Lighting Designer and Electrician Eleanor Bell talks to PE about lighting trends, women in industry and whether quality is reflected in the cost of lighting.
Following on from achieving a First Class Degree in Contemporary Crafts at Falmouth University, Eleanor went on to become an NICEIC Approved Contractor and has since applied her artistic flare and creativity to lighting design.
Given Eleanor’s background design skills, we asked her whether she thinks it’s important for an electrician to start thinking like an interior designer when they visit a customer’s premises. “It depends on the individual electrician. If lighting is something they are interested in then I think they will naturally make suggestions to customers,” she says. “The more projects you work on the more you get a feel for what works. It is a good way to add value to your business”.
She then went on to mention the increasing popularity of open plan living spaces and how essential it is to understand how the customer intends on using the space or area – “details like switch positions and number of lighting circuits are really important to its functionality”.
Eleanor told PE that she thinks people are becoming “more aware of the effect lighting has on our health – for example, how being exposed to blue light in the evenings can disrupt our sleep patterns”.
With customers showing more of a consideration towards the impact of lighting in their homes, Eleanor predicts biorhythmic lighting will become a trend to look out for having become more affordable and filtering down into the domestic market. “Biorhythmic lighting mimics the changing colour of daylight throughout the day – from cool whites in the morning to warmer whites in the evening,” she explains.
When asked about the relationship between the cost and quality coming into play Eleanor stated: “You get what you pay for, in terms of the quality of materials, build and LED chips. If you buy a cheap, poorly made fitting, the customer will usually pay for it twice over – once to have it installed, and the second time when it fails and they have to call out the electrician and pay for a replacement.”
If being able to both design and install light projects wasn’t enough, Eleanor is waving the flag for those females that currently make up less than one percent of the industry as an ambassador for the NICEIC’s Jobs for the Girls campaign – an initiative that aims to reform the disparity of female workers within the electrical industry.
When PE asked Eleanor what it means to her to be a female electrician she told us: “I am proud to be a female electrician. There are women in every walk of life so why not the electrical industry?” Eleanor admits that her gender didn’t come into her decision to train to be an electrician. “I chose it because it was a good fit for me. I enjoy being creative, practical and using my brain, and electrical work ticks all those boxes. But if I can also show other women that it is a possible route for them too then that is a bonus”.
When asked if she believes we will start to see more female electricians in the industry Eleanor was hopeful stressing:“It is important that we show girls that this is an option open to them so that more and more are encouraged to take up apprenticeships” she added: “I look forward to the day when my presence on-site is no longer a novelty.”
For more information about Eleanor’s projects and designs please visit: http://www.eleanorbell.co.uk/