A forceful gale bellows outside my residence. The children and house staff have retired to their quarters. I am settled on the sofa in the drawing room, illuminated by an individual candle flame, reading Immanuel Kant’s, Critique of Pure Reason. Kant’s provocative ideation and what I consider to be elegant lighting, shape an impeccable mise-en-scéne for a transcendent evening. Hence, I have decided to take this occasion to share with you my inspiration and criterion for impressive lighting. You too may benefit from luxurious light in your home.
"There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures."
― J A M E S T H U R B E R, Author.
Evelyn M.E. Pirs wearing a beloved headpiece worn by Edwardian actor, Guillame Simone, in his play, Le Lapin L'Entrecôte, 1906.
“How must the light feel?” Pirs asks when considering a room. Her thesis-turned-book, Mastering the Sun: Harnessing Rays Into All Matters of Space, is the uncontested authority in lighting design. Her advice in moulding relaxing environments seems simple, yet powerful. “It’s imperative to utilize warm color temperature light sources which mimic the glow of candle light or the setting sun over the timbers of the hinterlands,” Pirs says. “Never accept color temperatures that exceed a dimmable halogen of 2700 Kelvin. It’s important that the light source and its enclosure cast a soft, diffuse light from a low level local source, such as a Marianne Brandt table lamp. If you can see any objects adjacent to your nearest position, the lighting is too bright.”
Pirs deems over-lighting the home as brutal and vulgar. “Many a time, when walking into severely lit spaces, my first thought is, ‘Where are my sunglasses?’” She continues, “Most people don’t comprehend the grace of soft lighting. Everyone appears better in a rosy glow, even those of your friends who are less-fortunate looking. But it's not all about looks," Pirs maintains. “When reading for instance, your mind is able to focus more on the words if you lightly squint. Reading should always be done only by the light of the setting sun, or by a single candle, carefully inserted into a proper mid century teak, stone or Victorian brass candle holder.”
“One must snuff the light of the candle in a single calming breath, as the French did in the days of Gaul.”