Architectural Lighting Design – The Mix of Art and Science

Architectural lighting in the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Properties of Light for Architectural Lighting Design

Architectural Lighting Design is much like architecture itself; it is a mix of both  art and science.

While a creative spirit is demanded of a lighting designer, a qualified professional knows the properties of light from a scientific standpoint along with the physiology and psychology of light perceived by humans.

Architectural Lighting Design focuses on three fundamental aspects of the illumination of buildings and spaces. The first is the aesthetic appeal of a building; second the ergonomics is the measurement of how lighting contributes to the functioning of the building/space; third is the energy efficiency. Each of these three aspects is looked at in considerable detail when the lighting designer is at work.

In aesthetic appeal, the lighting designer attempts to raise the general attractiveness of the design, coordinating with the architect to decide if it should be blended into the background or whether it should stand out, and assess what kind of emotions the lighting should evoke. The functional aspects of the project can encompass the need for the project to be visible, by night and by day.

Challenges Faced by a Lighting Designer

–      evaluating the pressure of economic realities

–      coordinating the work with large complex project teams

–      studying and adhering to stringent building and energy codes

–      the growing awareness of environmental issues.

Lighting designers should stay true to their essence of design and work to find solutions, even under the most challenging of circumstances. Lighting designers are hard at work, utilizing their unique set of quantitative and qualitative skills to marry the wide-ranging set of issues that confront a project in order to find a cohesive set of solutions while trying to stay true to the pursuit of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration.

As a Lighting Consultant, I have been responsible for dozens of diverse projects, from residential high-rise to institutional and industrial. Over the years I have developed the skills and experience required to create effective lighting plans of all types, sizes and complexities. It is also a pleasure to extend the projects lighting design into the landscape, including the designing of luminaries with manufacturers.

I truly enjoy close working relationships with the architects and owners at an early stage of their projects, which allows lighting concepts to be integrated in the building design. Extensive cost analysis ensures selection of design options which satisfy established budgets.

Image credit: Pacific World