“…Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in LIGHT ”… LeCorbusier.

Pioneers in lighting design were very aware that the criteria of illuminance and uniformity are not really able to lead us towards an appropriate lighting solution which creates a feeling of well-being and does justice to the architecture, so they adopted a change in perspective. When developing a lighting concept, they did not ask about quantity but quality and thus the efficacy of lighting. Their aims in lighting design went far beyond efficiency, legibility and safety. Questions about the emotional effect, the ambience required in different situations during the course of the day or the highlighting of materials and architecture have since become an integral part of quality lighting design. 

Moreover, nature, with its numerous and permanently changing characteristics, shows us the importance of brightness, color temperature, direct or diffuse light, brilliance and the incidence of light for attractive lighting. Quality lighting design starts with people and inquires, during the project analysis, about needs and requirements, such as whether the project is private or public sphere, or whether it has a calm or lively atmosphere. Simply by changing from wide light distribution to narrow light beams a restaurant can be converted from a disagreeable open space into islands of private communication by illuminating the individual tables. When it comes to the architecture, quality lighting design examines how a user’s orientation in a building can be improved by light and how materials can be highlighted to their best advantage.

Good lighting concepts must focus holistically on function, psychology, architecture, economic efficiency and ecology. Otherwise we can call them neither attractive nor sustainable.

What is lost if our feeling of well-being and our ability to see is improved?

If when developing a lighting concept we focus on the effect of light as the aim of good lighting, then the relevance of the efficacy of the lamp and the luminaire loses significance to the benefit of human perception and well-being. Even the criterion of illuminance fades in importance, since by measuring this value we learn only how much light hits a surface and not how important the surfaces are for the perception of brightness, or how these surfaces reflect light into the eye.

Walls have a great impact but are given little consideration in lighting solutions, even though they fill a large area of our field of vision. By deciding on quality lighting design we free ourselves from a simple or naive understanding of light which is made up of a combination of a few individual parameters and is driven by the search for quick results. It should go without saying that sustainable lighting design will, in the final instance, ignore neither energy-efficient lamps and luminaires nor technical and economic aspects.