Put your ‘signature’ on it

By Kevin Smith

Consider using specialty fixtures for creating your own distinctive job signature.

Lighting manufacturers have done a great job in bringing us some fantastic specialty fixtures. Using these types of fixtures can become a lighting designer’s signature on his installations. I’m sure that many of you have a certain favorite fixture in mind that sets you apart from the competition. If you don’t, consider some of the following options for creating your own distinctive job signature.

Perforated lanterns: Whether you call them twinkle lights or star lights, perforated fixtures provide a magical look. Hanging versions of these fixtures have graced the branches of many a tree across the country. However, these fixtures are not just for trees. Pathway lights can be created by mounting the hanging versions on garden lantern stems. I have used these in flowerbeds and they look wonderful. They can also be mounted above bar areas and tables as pendants.

Cutout bollards and sconces: In recent years, several specialty fixture companies have brought to market some outstanding four-sided cut bollards and customized sconces. These fixtures are created by water jet, plasma or laser cutting processes. Bollards can be varied in height with the light source at the top. The laser cut can be done in a variety of different standard and customized patterns. These fixtures provide a dual effect; the image the cutout makes is seen in silhouette and a dramatic shadow of the cutout is projected on the ground.

Sconces can also be given cutout patterns. In many cases, manufacturers will allow you to submit your own designs and light source requirements. This opens the door for you to provide fixtures that suit your customers’ individual styles. Sconces can be used to frame entry portals and architectural columns and can even be custom cut with the customer’s street address. Many contractors use an address number sconce as their signature on an installation.

The tiki torch and light: Tiki torches have been a staple of the American backyard since the 1940s, with the Tiki torch and electric light combo first appearing in the early 1960s. It’s a great example of a “specialty fixture.” The top can be filled with citronella or lamp oil and lit with a lighter. The stem has a built-in socket for an electric down light. These fixtures are ideal for path lighting around swimming pools or garden areas. They can also be placed on either side of a waterfall to provide a soft down light. You can achieve some very creative, exotic looks with these.

Kevin Smith is the national technical support and trainer at Brilliance LED LLC, Carefree, Arizona, and can be reached at kevin.smith@brillianceled.com.