Lighting & Layering: shades and texture variations to experience environments built for life

Natural light is both physically and psychologically rewarding to people, contributing to our health, productivity and wellbeing, at home, work, or school.

In a built environment, thresholds, portals, doors, bridges and windows, are transitional spaces, providing access from one area to another. From a biophilic design perspective, these areas provide a connection to the exterior, important passageways to the surroundings, often fostering a sense of comfort.

An effective design occurs in complementary relation to this idea of connection to nature and feelings of shelter and protected refuges. Bring the natural and the built environment as complementary within open areas to recreate an element of spaciousness. There is a visual hierarchy of textures, colors, materials, shapes, decorative objects, all elements competing for attention, and light is a powerful medium to establish the most adequate setting to a scene.

Our visual system is naturally drawn to the brightest objects in our field of view. Focus can be created not just with increased light levels, but with changes in the direction or color of light. From minimally decorated architectural spaces to highly contrasted objects within a lighting scheme, layering should recreate three-dimensional depth, a factor of daylight exposure.

  • Downlights, a narrow-beam from above to create a glow of reflected light.
  • Low-level light, a floating effect to soften, for instance, an evening setting. Warm white LED strips can be used to achieve this effect.
  • Task lighting provides a pool of light that is bright enough to read by, originated from table or floor standing lamps.
  • Side lighting, provides good contrast for small objects. Ideally, it injects infill and removes shadows.
  • Concealed lighting, within boxing for linear displays, under kitchen cabinets, in shelving units, or cove ceilings to highlight unusual architectural details; these luminaires create a diffuse glow of light, in the form of background lighting

Finding the best lighting solution requires planning and skill;  consider natural and artificial sources for a well-balanced space and a pleasant environment.

The use of natural colors in these areas not only is aimed at creating visual accessibility and acuity, but, also, it brings out the benefits of an innate human connection to the natural world. Likewise, organic materials, makes us reflect on a flow of nature;  sustainability has been a topic of consideration for interior designers in the age of post-industrial revolution. Today, as users of spaces, we are all involved in a conversation about energy savings and a socially responsible investment towards our community.

 

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