Just like we can’t appreciate a beautifully decorated room when all the lights are switched off, we can’t fully experience a building or structure without the right lighting. Architecture is a visual medium, which means that lighting, whether natural or artificial, is the key to showcasing all that it has to offer.
Architects who work alongside lighting designers are able to uncover innovative ways to use light in order to bring out the best in their designs, both aesthetically and functionally. There are ways to use natural light more effectively indoors with glass, lighter colour schemes and reflective surfaces; while at night, there is a multitude of ways to use light to draw attention to certain architectural details that would otherwise be hidden in darkness.
Here are four key reasons why architectural lighting matters, and why it is worth working with a good lighting designer on your project.
- It makes spaces a lot more functional
Lighting helps us see in order to navigate around spaces. Plain and simple!
Different spaces will have different requirements. For example, a theatre needs well-lit stairs and exit walkways so that people can find their way around, but in a way that doesn’t distract from the stage. Sports stadiums need a well-lit field to allow both players and spectators good visibility. An office, on the other hand, needs to consider the right level of brightness, wavelength and tone to enhance productivity and comfort within the workplace.
- It changes the way we feel
Architecture is an art form and just like a painting or sculpture, it has be ability to evoke an emotional response in those who experience it. Different colours, shapes, textures, and materials can all change the way we feel inside a space or when observing a structure. We can use lighting to draw attention to these details and allow them to be seen at all hours of the day or night, which adds significant value to an architectural design.
A great example of this can be seen in Perth’s Matagarup Pedestrian Bridge, sitting over the Swan River. The bridge has a bold and culturally significant design, resembling two flying black & white swans, which are WA’s traditional and native animals. Illumination allows the design (and its significance) to be observed all the time, even when the sun goes down.
Areas such as entertainment centres, theatres, hotels, and even hospitals also rely heavily on lighting to bring a certain mood or aesthetic quality. Warm white lighting at this concert hall draws attention to the elegant heritage timber ceiling, while Perth Children’s Hospital chose to inject some fun into their space with this spectacular light artwork by Stuart Green.
- It can create new spacial borders
When placed strategically, lighting has the ability to make a short hallway appear longer, ceilings appear higher and small rooms appear larger. It can also do wonders for diffusing any awkward spaces such as corners or recesses, and turn simple walls into architectural works of art.
- It can improve energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is such an important consideration to make these days when designing a building. Many commercial and residential buildings have strict environmental standards that need to be met, and it is up to all of us to do our part to reduce our energy use.
Finding better ways to manage natural light in a space, through the use of windows, skylights and reflective surfaces can significantly reduce the amount of artificial light required during the day. When artificial light is required, a good lighting control system with centralised switches and occupancy sensors makes it possible to minimise energy wastage. ‘Daylight harvesting’ is also becoming increasingly popular, where sensors are used to pick up on the level of natural light in a space and automatically adjust artificial lighting output to compensate.
Light Application is the leading provider of architectural lighting design in Perth, offering functional and creative solutions across a range of commercial, industrial and residential projects. How could lighting transform your project? Contact us to explore the possibilities.