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When done correctly, architectural lighting design can greatly impact an individual’s well-being. Not only can it bring positive psychological effects, but can transform a space for the greater good. On the flip side, if lighting isn't carefully considered it can negatively impact an inhabitant’s perception of space, reduce overall visibility, and hinder performance when it comes day-to-day activities.

That’s why architectural lighting designers have such responsibility in the success of a project nowadays. Things like temperature, position, layers of light, and controls to create different scenes make such an impact on the atmosphere of a building’s environment and all must be considered during the design phase.

In this article, we explain how lighting design is used to help occupants and visitors connect with their architectural environment on a deeper level.

What does successful architectural lighting design consist of?

The objective of lighting design is to provide adequate visibility for required functions and movement within a space. When it comes to architectural lighting design though, a lot more is achieved. Additional factors are taken into consideration to ensure a detailed and characteristic ambiance. These include:

  • The psychological impact the lighting design will have on occupants and visitors
  • The enhancement of structural features and key interior design elements with lighting design
  • The consideration of human circadian rhythm (responsible for giving us better nights sleep)
  • The use of natural daylight to support quality of the environment and lighting requirements

In order to create a successful balance between lighting and architecture, there are three main principles designers follow. The aesthetics, function, and efficiency.

For a breakdown of each architectural lighting design principle, and to discover more on the concept of architectural lighting, take a look at one of our recent blogs, what is architectural lighting design?

The layers of architectural lighting

We’ve mentioned the concept of architectural lighting – Aesthetics, function, and efficiency.

But what does the ‘function’ really mean?

When it comes to architectural lighting design, there are three main ways to achieve maximum functionality:

  • Task lighting – This refers to a direct source of light that aims to improve visibility of a targeted area. Task lighting is commonly used above work surfaces in a kitchen to help with cooking, or in a bedroom to assist with reading. Essentially, task lighting does exactly what it says on the tin. It can be used anywhere within a building to assist with the completion of activities.
  • Ambient lighting – Often the main source of lighting within a space, ambient lighting is used to provide general light, while softening shadows and glare.
  • Accent lighting - For those wanting to add extra drama and character to their space. Accent lighting is applied to stand-out features and areas to draw further attention and help create a desired style.

The aesthetics of architectural lighting

Architecturally strong environments don’t stop with functional lighting. There are various approaches designers can take to enhance the aesthetics of a space and compliment architectural features. This could include the use of lighting techniques such as:

  • Downlighting
  • Garden spike lighting
  • Undercupboard lighting
  • Shelf & joinery lighting
  • Floor washing
  • Picture lighting
  • Wall washing
  • Uplighting

For more information on the aesthetics side of lighting, take a look at our guide to architectural lighting design. In this article, we show successful examples of architectural lighting and explain the effects they have within a space.

Understanding client’s goals

With over 20 years’ experience in the lighting industry, we know first-hand that the very best lighting design solutions come from understanding a client’s goals. This ensures key functions are accommodated for within each space, and helps lighting designers like us visualise a concept, think about technical solutions and explore energy efficiency.

If you’d like to learn more about architectural lighting design, or would like to find out how Hampshire Light could transform your space using techniques mentioned above, contact us today and book your complimentary design consultation. We’d love to hear from you.


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