Architectural Lighting

Shanghai, 1st February 2010

February already…..New Year seems like yesterday! …
Today was “doctor-consultation-day” for me, with a continuous stream of my project designers coming in and out my office to discuss little or bigger lighting issues that need the “doctor’s” eyes. This is generally a greatly satisfying day as at the same time of finding solutions I can share my expertise and educate at the same time. When otherwise do we have time to train our staff! We are always busy!

When I started out one of the big questions was: “what actually is architectural lighting?” Simple question, but not necessarily so simple to answer! What springs to mind are beautiful images of beautiful architectural spaces, but what characteristic does lighting need to have, to achieve that “beautiful” status?

My answer is “harmony!” Be in harmony with the architecture. People sometimes ask me what is the best compliment that you can get in regards to lighting? I generally answer that the best compliment is no compliment! Because to me it means that the lighting is so well integrated and in harmony with its architecture that the whole space stands out as one. If the lighting does it is either too much or too little!

To achieve that balance and harmony there are many little things that come into play, like the architectural rhythm of the light, interception of light by vertical surfaces, issues related to colour and, most of all, how we perceive light which is dictated by the laws of perception (these date back from Germany’s Bauhaus time   :)). I may dedicate another blog to these perception laws alone as they are really interesting. My point is that unless we want to make a statement with light and lighting as a feature, architectural lighting to me is the seamless integration of light and architecture.

PS I must credit my former mentor, friend and colleague in Philips, Eric Caminada, for teaching me all these beautiful architectural principles!

01. February 2010 by Martin Klaasen
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