International day of light
Today, 16 May 2018, UNESCO is organizing for the first time the International Day of Light. Around the world, the focus is on the importance of lighting for people's lives in the world. We took the opportunity to ask some questions to our lighting architect Viveca Rosencrantz.
How important is light in our built environment?
Architecture and light are intimately linked. The interplay between darkness and light makes rooms, materials and colors visible. Light and sound environments interact. Spatial perception, orientation, safety, stimulation and, not least, health depend on quality light. There has been much focus on energy savings. The issue of social and economic sustainability is just as important in this context. We need to draw on existing research, take a long-term view and take responsibility for the issue of light.
Why are we not prioritizing light in the construction process?
This is partly due to a lack of knowledge at several influencing and decision-making levels. The concept of quality is not covered in the current standards, which focus on lux numbers, a very blunt instrument. Independent research is also not keeping up with the rapid technological development on the LED side and there is still a lack of standards in several areas that can provide guidance.
The lighting issue is owned early on in the design process by the electrical consultant, who often chooses to draw general solutions focused on quantity. At that stage, there is insufficient information about activities, furnishings and colours. Factors that are very much part of the quality of the final lighting design. There is therefore also no coordination between general and environmental lighting.
What can we as architects do?
A lot. First of all, arming ourselves with knowledge, our own or others', and raising and actively pursuing the issue of light quality in time. Daylight management with solar shading and glare protection needs to be integrated into the architecture. It is also important to include the work of interior designers early in the process. Then there are completely different opportunities to get a differentiated, business-adapted lighting and avoid dazzling general overlighting. Ceiling-mounted LED panels are routinely designed today, with price and easy installation as arguments. A lighting million program that we already need to deal with in the form of negative effects on health and well-being at workplaces and schools. Here we can take help from synergonomists and lighting designers.
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