Interior Designer Jo Littlefair on 2019’s Top Lighting Trends

On the back of the fabulous Canary Wharf Winter Lights festival, The Resident looks to the burgeoning E14 residential district for a lead on 2019’s top lighting trends

Lead image: A Cluster apartment at One Park Drive (photo: G Gardner)

Canary Wharf has long since shed its image as a district of cold glass towers housing boom or bust financial institutions, instead blossoming as a waterfront weekend hangout rich in culture, great dining spots and desirable new apartments.

One of those making its mark on London’s mini Manhattan is luxury design studio Goddard Littlefair, the mastermind behind the lighting and interiors for Canary Wharf’s landmark development, One Park Drive at Wood Wharf.

‘Dark spaces are just as important as light ones and you can play on this easily to create different moods and define spaces’

Jo Littlefair, Director & Co-Founder of Goddard Littlefair, knows how important lighting is, especially when it comes to turning a house into a home: ‘You need to consider the activities that take place within each space and ensure there is adequate brightness for them,’ she says.

‘Where there is plenty of space for each activity, this is relatively straightforward but, when space is at a premium, the ability to have multi-functional spaces with flexible lighting is essential.’

‘Lighting in the home is all about balancing shadow and light. Dark spaces are just as important as light ones and you can play on this easily to create different moods, define spaces and emphasise certain architectural elements.’

Jo Littlefair on 2019’s lighting trends

What’s hot

Warm Lighting
‘Natural or warm light is far more flattering than the cold and intrusive blue-based lighting we see so much of nowadays, especially in kitchens,’ says Littlefair.

‘Take inspiration from the Scandinavian way of living instead, where, for example, you’ll see candles burning all day.

‘That glowing light harks back to our earliest roots, when we cooked on open fires and gathered together for warmth. We still subconsciously associate warm light with a sense of belonging and community.

Littlefair also points out the effects of lighting on our sleep patterns. Natural warm light, which occurs at the end of the day, ‘brings out the melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleep’, whereas with blue light, produced at the start of the day, has the effect of ‘energising us and suppressing melatonin.’ Get the balance right – and swap the late night social media scrolling for a good book.

Hidden Light
‘Lighting has become much more subliminal and we have actively moved away from stark downlighting,’ says Littlefair. ‘We always use ambient sideways light, rather than anything from the ceiling. It is much more natural, flattering, warmer and cosier.

‘For many, lighting within the home is an afterthought, but, if you consider it as another element of the architecture, you can cleverly build it into the overall design. Indirect or hidden lighting works best when you can’t see the source and yet it’s able to add another dimension.’

Take a look at the images below for some great examples of hidden lighting used at One Park Drive. Lighting that cleverly emanates from shelving units and soft halo lighting around bathroom mirrors and backlighting behind the trims direct light onto the walls ‘so that it reflects back into the space, rather than beaming it down directly onto your face’.


‘Materiality is a reaction to the ubiquity of technology and the fact that the images we see via technology are 2D and flat,’ says Littlefair.

‘To counter this, we use a combination of decorative and architectural lighting to paint a canvas with our interiors, helping to not only light up a space, but highlight different textures, pieces of artwork and fabrics to create a layered and 3D environment.

‘There are always design challenges in any project and coming up with a different language every time is a big part of that. The ribbed panelling used on the exterior of One Park Drive was a really interesting element for us to play on, for example. We honed in on this inside, creating timber panels and using lighting to really show off those textures.’


Industrial Lighting
It’s been a huge trend, with exposed filaments adding finishing that warehouse chic look, but now it’s a no, says Littlefair: ‘The industrial light bulb is something we have seen way too much of.

Modern lighting: Large Ava Floor Lamp in Black,

Is it the end of the industrial-style light?

‘Even though they have developed energy efficient LED versions, people are moving away from the raw industrial look and refining it a lot more. Consider elements of marble and real brass instead for light fittings.’

Coloured Lighting
‘When we first got access to coloured lighting, people went a bit crazy with it. Every kitchen unit and worktop was lit, so our homes started to resemble giant spaceships.

‘Coloured lighting works particularly well for signage and wayfinding on commercial projects or as a standalone art installation for example, but, on the whole, it has very little place in the home. Sometimes less really is more!’

‘We have definitely seen the end of down-lighting, it is unflattering and can over-flood a room. Sideways and hidden lighting are far more flattering and methods such as track lighting, although on the ceiling, give us greater flexibility over the direction of light.

‘There is a time and a place for downlighting, for example in utility spaces, but on the whole we avoid it in residential spaces.’

Apartments at One Park Drive, the signature development at Wood Wharf designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, has 483 apartments, views of the surrounding docklands, a 24-hour hotel-style concierge service and dedicated residents’ amenities. Prices start from £825,000. See