Many studies have shown how humans are affected by light, or the lack of light. There’s a reason why restaurants dim their lights for dinner dining hours or why industrial areas have stark, white light shining down. We rely on light to get our work done, to extend our relaxation hours, and to carry out our everyday activities comfortably.
The best architectural lighting design involves the fields of architecture, interior design, and electrical engineering to create lighting systems that will most benefit human needs, using a combination of light sources. When designing or renovating a commercial space, lighting design should play a major role in your planning. For the best results, consult an architectural lighting design firm.
What’s the Big Deal With Lighting?
Humans are wired to respond to light, whether positively or negatively. Recent studies have shown that the blue light that’s emitted from our devices (phones, computers, tablets, etc.) can have a negative effect on our sleep patterns. In response, some companies have devised a warmer, reddish hue to light devices at a certain point of the night. And in the winter, when there’s less natural light, many people experience seasonal affective disorder, and need time spent in front of light boxes.
The light in our offices can also affect us. The American Society of Interior Design conducted a study that showed that almost 70% of employees have problems with the way their offices are illuminated. Not only that, but employees who had windows in their offices got over 45 extra minutes of sleep every night than their peers who had no natural light. Employees exposed to natural light also reported getting more exercise after they left work. These are just some of the unconscious ways we respond to light — or the lack thereof — without even realizing it.
What Are the Environmental Benefits of Modern Lighting Design?
In addition to the quality of life benefits, modern light fixtures are far more energy efficient. That means focusing on more efficient lighting can help reduce energy bills and conserve our resources. Right now, lighting is responsible for 11% of energy use in residential buildings and almost 20% in commercial buildings. In fact, The Department of Energy reports that almost a quarter of all electricity produced in the United States goes to lighting.
What Do Architectural Lighting Design Firms Focus On?
Here’s where architectural lighting design firms jump in. They create lighting concepts that add to a space by marrying aesthetic visions, ideal business outcomes, and even environmental concerns together. Every commercial lighting project will be a little different — retail store lighting will require a different lighting scheme than restaurant lighting design, but the design process usually follows a similar layout.
The best architectural lighting design firms will evaluate how much light is needed in the first place. They’ll try and match the color of the light to the area it’s being used in; for example, in a restaurant, brighter light will be required in the kitchen, while softer, yellower light might be used for the dining area. They’ll take into account how different space might be viewed in different lights and what the vision of the overall environment should look like when the project is completed.
The firm will also need to see how the light should be distributed, regardless of whether the space is indoor or outdoor, for the best effect. And of course, they’ll want to see how the system affects the users of the space, either in a positive or negative fashion. Tweaks and adjustments may need to be made, based on feedback.
And while light has many benefits beyond aesthetics, modern design can also incorporate light in exciting ways. The best architectural lighting is a work of art in itself, illuminating a space with a dazzling display of color.
Light, and how we get it, is an important factor in both our personal and professional lives. Lighting is more than just an aesthetic — it’s a science that can often influence how we feel or carry out our day. An architectural lighting design firm strives to create the best work and play environments for us every day.