Posted in People, Products on 12 June, 2017

SPACE’s Tonje Odegard spoke to Astro’s Co-Founders John Fearon and James Bassant to get an INSIGHT into bathroom lighting…

Now a leading player in the lighting design sector, Astro first started out doing bathroom lighting. SPACE picked the brains of Co-Founders John Fearon and James Bassant…

What are the common pitfalls of bathroom lighting?

When it comes to bathroom lighting, a common pitfall is not successfully combining the two aspects of the aesthetic style of the lighting scheme with the crucial task lighting required. A scheme could look cool, stylish and striking, but be useless for the task at hand; whether that is applying make-up, shaving or just getting ready for that great night out.

To avoid this, you should consider task lighting either side of a mirror to give perfect shadow and glare-free illumination. If you want a chilled out, low-lighting ‘spa’ feel, consider two individually switched lighting circuits for flexibility. As with any space, a well-lit bathroom works best with different layers and types of lighting to enhance the space and to provide the correct illumination for a variety of tasks.

When planning a bathroom lighting scheme, just like any other room, do this early. You don’t want to be thinking about adding wall lights after the walls are tiled.

How has bathroom lighting evolved since you started in the business?

As with many aspects of lighting, it is the technology inside the products that has changed the most. LEDs have really created fantastic new opportunities in lighting design. It is not just the high efficiency of the LEDs themselves, but the ability to create new forms and structures in which to house them. Looking ahead, there are opportunities of tuneable white LED and the Internet of Things allowing greater controllability and personalisation of lighting schemes.

What role does aesthetics and design play in bathroom lighting?

Design and aesthetics play a huge role in all interior design schemes and bathroom design is no exception. Astro takes care to design products that not only look great in their own right, but also complement the overall interior design scheme and performs the crucial function of correctly illuminating the room. We find lights are a very rewarding product to design because of these challenges.How does bathroom lighting differ throughout the world in terms of application, demand, focus, and design?

We believe that the functionality of good bathroom lighting is the same the world over; shaving, applying make-up, brushing your teeth are universal human characteristics. What differs is regional design styles and tastes. This is often apparent in preferred colour temperatures of products; northern Europe tends towards warm white, whilst Asian countries prefer a cool white. Finishes of products is another area, we have seen a trend for finishes other than chrome becoming popular, for example bronze taps have come across from the States as well as a new fashion for black or white taps.

How has the development of technology affected how you run your business?

Technology has really changed since Astro started 20 years ago. LEDs are the default light source whether that is built-in dedicated LEDs or some of the great quality retro-fit bulbs available.

New rapid prototyping technology has also revolutionised our design and engineering process. Astro now has 4 rapid prototyping machines in its workshop and these have transformed how we model, engineer and fine tune each of our designs before we commit to any expensive tooling costs.

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