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Principles of Lighting Design

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Elizabeth Lockwood

on 15 July 2014

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Transcript of Principles of Lighting Design

Principles of Lighting Design
Week One

How we see light and its History
Our ability to make sense of our environment greatly depends on our ability to see which depends on light......
How we talk about light.....
Quality of Light
Directional Effects of Lighting
To have a quality environment the designer must:
-Maximize the positive attributes of brightness
-Minimize glare
that is part of the electromagnetic spectrum
Light is a form of energy....
Rods & Cones are the detector cells located at the back of the retina.

perceive light and dark which are activated at lower illuminance levels.

perceive color which are activated in bright light
Vision begins when light enters the pupil and cornea and focuses light on the retina.
Man began by using fire and burning animal fat for light
History of Light
The Romans put an oculus in the Pantheon to maximize
indirect sunlight
History of Light
Warm Light was created using Oil lamps and candles in the 16th-18th centuries
History of Light
The Industrial Revolution greatly affected humans
circadian rhythm
with the introduction of gas burning lamps.
History of Light
1870's brought mass production of
incandescent carbon filament lamps
. We can credit Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison among others.
History of Light
The invention of electricity revolutionized opportunities in Interior Design (Victorian era)
History of Light
A flame of a candle generates about 12 lumens.

An incandescent A-lamp (60
) generates 890 lumens.
Color Temperature (kalvin (K)
indicates the degree of red or blue light supplied by the source (lamp).

Higher numbers = coolers colors
3000k - warm
3500k - neutral
4100k - cool
5000k - daylight
Color Rendering Index:
measures how faithfully a light source reveals the color of an object/surface/finish.

The index ranges from 0-100. (100 is 100% of the full spectrum)

Higher the number the "truer the color."
Must be examined under the true light source for the space.

Design firms may have a light box.
Finish Selection
History of light
How we talk about light
Quality of light
Directional effects of lighting

Presentation Content
The unit of light that a lamp emits (perceived by the human eye) is measured in

The unit that measures the quality of light that falls on a surface is the

Light entering the eye creates a sensation of

The brightness is the density of light hitting a surface and is called

Lighting Vocab.
Measuring Light Quality
Measuring Light Quality
Luminance vs. Illuminance
What does this have to do with light quality?
Quality of light allows users to function comfortably, feel safe, and appreciate the aesthetic qualities of a space.
“Quality lighting includes
the art of balancing and
integrating daylight +
general, task, accent and
decorative lighting.”

-Winchip, S. pg. 5
Fundamentals of Lighting

Layers of light are combined to make a composition:
General light that provides the uniform lighting for a space

lighting is optimal
-Establish the general mood or character of the space
-Based on the needs of the user and the function of the space
-Draws attention
-Creates drama, interest, excitement
-To be effective:
-Must have hierarchy and emphasis in space by using contrast
-Avoids direct glare
-Utilizes the best angle (30 degrees)
-Usually adjustable

or "Focal" Light
Accent Technique: Back light
Accent Technique:
A direct light (usually down)
allows the end user to see
critical details and perform activities.

can be a form of task but along with it comes potential for

Best Achieved:
-Flexible (adjustable, control is custom, portable, dimmable
-Watch out for glare and shadows
-Approx. 3x general lighting level
-Luminaires include portable fixtures, pendants, recessed, track and structural lighting

Provides interest in the space and complements the design aesthetic.

Contrast is key 5:1 ratio between accent and general
(10:1 or 20:1 max).

Decorative Light
Light Mapping
Light mapping allows the designer to establish the layers of light.
**See handout
How does color affect spaces?
An object is "colored," because of the light it
reflects, all other colors are absorbed into that
specific object.
Field of vision is approx. 60 degrees
from center and is your best visual acuity (ability to see detail and color).

Peripheral – the sides/up & down of central. Best to detect brightness, motion, flashing lights

In the absence of light, Everything is black

A piece of white paper appears white because it is reflecting most or all of the light’s color.

A piece of black velvet absorbs nearly all the visible spectrum.
For an object to be black, all the wavelengths of light hitting that object are absorbed;
no light is reflected

There are three things that can happen
to a light wave. It can be:

- Reflected
- Absorbed
- Transmitted

Colors may look different by the reflections of nearby objects. The same color can look different with a matte or gloss finish.

The goal of every lighting scheme is to select the amount and quality of light needed to see the colors clearly.

Natural light will have different affects on true color depending on the time of day, season and weather.

The quality of the sun light coming through the windows during the day will have be extremely warm.
Direct Glare
When light source has a high illumination level and is not covered or shielded
-unshielded lamp
greater than 25 watts
-unshielded downlights
-high light levels in adjacent
Indirect Glare
When light is reflected from surfaces or objects
-light source reflected
from a light colored
(white) or shiny surface
-glass/ mirrors
-high gloss surfaces
Illumination levels can
be significantly
increased and still not
be bright

-When a light source appears excessively bright
-Glare can be created when contrast is severe between two areas.
Glare can cause:
-loss in visual acuity
-eye fatigue and strain
-remember adaptation
of the pupils?
Controlling Glare
Pay attention to end-users’ position & posture
-Control glare using more luminaires with low wattages, rather than fewer luminaires at high wattages
-locate luminaires out of
end-user’s field-of-vision
-shield light sources with
shades, baffles, louvers or lenses

-The interaction between light and the surface qualities of objects and your material selections
-Ex. flooring & walls
Reflectance and the effects of Materials
Light is either reflected or absorbed
Smooth and shiny materials reflect more light
Rough and heavily textured materials absorb more light
(*see samples in class)
Control Glare
Control glare and direction of
light with luminaires you select!
-Shielding Devices

-Uses reflection on the inside
surfaces to redirect light (look up)

Describes how the light passes through a material
Direct Transmission – Majority
of light passes through
(clear glass)
Diffused Transmission– light is
scattered in many directions
(frosted glass)
Exploration of Lamps
Lamps designed for optical control:
PAR and MR lamps (*see examples)

Exploration of luminaires:
Luminaires designed to control illumination:
-Shielding devices
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