Sian Baxter, Bespoke Lighting Design

by Becky Hoh in Bespoke stories

Sian Baxter of Sian Baxter Lighting Consultancy has always had a strong sense of what works in terms of light, space and experience.

‘As a teenager, when I went out to friend’s homes or to restaurants, I would instinctively feel when a light was not being used to its best effect,’ Baxter describes. ‘My understanding of light feels very innate to me.’

Sian Baxter, A lighting designer with over 13 years experience, with a reputation for creating innovative lighting schemes with a contemporary edge, as well as specialising in aesthetically pleasing energy efficient lighting design, started her London based studio in 2001. Before this she worked as a project manager for several City institutions, running large and time-sensitive design projects – including work around the Hong Kong handover and the Euro conversion. This project management experience has proved invaluable with managing her lighting projects, from inception through to implementation and now sees her working with property developers, home owners, architects, interior and landscape designers, restaurant, hotel and residential projects, across the UK and abroad.

The bespoke ethos to her work is something Baxter feels strongly about and is essential to her approach.

‘All my lighting schemes are tailored to the requirements of the client and the property. There is no set formula that works in all properties or gardens,’ she firmly asserts. ‘Each space commands a different approach. For example, one might think that stair-lights are stair-lights but this is not the case. There’s the number – should lighting happen every step, every other, every third. There’s the position – Should it be in the wall or in the string? The beam angle of the light source and so on are all dictated by the space itself. There is no set formula that will work in all cases.’

The now 6-strong team also create many bespoke decorative fittings including chandeliers, pendants and lamps for schemes. More often than not these bespoke fittings are for large spaces such as a stairwell, where it is not possible to buy a fitting that would work perfectly.

‘I also design many bespoke bathroom cabinets with integral lighting,’ she explains. ‘Bathroom cabinets have notoriously bad lighting – often central overhead, which is not optimal and use poor quality LEDs that don’t dim.’

Baxter describes her days as ‘hectic and varied’ and we can see why with current projects including a new build detached house in Bromley, a basement flat in Holland Park, a kit-house in Chorley Wood, a refurbished town house in Hampstead and a spa in Cornwall. And next on the agenda is a Victorian townhouse in Victoria, a restaurant in Surrey and a new build property on the beach in Miami!

We asked Sian to talk us through one of her favourite projects to date, to show just how integral well thought out and executed lighting is to any scheme and how it can completely take it to the next level.

Detached Period Townhouse in London

Size: over 12000 sq. feet

Brief: It was to be refurbished and completely rewired. A company that was developing it and marketing it to the elite market place carried out the refurbishment. There was no ultimate client but the feel had to be soft contemporary (with some more traditional elements), plush and striking.

The Scheme: I wanted to emphasise the space and the grandeur of the house. It had huge, tall and wide doors everywhere so I highlighted them, but recessing up-lights.

The staircase was beautiful so again I brought attention to this by lighting the steps. In the bedrooms, to emphasis the ceiling height, I used bespoke pendants instead of beside table lamps. In the bathroom, I used recessed shower heads with integral lights, that lit up the water as it fell. A bespoke chandelier was commissioned for the double height entranceway for dramatic effect.

Sian Baxter Lighting –

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