Architectural Lighting Design and Lighting Fixtures
by Arie Louie
There is a widely spread misconception about lighting fixtures, most people perceive them to be the "Light". While it is true that lighting fixtures produce light the majority of them actually produce glare, not Light.
The point of this discussion is philosophical in nature but has major implications on your well-being. To set a base for the discussion we need to distinguish between a light and Light. While regular light can come from any source in nature or artificially from light bulbs or any other technology, we will relate to Light as the actual application of the light source into a space.
"Light talks to the soul"
Your ability to apply light into a space in a manner that complements the space and your objectives for it, and at the same time have the light make us feel good, is an art. Working with Light is no different than an artist painting on a canvas.
Light talks to the soul, if you walk into a well-illuminated space you will immediately feel good. Light and feelings go hand in hand; in the motion picture industry lighting has a great effect on each scene, and plays a major role in creating the atmosphere of what is projected on the screen. The same applies to your living environment, in your living room, kitchen, family or bedroom, light plays a major role in how you feel and how comfortable you are.
Light and form touch each other, since you can not "see" light other then when it touches a form, you should be looking for the way it is applied onto the space, the way it illuminates and reflects off walls, counters, tables, arm chairs, floors etc. you should plan for how the Light would affect your space. For example;
Assume that you have a large living room with a nice sitting are in the middle, the floor is dark cherry wood and on the beige painted walls hang an expensive collection of art. In one of the corners stands a large tree in a planter. Now imagine a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the center of the room above the sitting area, the chandelier holds six 60W bulbs that are exposed. There is no other source of lighting in the room. In this case, the natural tendency is to achieve a balanced illumination in the room so your eyes can adapt to see the art on the walls and the plant as well as other items that are spread on the parameter of the room, as well as the area under the light. Well what do you do? You turn the light all the way up (assuming it is on a dimmer) hopping for it to spread and affect the far sides of the room. The result is usually a large amount of glare from the centrally located chandelier and unbalanced lighting in the room. What do you think the physiological and psychological affects of such out-of-balanced lighting are on you?
"Light has major affects on how you feel both physiologically and psychologically..."
Now let's see how you could approach this differently. If you were to "layer" the light providing a few different sources in the space, you could separately and appropriately illuminate each piece of art, the plant in the corner and add a few more lights to illuminate other objects in the room as needed. Now when you turn the lights on, you can balance the light sources by controlling them with dimmers. The chandelier becomes a decorative object and not the main light source, the art lighting creates an interesting and attractive display that envelopes the room while also providing with warm reflected Light to the space. The plant light helps bring interest and freshness and the accent lights that you added fill the room with light in places that are needed. You can raise or lower the lights in groups as needed and enjoy your newly lighted room with great pleasure.
Light has major affects on how you feel both physiologically and psychologically, the correct application of lighting results in happier and more satisfied people, better home or work environments and happier customers for retail hospitality and service businesses.
Enjoy the Light.
- Arie Louie
Find out more about: Arie Louie