As an industry, electrical lighting is relatively new—less than 150 years old —and it originated thanks to an entrepreneur. This individual conceived of electrical lighting as a process of busy, active thought, contemplation, deliberation, experimentation and invention. His name is Thomas Edison.
Talieh Ghane researches the interaction between light and health at the California Lighting Technology Center. We talked about the biological vs. visual system of light, how to synchronize your circadian clock for better health, how light is like a drug, and why you shouldn’t be on your phone right before bed (guilty).
The war room ring pendant in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove may be the first modern appearance of the famous ring light trending in conference room lighting today. The epic, 22-foot diameter light hangs over upper echelon military personnel in the fictional depiction of a war room in Kubrick’s movie.
Choosing the right lighting for any space can be a complex decision. Considerations need to be made with respect to the purpose, form and function of the lighting application. Design and aesthetics also play a role in the equation. With so many options for lighting on the market, it takes specialized knowledge and understanding to determine the best fit for your space.
The term Architectural Lighting encompasses three main factors. The first is the building’s aesthetic, which is crucial for any commercial, especially retail, environment. The second consideration is ergonomic or functional — any aspect which improves one’s ability to live, work, function, relax or play — to make the space easier to use. The third aspect involves the efficiency of energy, ensuring that light is properly, which is to say economically or optimally, used and distributed.
What does the individual need and want to produce quality work? Enough desk space to spread elbows to type, write and create? A power outlet and natural light? Ample lighting? Privacy? The Commune, a compact work and collaborative space in Texas designed to meet creative demand, features all of this in various detail.
If the work of lighting design was just left to services engineers to meet regulation-determined illuminance criteria per application, then interior and exterior architectural spaces would become soulless environments. Using qualitative measurements, architects and lighting designers can make sure the architectural intention and aesthetic character of a space is not compromised.
Art can use light to convey an emotion, mood or thought, transcending language. Artists have always used light to emphasize certain aspects of their works of art. How light bathes a basket of fruit, for example, or shines on a pearl earring, can accentuate an art work’s attributes. The contrast of darkness with lightness can be alluring. In modern art, only the medium has changed.