Singapore, 5th April 2011
As part of our lighting documentation we include areas that are to be controlled by scene setting, generally the case in hospitality, general public spaces, spa’s and the like. Our control schedules indicate the “looping” of the lights, in other words how the lights are to be switched or controlled. That is ok when we talk about on-off switching only. But to give the client an idea of the mood or scene setting we produce a so called dimming control matrix, where we indicate the proposed level of lighting through dimming. While the clients like us to produces these, it really does not say much other then give general impressions about the mood setting.
Do you know how much light 100 lux is? No, most of you don’t! I have done this test in my seminars and courses a hundred times asking participants to tell me how much light there is. Invariably you get people guessing anything between 10 and 1000 lux. When I then actually use a lux meter to show them it’s very educating. I then move the lux meter a few inches to the left or the right to show that I get considerably higher or lower levels! This is the eye opener, as visually the levels look pretty even to the eye. My point is that our eye has much difficulty in discerning differences of 10-20%. It only becomes really obvious if we are halving the lighting levels. Ever dimmed a T5 to 50% of its output…it visually hardly makes a dent!
So back to my dimming control schedules. We really produce them to satisfy the client as the real scene setting can only be done visually on site with all lights installed, all furniture and artworks, etc, in place. Setting scenes with some lights still missing is a waste of time! But if done with experience the schedules are a good help to describe the design intent of the mood setting and it will help the programmer later to set levels close to our design intent, rather than those brainless 100%-75%-50%-25% pre-set scene settings
In Light Watch today one of my own projects, the Oriental Hotel in Singapore. Mood setting in the lobby is critical in regards to day-night time arrival settings. However dark materials look dark, not much that light can do about it!