What is lighting all about?
“There is far more to lighting a residence than a sea of downlights, unfortunately today the market has the perception that this is what is required.” “Light defines. Light is the medium through which we perceive the world.” The crucial importance of light – natural or artificial – to our appreciation and enjoyment of architectural space is fully recognised by architects and interior designers, but “The Black Art” may not perhaps be fully understood. The work of a lighting designer offers the key to better understanding. Lighting design has at its heart the principle that the lighting solution must be at one with the space itself. Lighting is the extension of the architecture, not something simply applied to it. When used artistically and skilfully, light can transport the intentions behind the building designer’s design, increasing intensity – or perhaps not. It is hard to think of another material that can create, change, transform, play up/down, influence moods, emphasise experience and bring life (or destroy the ambience within) any space at the flick of a switch.
The Role of Lighting Design
Lighting is art and science. This implies there are no hard and fast rules, nor will here be only one solution to a particular problem. More often than not the lighting designer is faced with a set of conflicting requirements to which priorities have to be allocated before a compromise can be found. The role of the lighting designer is to provide inspiration, guidance, recommendation and specification detailing:
- Requirements of lighting
- Critical decisions influencing the design process,
- Relevant calculation procedures to ensure compliance to the standards and design brief.
The first step begins with the development of the lighting design objectives or project brief. You should be considering how you want to use each area of the residence. Where are you looking for moodlighting, or practical lighting such as the
kitchen and bathrooms? What is the effect you would like to achieve? It is important to realise that not all lights are the same. The brief is a clear description (usually in plain language) of what needs to be created to provide optimum conditions for the occupants and the intended use of the space. “How is the space to look and how is it to function.”
The development of the brief is of critical importance to ultimate success and should not be underestimated or ignored. 80% of design time should be dedicated to quantifying this aspect.