Environmental concerns and consumer demand have fast-tracked the creation of energy-efficient lighting design solutions, while technology has enabled the creation of highly-customisable lighting systems. In the hands of creative designers, these tools are helping to inspire new, rich and informative visual experiences.
Lighting professionals are embracing a range of disciplines, such as technology, engineering, photo-biology and science, to redefine our daytime and nightime spaces – and it is transforming our cities and our lives.
When Nichia Corporation commercialised the first high-intensity blue LED electronic chips in 1994, the age of digitally networked LED electroluminescence had begun. LEDs provide illumination and, beyond that basic function, they have the capacity to provide dynamic enhancements to our world.
These enhancements were truly inconceivable in the past, but today these new technologies are impacting the lighting design process and the spaces we help to design.
Dynamic light making dreams reality
Natural light is dynamic. It is constantly changing from dawn to dusk and from season to season. Lighting designers have always endeavoured to integrate natural daylight into the design of spaces and to reflect the natural variabililty of light.
This design dream has become a reality with recent advances in lighting technology, such as individually addressable lighting nodes, subtle colour mixing and smooth dimming capabilities.
Art in the Spotlight
Light is integral to art. It reveals colour, texture and scale. For cultural institutions, such as galleries and museums, lighting design plays a critical role, both in artistic aspiration and conservation. Lighting works of art to suit the materials also improves the viewer experience by matching specific colours and finishes.
Tuneable lighting is an exciting way to illuminate works of art, but new opportunities are also emerging to dial up specific colours, such as warm white to burnish gold brilliance, or cool blue-white light to enhance concrete steel or water.
The latest flexible digital lighting systems for galleries includes smooth transitions in colour temperature and light colour mixing for visual enhancement. Customisable LED light sources to enhance the colour palette are already available, providing opportunities to amplify vibrancy and colour.
Add to this that many works of art, based on organic materials, are sensitive to both shortwave ultra violet (UV) and longwave infrared (IR) light, LED light sources are providing a near-perfect solution, with minimal UV and IR radiation reducing the risk of damage over time.