This giant suspended light (outer diameter 3.6 m or 142 in) has three functions:
1. Provide direct lighting for illuminating the room: the 'regular' light;
2. Provide indirect lighting illuminating the ceiling in two circular bands: atmospheric lighting;
3. Add an outlet, centrally accessible at the ceiling: practical for plugging in a beamer or other electric equipment without having cables lying around on the floor.
The lamp is shaped as a ring, stretching from wall to wall. In this specific case, the lamp encircles a skylight. The ring itself adds design properties to the construction:
1. Instead of having multiple ceiling lights, optically the construction feels like a single lamp, which adds a quiet element to the room. This aspect is intensified by choosing a same color for the lamp as the ceiling has (white in this case);
2. All cabling is hidden above the construction. This eases the construction but also adds to a well finished look of the lamp;
3. The ring gives room for integrating switches by which the lights and the integrated outlet can be controlled independently, as well as a dimmer-switch for reducing the light intensity. A main wall switch is still present for switching the lamp on an off.
The design, the making, the finishing and the installation of this ceiling light has taken a few days in total. The final result was to everyone’s satisfaction. A lot of work, but worth the effort.
The next steps discuss safety issues (Step 1), detailed design features and installing (Step 2) and licensing (Step 3).
Step 1: Safety
The following issues are important with respect to safety:
1. Risk of fire: use bulbs and lamps that do not get warm, for example LEDs, low-energy light bulbs or fluorescent lamps. Do not use conventional light bulbs for two reasons: the heat they generate and their low energy efficiency;
2. Risk of electrical shock: integrate complete and closed fittings into the construction for maximum electrical safety and heat resistance;
3. Risk of falling down from the ceiling: the construction may get really heavy, depending on your choice of material: make sure that the ceiling is well-suited for suspending the light. Moreover, the lamp design is not meant to hook up additional items (for example coats or tools) onto the construction. Children shouldn't swing from the lamp;
4. Health: if you use medium-density fiberboard (MDF, like in this design) volatile organic compounds are being released slowly into the room, notably formaldehyde. To prevent this, opt for MDF plates that are free from formaldehyde (not available in all local stores). Alternatively, the plate can be sealed with paint (all sides need to be covered with turpentine-based paint, since water-based paint doesn't cut off gases completely). The release of formaldehyde becomes less after waiting some time from manufacturing, so a third option is to allow vapour to escape for a few months (be sure to have the plates cut first and combine this with the second alternative);
5. Environment: if you're opting for wood and/or MDF as construction material be sure to opt for certified and labeled products ensuring socially and environmentally responsible forestry.
The next steps discuss detailed design features and installing (Step 2) and licensing issues (Step 3).