A Bright Idea.

Natural light in design is critical. Being aware of the sun and its angles can make a design sing. However, nearly as critical is having a keen sense of good artificial lighting. Beautiful architecture can fall flat once the sun sets without the creative use of well-planned lighting. Architects and designers have been acutely aware of this since Edison invented the lightbulb. Lighting has been used to bring spaces alive, to create depth and intimacy. It can evoke warmth and comfort. It has been used to bring life to cityscapes and paths through nature.


In residential design we like to use light in layers– often, but not limited to three. We start with light from above, which will cast an even light over the space. Lights in the ceiling are often directed downward, but a recessed light that actually bounces light off a wall can be more effective. Next we really want to focus a second layer of light. This might take the form of task lighting or lamps, basically light that is at or near eye level. This will often help bring a sense of scale to a room. Lastly we might bring in a third layer of  accent lighting. This might be a foot light that grazes the floor with warm light, indirect lights that are mounted beneath objects such as cabinetry, or even some up lighting.

 

Dimming is essential– make everything dimmable! Having the ability to control your light levels is key to mood setting. With lighting systems these can be programed to create “scenes”, everything from a chill vibe with Henry Mancini playing on the HiFi to “I’ve lost my contact lens – nobody move!”. Dim your outdoor lights too. The soft glow of a porch light is often more inviting than a beacon.

 

Don’t forget that your outdoor spaces are just as important as your interior spaces. As the trends to develop more sophisticated outdoor spaces grows, the lighting design should reflect that as well. The days of a light next to the door and a flood in the gable are behind us like Franklin Planners. Think about what you want to highlight, but don’t over light either. You want to be mindful of your neighbors and the night sky. We like to wash surfaces, cast light on foot paths, and gently highlight architectural features. Ideally one is never aware of the light source – just the impact it makes. Also if you have a pool, don’t underestimate the impact good pool lighting can provide. The light from your pool can be a great way of creating that backyard glow.

 

So don’t hang yourself with that rope light, talk to your designer about the opportunities for a proper lighting plan. You’ll see everything in a new light…sorry, we couldn’t resist.

BPC ARCHITECTURE +

INTERIOR DESIGN

Natural light in design is critical. Being aware of the sun and its angles can make a design sing. However, nearly as critical is having a keen sense of good artificial lighting. Beautiful architecture can fall flat once the sun sets without the creative use of well-planned lighting. Architects and designers have been acutely aware of this since Edison invented the lightbulb. Lighting has been used to bring spaces alive, to create depth and intimacy. It can evoke warmth and comfort. It has been used to bring life to cityscapes and paths through nature.