is not a cheap system as it needs a lot of planning, professional light fittings, complex controls and programming. Of course, the controls are not just a simple switch on the wall however you can use digital colour wheels and or an app on your smartphone.
Once the controls are set-up they are simple to use and you can even program your favourite colours so that you can quickly change the mood and feel of your environment.
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