Light is powerful tool that can enhance the built environment via the careful use and interplay of light and space, light and form, light and surfaces, light and texture, light and colour and most importantly, light and people. A successful scheme can enhance or reinterpret a space, it can also support brand values, enhance productivity, improve well being, provide drama and dictate ambience. Even the dullest of spaces can be improved by a well-considered lighting scheme. So what is lighting design?
The Art: Imagination is everything – science can be borrowed. For this reason creative ideas should lead the design process for lighting specialists. Only once we have a clear vision for a particular building, space or environment do we consider the implications of how we might achieve it. This process is generally achieved collectively through a melting-pot of ideas and thoughts. These creative ideas the form an overarching project philosophy or design narrative.
The Science: Understanding how light works and reacts to different surfaces and materials is essential. A lighting designer understands this science along with the technical characteristics associated with natural and artificial light. It is this knowledge and understanding that helps define a design solution.
The Technology: Artificial light has progressed significantly over the last decade or so, especially with the mass production and technological developments of Light Emitting Diodes (LED’s). It is clear that LED’s are here to stay but there are still numerous other lamp types and technologies available. Keeping up to date with such developments is a necessity as it allows the lighting designer to achieve the desired effect using the most efficient and cost effective solution available.
No matter what the project, the best lighting designs come from having mastered the medium and being able to combine art, science and technology.
Author: Michael Grubb