Artificial light has the capacity to create a number of different ambiences in the same space making it a sort of “space shaper”, adapting the atmosphere according to the consumers’ needs. The use of warm lighting can produce cozy and calm atmospheres, whereas cold light stimulates mental and physical activity. So, it is clear that the lighting requirements for a living room, for example, are not the same as those needed for in an operating room. Whereas dim lighting generates a relaxing ambiance in spaces created for this purpose, this same lighting could affect vision and cause health problems if it is used in working environments.
As we have seen, the quality and intensity of light is an important aspect to be considered as it greatly affects the users’ living experience, just as important, in fact, as the overall dimensions, the distribution of the space or the construction materials used. Indeed, it can be considered even more important, as it affects our perception of all of these aspects, to the point where it transforms their appearance.
In the words of Luis Latrás -CEO of Arkoslight-, “Lighting is of vital importance when creating an architectural project. […] It is also an element with the capacity to transform spaces, with an ability to communicate, and the capability to modify the subtle messages a space transmits to those living there.” It is, therefore, no wonder that lighting is considered to be the “fourth dimension” in architecture.
To include the lighting project from the conception of the architectural idea is the best way to avoid later lighting deficiencies, which are usually generated by a lack of planning and the awareness of its importance during the architectural design. The commonly held idea that the design of the artificial lighting project belongs to the executive phase often entails major shortcomings with regards to the final result and may not ensure adequate lighting conditions.
The design of artificial lighting is not just about placing light sources on a floor plan, nor is it about choosing luminaires from a catalogue. It is about understanding that artificial lighting is a valuable design tool with which to create different atmospheres; stimulating, soothing, warm… It is all about building using light.