Let there be light!

Written by

15 June 2021


5 min read

A considered lighting plan will have a dramatic effect on your commercial, retail or residential environment—going beyond simply illuminating the space to creating an ambience that will promote a sense of wellbeing.

Most, if not all, of our greatest societal advancements can be linked to major milestones in our evolutionary history. The discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel and the harnessing of electricity have all contributed to significant leaps forward in our progress as a species.

American inventor, Thomas Edison, is widely credited with producing the first reliable incandescent light bulb in 1879, however its widespread use wasn’t cemented until the 1920s. While not initially popular, it’s contribution to our collective livelihoods remains profound.

Through the effortless flip of a switch, night can, literally, be turned into day.

While we all benefit from using light on a daily basis, many of us probably pay very little heed to its impact and to what clever lighting design can actually help us achieve.

“The quality of light within any space, especially in the commercial realm, directly impacts productivity,” says Stefano La Cava, Director of Lighting Solutions, an Auckland-based firm that produces lighting system design solutions for commercial and high-end residential applications.

“My background is in electrical engineering and I set up Lighting Solutions in 2006 with the aim of helping architects and engineers provide their clients with the best lighting design solutions possible.

“In order to achieve that, the scope of the electrical plan needs to be established right at the start of the design process to avoid any unnecessary—and potentially costly—mistakes from occurring. Anything later is only going to be a patchwork of what was needed.

“The problem in New Zealand, unfortunately, is that in the building industry the dollar spend is low—compared to other countries—and usually spent on architectural design, with little consideration for incorporating a proper lighting scheme into the design.”

Lighting Solutions excels at large, commercial projects such as this lighting design for Auckland's Aotea Square.

Lighting Solutions: experts in commercial and residential applications

“When we sit down with a client, early on in the process, and come up with a solution, we very, very rarely miss the mark in delivering a successful result. In fact, I can’t think of any projects where the client has been less than happy with the result.

“What we bring to the table is an understanding of how to achieve the desired outcome. Depth and contrast, for example, are paramount to achieving a successful commercial lighting scheme, if you ignore those you will not get the results you want. My job is to deliver what you want for your project, drawing on my thirty-plus years of experience and knowledge to do so in an efficient and cost-effective manner—to maximise the effect and minimise the cost.”

Stefano says one of his early jobs after setting up the business was helping to develop the lighting plan for the Auckland offices of Bauer Media.

“It was, for its time, a state-of-the-art LED installation and even now I still have people, particularly those who worked there, telling me what a great environment it was to work in.

That’s why we collaborate with the same clients over and over again because we have a proven track record and they know we will deliver.”

Drawing on his experience in designing lighting schemes for tunnels, sporting facilities and large-scale commercial developments, Stefano recently came up with a lighting plan for the Royal Oak Racquets Club.

“The club had a massive issue with its existing lighting infrastructure—which hadn’t been updated in years—and had been told that replacing it was going to be very expensive. Compounding the issue is that the club is bounded on two sides by houses so coming up with a successful lighting scheme that wasn’t going to exceed the budget, impact the neighbours and provide adequate lighting of the courts was a complex task.

“I’m proud to say we came up with a successful solution that came in on budget, achieved 350 lux with uniformity across the five courts and, which minimised light egress into the neighbouring properties. We have since done six or seven projects like this, now, on the back of the success of this one—every time we do a job it usually leads to another referral.”

In sporting applications, creating an even light effect is paramount. For this project, at the Royal Oak Racquets Club in Auckland, Lighting Solutions achieved a uniform 350 lux across all five tennis courts.

Lighting Solutions: delivering the power of light

“If we’re talking about a ‘blank canvas’ project then there’s only one way to proceed. If it’s retrofitting for an existing project then there can be a whole host of complications that need to be taken into account. Focusing solely on the product, however, will not get you the results you want to achieve. That’s where Lighting Solutions comes in—my job is to sell light, not lights.

“Lighting Solutions has the capability to do everything from a single shopfront up to large-scale projects such as Sylvia Park. We have the products, the expertise and the pricing to make it work.”

Growing up in Italy, Stefano says he gained an appreciation for old-school relationship building and has cultivated firm relationships with all the major lighting manufacturers with long-time brands including: Cariboni, Climar, De Majo, Forma Lighting, G-Comin, Karboxx, Leucos, Luce & Light, Macrolux, Next and P.U.K, which means Lighting Solutions covers all markets.

“We offer two product streams—architectural light fittings, both interior and exterior; and, decorative light fittings, both interior and exterior—with three tiers of products within those streams, designed to suit any budget.

“That said, if you want power and control with an LED solution, then you need to spend money. However, my business model is to deal directly with the manufacturers; no middle men and no showroom means I don’t pass on costly overheads to the client, allowing me to deliver a superior result at a price point for most budgets.”

Learn more about the impact a considered lighting scheme can have on your next project.