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Lighting & Design Glossary - B

B
Backlight

By placing the light source behind an object, one can achieve a certain glow and shadowing effect desirable in certain situations. For example, by backlighting a mouth-blown vase, the vase itself seems to emanate with light.

Ballast

Device that controls the amount of current in an electrical circuit, stabilizing it for devices that cannot do it on their own. In the case of lighting, electrical ballast is needed for LEDs (resistor) and fluorescent lamps (magnetic or electronic ballast) in order for them to turn on and off smoothly and function properly.

Base

1) the very bottom or foundation of a lighting fixture
2) the entire body/structure of a fixture apart from the shade, especially a table or floor lamp.

Basketweave

Textile weaving pattern that mimics the warp and weft of baskets. It is distinguished by intersecting ribs (vertical) and welts (horizontal) that form a kind of checkerboard appearance.

Batch-dyed

Process by which material is dyed slowly in a large amount of liquid. It is the most common type of dyeing used today.

Battuto

Italian for "struck;" hammered-looking glass surface texture created by grinding.

An amazingly influential German building/design/fine arts school, in operation from 1919-1933. The Bauhaus style (ask International style) was influenced by Modernism (without mass production) and emphasized harmony between form and function and lack of ornamentation.

Bench-made

Individually produced and finished, as on a workbench; custom made.

Beveled Glass

Glass with angled edges, often to create a prismatic effect.

Blade Pitch

The angle of blades relative to a fan base. A higher blade pitch results in a greater amount of air circulation, but also greater resistance. And vice versa. Read more about fan blade pitch.

Blade Span

The circular area covered by a fan's blades when in motion. The measurement includes the width from the tip of one blade through to the tip of the blade opposite, including the central fan housing. Also called Blade Diameter or Blade Sweep.

Bobeche

A traditional bobeche fits around the base of a candle to catch wax drippings. It can range in style from very plain to highly decorative and is often seen on chandeliers just beneath the candelabra (faux candle) bulb.

Bollard Light

The term "bollard post" originally referred to a short, vertical post used on a ship for mooring. Today, the bollard light refers to a similarly short, ground-mounted form of outdoor lighting that typically provides downward illumination intended to add safety around paths, steps and walkways.

Brocade

Usually made from rich, colorful silks, Brocade is a decorative fabric with intricate patterns (often showing nature-- like flowers or plants). Using a draw loom, Brocade weavers use an additional weft, which gives the fabric its embroidered appearance.

Buffet Lamp

Designed to sit atop a buffet table, console or credenza. Traditional Buffet Lamps are taller and thinner that standard table lamps, with smaller shades, too. Also known as a Console Lamp.

Bulb Base

The part of the bulb that connects to the fixture and its power supply. Bulb bases are denoted in a variety of ways--for example common standard bases start with the letter "E" and a number indicating the diameter of the bulb base (in millimeters).

Button Light

A small, versatile display light/undercabinet light named for its shape: generally round and flat. Also known as a puck light.

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