Australia, 9th January 2010
When the sun shines, nature seems to be in total harmony. But interestingly as we move through different landscapes the overall feel changes. Today I enjoyed some great outdoors in the Australian summer and it struck me that the impressions were so different even though we had the same sun and blue skies. Driving through forests, there was a great interplay with light and shadow under a dominant green color. Then driving through open fields it was mainly bright with the occasional hint of color from a building or another structure. Then at the beach it was a combination of white sand with a constantly changing reflective blue sea. In experiencing the world around us lighting allows us to see, but its interaction with and reflection of the surroundings, is what creates our experience.
In nature we can’t really control the sun, though we do try to re-arrange nature at times. However in interiors we can pretty much control everything. As lighting designers we control the artificial lighting and to make sure it is in harmony with the interiors we coordinate it with the interior designer and architect as needed. When architects and interior designers have good understanding of lighting and its impact then the results generally come out well. When the reverse is the case it can easily end up in a disaster. I have some examples where the interior designer did not understand the lighting impact and worse, did not heed our call to resolve it.
In order to create that “natural” feeling, we need all disciplines to be in harmony. Lighting is just one of the components.