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Tips to add light in your life!

Kishore Singh | January 24, 2005

In these days when home lighting seems to consist entirely of the choice of chandelier to use, the concept of lighting consultancy is still an alien one.

As a result, Indian homes continue to be poorly lit, provide little room for the play of light and shadow, and are energy inefficient.

'Experts' will guide you on the lights you could find in the market.

At the top end are Italian lights. These run the gamut from designer brands to the stuff of mass imports. And they are about the best there are in the market, with well-built contact points (the reason why so many light bulbs fuse), and decent glass shades.

The only problem: if you are buying from the unbranded market, wholesellers tend to buy consignment loads, so replacements are a problem.

The mass-volume lights are not expensive, but if you are in the mind for spending top dollar, check out brands like Alessi (signature designs available in stores in most metros), Murano (a bit flashier, at their flagship stores in Delhi and Mumbai), or Evoluzione (Lignet Roset's and B&B Italia's designs, available on order in Chennai and Delhi).

But a light of your choice could cost pretty much the same as a car, so you will have to weigh the considerations for your choice.

Design might be one, but its only value is in the here and now. Unlike an object of art, it will not return money on your investment.

The rare Philippe Starck light, which is also a collectible investment, is still rare.

At the other end of the spectrum are Chinese lights that have flooded the market, including the chandelier range.

It is unlikely that they represent the true quality that comes from Asia's manufacturing hub, but the imports into India are currently aimed at the lowest segment of the market.

For anyone with any sense of aesthetics, these are lights to avoid.

The mid-market is made up of a vast range of domestically generated lights. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell an Indian light apart from its Italian counterpart. But, often, the difference in not so much in design as in the materials and components used.

Indian lights, for most part, tend to be tacky, use thin gauge sheets that start coming apart at the bends and joints, have glass shades that heat, and electrical parts that leave a sooty trail on the walls on which they are attached.

Amidst the maze of the market, there are a few Indian companies that do manage to compete against Italian imports --Kapoor Lamp Shades or Decon, for example -- but such lights will be more expensive either on account of superior materials used, or because they use imported assemblies.

Some stores like Ishatvam also design lights with silver bases, which is ideal if you need customised lights.

It is important to understand that the choice of lighting must depend on function.

Too much light is as bad as too little light. Lights that blind the horizon make it impossible to see the surroundings.

Focus lights and concealed lights should respond to the needs of an interior space.

But we are still light years from the West, where wall lights are altogether banished from some living spaces.

There is nothing more sophisticated than using a mix of floor uplighters and table lamps in the deliberate absence of any other form of light in a house.

But are you game for such a bold decision yet?

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