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cold cathode

Facing page inset: Electro Signs created the lighting feature in Selfridges’ new Shoe Galleries. Left: The Light Corporation specified cold cathode from Benge Neon for Park Village West in London’s Regent Park. Below: Cold cathode from Kemps is still running perfectly eight years later at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai.

Lyndsey Hubbard gets an update on the market.

surveyors conveniently forget that most cold cathode is priced to include installation whereas fluorescent or LED sources are not.’

Nulty has a particular love for cove lighting. ‘Coves can take many forms: coffers, wall slots, perimeter slots, pelmets and so forth, but all styles have several things in common. The eye is always drawn to the brightest point in a room, consequently discreetly concealing the light source provides visual emphasis on the illuminated surface rather than a distractive luminaire. This approach creates higher luminance values on the illuminated surface than on surrounding ones, providing good contrast, drama and visual interest.’

His favourite light source for cove lighting is cold cathode. ‘Cold cathode lamps come in a wide variety of colour temperatures and as they are made to order can fit into any length cove. Energy

efficient and long life (approx 40,000 hours), a common misconception is that cold cathode is expensive to purchase.’ Antonio Patente, business development manager at Kemps Lighting, believes that cold cathode offers the lighting designer a platform for creativity and originality whilst at the same time providing a durable and reliable product at a cost effective price. ‘The range of colours available is outstanding and can give structure, ambiance and flair to any design. It may be used to highlight or emphasise a particular feature or simply to fill a larger area with light and colour,’ explains Patente. ‘It is practical as well as artistic, and the lamps themselves can be formed to any shape to follow any contour. Cold cathode lighting is able to give depth and warmth of colour to an area that is difficult to achieve with LED.’

It is able to withstand a wide range in temperature, which makes it ideal for both

indoor and outdoor use, with applications varying from the cold and wet of an English winter to the heat and humidity of exterior facades of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Kemps Lighting made the external white lines on the Grand Hyatt in Dubai using cold cathode eight years ago, and the lighting is still working perfectly in this type of environment.

‘Cold cathode lamps can be expected to give around 50,000 hours of light with very little maintenance once installed. LEDs are not the only products that are economical to run. A cold cathode lighting system uses as little as 20W per metre, going up to 60W for a high output system allowing the designer to balance lux levels to running costs,’ says Patente. Mark Wolstenholme, marketing manager at ACDC Lighting, stresses the long lamp life of cold cathode: ‘In a fluorescent lamp, the electrodes must be heated to strike the lamp and this results in a reduced


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