Other lighting factors
Singapore 30th September 2010
We design our lighting installation initially based on the light distribution properties of the light source and optical system we plan to use. In other words we have a light “engine” that produces light and we play around with its beam to create a lighting effect in the space we are designing. I call that the primary lighting, straight from the light source. Today I received a copy of a tender package as issued by the architect in one of our projects in relation to the building façade cladding.
As always curious I studied the document to get a better understanding. I was surprised to see how detailed the architect had gone into specifying “lighting” related matters. I am talking about light transmission factors for windows, internal and external light reflectance of windows and cladding materials as well as actual colour rendering indexes for the same! It should not really say it took me by surprise because definition of these factors is crucial for the final appreciation of the building architecture and design. I just didn’t realize how detailed it was.
So that got me thinking about the secondary lighting components of our lighting design. Light transmitted through materials and light reflected of materials. In short the qualities and properties of the materials (whether translucent or solid) that intercept light our beams in space. They have a very strong influence on the end result of our lighting design and understanding its impact is crucial. There is good and bad news.
The bad news is the potential direct and reflected glare that may occur, making the light source visible to the eye in situations where we do not really want that. We all know the traps of polished marble stone floors that reflect concealed plinth lighting for instance. The good news is that we can also make a deliberate use of these characteristics and make reflections and translucency a purposed part of the design. Material perforations or partially frosted glass for instance allow some decorative lighting effects not possible with primary lighting alone.
It just reminded me how important it is to “control” these factors in our lighting design…