A Holistic Approach to Lighting Design
When thinking about lighting from a user’s point of view, we normally don’t realise the true impact of lighting in our day-to-day lives. Usually, we’re far too busy to consider the small things which we often take for granted. Providing there’s light, and it’s bright enough for us to do what we need to do, for most of us it doesn’t even cross our minds. Of course, this is normal – but, it can be beneficial for us to have a deeper understanding of the nature of light.
As human beings, we continuously adapt to our surroundings. This is a natural process. We don’t need to actively control it. At the same time, however, we aren’t always able to define what is good for us and what is not. Understanding the impact of a stimulus that surrounds us all the time increases our awareness and sensitivity – and this helps us live our lives to the fullest!
Light is one of the most powerful stimuli. It’s present during every waking moment of our lives – from dusk till dawn. Since the introduction of electric lighting, we began to learn how to tailor it for our needs. Increasingly intelligent technologies in the lighting industry allow us to create lighting solutions which get closer and closer to natural daylight. With the help of intelligent lighting control systems, we can use the power of light to help us stay safe, increase our productivity, and reduce its influence where it is not needed.
The human body has a complex structure in which the physical, psychological and social aspects of our existence are intertwined. The biopsychosocial approach systematically considers biological, psychological and social factors and their complex interactions in understanding health, illness, and health care delivery. 1
Considering that light is a vital physical stimulus, we need to understand it through the biopsychological paradigm – to know how light impacts our body, psyche and social being. This level of understanding can enrich our daily experience and appreciation of light and helps us to create our own, personal lighting, designed to best fit our daily needs.
One of the most holistic and advanced lighting design approaches for buildings was introduced by International Well Building Institute: the WELL Building Standard. This is a commercial standard based on the latest scientific research and expertise of users, practitioners, public health professionals and building scientists around the world.2 The WELL Standard describes light in its visual, mental and social aspects through the architecture of the building, design of the interiors, operational policies and technical parameters of lighting equipment.
My next blog post will be dedicated to a closer review of these three basic design blocks – visual, mental and social aspects in lighting design. I welcome you to join me on this research journey!
Author: Ivan Fiev, Area Manager CIS, WELL AP
Engel, George L. (8 April 1977). “The need for a new medical model: a challenge for biomedicine”