Singapore, 18th October 2012
While the Noche Zero event in Chili should be in its final stages (an event I unfortunately could not attend, but hope to catch up on soon) I am left pondering what life without light would be! We take light for granted, but if one our main senses, sight (80% of our information is received through our eyes), would stop generating information what would we miss most? I think colour! We are blessed that we can see colour (some say that blind people can feel colour…). Part of a lighting designers job is to manipulate, enhance or control the way we see colour and in my design vocabulary colour is generally driven by nature, the way colours appear in nature. It feels “natural” to us. The rainbow is probably the most iconic colour configuration known to man. It is also at the heart of our artificial lighting technology.
When we speak about colour it includes the shades within the same colour range. I don’t know how many colours that can technically be produced (millions I have been told) but I doubt we can really see all the nuances. I don’t think our eye has the capability to differentiate so many shades. Much in line with lighting levels, you can’t see the difference between 20 and 21 lux, but we can see the difference between 20 and 40 lux or 50 and 100 lux. The increments have to be of some substance to have any visual effect.
Imagine lighting design without colour, we would be working with light and dark only with associated effects like intensity, distribution, reflections and transparency. Colour is very much a key ingredient in our design process and now, with the unlimited availability of RGB LED variations, understanding and appreciating the role and impact of colour is more crucial then ever!
Light Watch 3-160: Colour!