The Magical Art of Lighting Design

ARA_11_Editorial for Eblast2

There is one fundamental fact about lighting: Where there is no light, there is no beauty. -Billy Baldwin, Ruby Ross Wood

Light is that magical ingredient that defines a space. Like an artists’ canvas, light is layered to create stunning visual environments for people to live, work, play, learn, shop, and communicate in. It is an essential tool in our lives. Lighting quality is defined by achieving a perfect balance among human needs, architectural designs, and energy efficiency.

“The lighting of it affects everything light falls upon: how you see what you see, how you feel about it, and how you hear what you are hearing.” – Jean Rosenthal.

The proper application of lighting improves satisfaction and performance, draws attention, influences social interaction, fosters positive mood, beautifies space, facilitates communication, promotes safety and security, and increases visual comfort. Poor lighting can have opposite effects including headaches, depression, glare, distraction and lower productivity. Improper lighting can also produce unsafe conditions by failing to illuminate hazards such as curbs, stair edges, even labels on cleaning products.

Design is defined by light and shade, and appropriate lighting is enormously important. -Albert Hadley, The Story of America’s Preeminent Interior Designer

Light and shadow are tools that lighting designers use to make faces, objects, and spaces more visible and more attractive. Patterns of light and the appearance of lighting equipment itself convey vital information to people such as scale and function while emphasizing points of interest such as artwork.

Visible white light is comprised of colors. The spectral composition of a light source, whether it is “cool” or “neutral” or “warm” in color appearance, can affect how we perceive the colors of faces, objects and surfaces. Qualified lighting designers are trained to choose the best light spectrum for the space to achieve the best quality of light.

Lighting is everything. It creates atmosphere, drama, and intrigue in a room.” – Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Lighting designers are a tremendous resource of innovative, practical, and economically viable lighting solutions. They know how to make the best use of the subtle and powerful medium of light, creating effects that can be changed to match the mood of the space.   Qualified lighting designers understand codes, standards, safety and security issues to ensure the proper application of light. Light is a technically difficult yet spectacular medium that requires mastery of varied and continually evolving disciplines. A lighting designer integrates the arts, sciences, and business of illumination design and application. Light is intangible and invisible until it strikes an object or surface. Controlling this medium gives the lighting “artist” the ability to create scale, dynamics, and mood.

Layers of light, like a beautiful painting, adds depth and dimension to any space or architectural element. – Robert Singer

Lighting design has become a creative extension of architectural design, improving visibility and complementing form, concept and color. Experience and talent create patterns of illumination that positively reinforce overall project goals. Brilliant and creative light design adds value to any architectural project.

“Light is how we see. Lighting is how we see the world and each other.” – IALD

Energy efficiency and lighting quality should go hand-in-hand when shaping effective energy policy. Lighting consumes about 20% of the electric energy in buildings, therefore it is imperative to address the value light brings us while also addressing energy issues. The installation, maintenance, and operation need to be environmentally friendly. The IALD has joined with other lighting organizations around the world to urge governments to adopt energy policies that recognize the importance of the proper application of lighting and its impact on human well-being and commerce. Energy-efficient lighting should be achieved in a manner that does not compromise lighting’s primary intent to serve human needs in a world in which most information is gathered through the eye.

We eat light, drink it in through our skins. With a little more exposure to light, you feel part of things physically. I like feeling the power of light and space physically because then you can order it materially. Seeing is a very sensuous act–there’s a sweet deliciousness to feeling yourself see something. -James Turrell

Leave a Reply