25 January 2009

Focussing on people: perception

I explained before that, when we step into a room, our eyes are guided by light, and the light tells us the story of the room. A good lighting makes seeing easy and pleasant. It is a treat for the eyes.

Remember how in the early days of artificial lighting a room was usually equipped with one lighting fixture hanging in the middle of the ceiling. We all know today that this is barely the best way to light a room. The room appears smaller, as all light is concentrated in the middle, and the wall surfaces receive little or none of it. Furthermore, as light naturally attracts people, all activities also become concentrated at the center of the room. It is definitively better to spread the light over several areas of the room, each of them determined by its particular function.

But our perception remains highly subjective. When asking people's preferences about lighting, the opinions are often divided almost equally between a gentle, soft, friendly, almost shadow-free light and a harsh, fascinating, but also aggressive and glaring light with sharp shadows.

The first lighting is similar to a cloudy day. The second lighting reminds of a sunny day. The later seems slightly more popular, maybe because the first impression when entering the room is stronger and more interesting.

About This Blog

Form is the visual shape of mass and volume. Light makes form legible. There is no form without light.


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