Text: Joachim Ritter, Christopher Cuttle, Regina Lausell, Deborah Burnett, Heinrich Kramer

14. Aug 2015

…between enhancing and manipulating
through designed/dynamic light

Modern lighting design is not becoming any easier, but rather more complex. To be exact, light has always been complex, but now we know what advantages good light can bring us human beings…or even what damage light can do…or what opportunities it offers for manipulation! To date we have only really focussed on light as a means for enhancing mood or atmosphere. Now we know that specific light applied in classrooms and at the workplace has been found to promote concentration and productivity, and in commercial scenarios it can even “seduce” us into spending money. Is it possible to use light to undermine free will? How far can we pursue this idea before we overstep the mark? Or does this kind of attitude only stem from phantasising pessimists and people who spend the majority of their time finding fault? Read the following five standpoints.

Modern lighting for modern man
Official standpoint of LightingEurope, representative of the European lighting industry
For a long time we have known that light allows us to see, aiding orientation and enhancing safety. But light can do more than enabling vision. Light has the power to energize, relax, increase alertness, cognitive performance and mood, and to improve the day-night-rhythm of people. These biological and emotional benefits of light should not be underestimated. Recent research has shown these benefits in nearly every area of application. Despite current trends in legislation and practice, light is concerned with much more than energy efficiency. The true value lies in the combination of excellent visual, biological and emotional benefits. Within LightingEurope we call lighting combining all three benefits “Human Centric Lighting”. And it is now possible to include biological and emotional benefits into modern lighting solutions. At the beginning of this millennium, a third photo receptor in the eye (in addition to rods and cones) was discovered. With this discovery,

it became evident that human biological rhythms and cognitive performance are influenced by specific light conditions. In other words, lighting has tremendous effects on human health, productivity, and well-being. Initial potential benefits of human centric lighting include improved sleep/wake cycles, daily changes in alertness, performance and mood (circadian changes), as well as responses to seasonal changes. Benefits can be achieved with new technology that allows for greater adaptation of light’s colour temperature, illuminance levels, and distribution so it more closely resembles natural conditions. […]

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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 98

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