With so many technological advancements in linear lighting these days, it can be difficult to keep up. However, one thing is for certain: Tunable lighting and controls are quite the hot ticket for lighting designers and architects. Light and color have gone hand in hand since the dawn of time, so it makes sense that manufacturers and the lighting industry are fully embracing this development - especially since it means you can change the mood of a room or its occupants with a simple turn of a light knob.
The human body is a complex and wonderful thing that is completely in tune with the environment that surrounds us, even though we sometimes try to block it out. In some buildings, lighting systems and the flow of natural light simply doesn't attain the adequate amount we need.
Being shunned away from light is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. In a modern society that is constantly exposing individuals to more and more to artificial light - especially fixtures like fluorescent lighting and incandescent bulbs - it's no wonder that conditions like seasonal affective disorder and vitamin D deficiency have become a normal part of the lexicon.
There have been countless studies showing the effects that poor lighting - or the lack of it altogether - can have, but there are ways that architects and lighting designers can change that. Most people understand the balance of lighting and circadian rhythm, but few understand the process of photoperiodism, natural light and its important role in human health.
Specification of low profile lighting is about more than seamless integration into a building's architecture and energy efficiency, as new research shows cutting down on direct lighting is also linked to making occupants less grumpy.
Artificial light has created more "time," so to speak, for all of humankind to get things done. We can work whenever we please, carry on business 24 hours a day if needed. However, as animals who have spent millennia living by the rhythms of the sun's rays, this artificial option has definitely taken a toll on some individual's health and personal well-being.
The muses may have looked more like a light switch rather than beautiful ancient Greek goddesses.
Although dimmable LED indoor lighting doesn't posess any supernatural powers, a recent set of studies showed that it does have the capacity to inspire creativity. According to Medical Daily, German researchers found that dimming the lights is one way to prime the brain with darkness for creativity at work, in an art studio or at your home writing desk.
During the early days of LED manufacturing (which weren't too long ago), finding a balance between the new technology and designing beautiful fixtures wasn't always the easiest task. Everything from the color of the light, ergonomics and product design was typically an afterthought for many in the beginning, but all of that has definitely changed as LED have been maturing within the lighting industry.
"We were all kind of drunk on efficiency," Chris Bailey, a solid-state lighting technology strategist, explained to Architectural Lighting.
In a mad sweep to get products on the shelves and LEDs into the hands of lighting designers and architects worldwide, form oftentimes sat on the backburner as function took the lead role. And it's understandable. During the initial phase, the economy was struggling and environmental friendliness was the biggest challenge facing not just the lighting industry, but the energy sector as a whole. So, it makes sense that energy-efficiency was the main goal during the first days of LED manufacturing.
By now, most lighting designers and architects know that LED linear lighting systems are the way to go in terms of efficiency and practicality for modern buildings. However, one roadblock for these professionals is choosing what kinds of lighting controls they want for their given space.
If you're not much of a bookworm, you might not have set foot in a library for a while. Although there's often plenty of space to peruse pages, libraries are also hubs of research, areas to complete homework, apply for jobs in the computer labs, work on groups projects in study rooms and sometimes host events. As a result, library lighting has to be as multifaceted as the tasks that happen around the stacks. Additionally, it has to highlight all of the knick knacks and posters on the wall while operating at a brightness that won't be damaging to any older texts.
The answer to these demands is fixtures equipped with dimmer switches, according to Libris Design.
Dimmable LED ambient lighting controls can be just as useful to employee happiness as casual Fridays, holiday parties and vacation time. It's no suprise that humans enjoy freedom and control over their environment, even in shared organizational and public spaces. Now there's research that architects, interior designers and lighting designers —as well as facilities and human resources managers, might want to keep in mind when considering their new architectural project.
Clark University, Goddard Library, Worcester, MA | Architecture: Perry Dean Rogers | Image: Peter Vanderwarker | Lighting: Vode Box Baffle
Dimmable commercial lighting design may the answer to creating a less-hostile work environment.
The Atlantic reported that a study by researchers from the University of Toronto and Northwestern University found that bright light is linked to more intense emotional responses, both good and bad. Whether one employee is in a good mood after finding $20 or another employee is upset about the lack of coffee creamer in the break room, the lighting has the potential to affect the extent to which those emotions are felt.