Enacting a Metric
The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) is currently participating in the development of an international lighting certification. The debate that surrounds this whole idea is an interesting topic in and of itself. It stems from 2009 Legislation in Texas that would have required a license to practice lighting design. I recently sat in on an IALD webinar about credentialing, and while I am as credentialed up (kind of like tatted up, only I'm not that) as anyone I know, I'm not yet convinced that this is the answer.
That is a debate I would rather not enter, though!
What I want to share here are some great metrics that the group has thoughtfully accumulated to measure and provide the elusive definition of the profession of architectural lighting design. Currently they identify seven domains that define the core competencies that a lighting designer will be required to illustrate and maintain for certification. They are:
1. Goals and Outcomes - Project goals are met in the final lighting design.
2. Collaboration - The lighting designer collaborated with all members of the team throughout the duration of the project.
3. Ingenuity - The lighting designer proposed creative, ingenious solutions to the design of the project.
4. Synthesis - The lighting solutions are integrated and the lighting design complements the overall design solution of the project.
5. Science - The design illustrated proper application of technology and consideration of human psychology.
6. Stewardship - Avoid or minimize harm, discomfort, or waste.
7. Human Experience - The lighting design contributes to and enhances the human experience of the space.
I think this is a great list and something to consider every project. What do you think? Is anything missing? What would you add or delete from the list? The tougher question - are these measurable?
Emotion in Music - and Lighting
I heard a psychological review of Adele's song "Someone Like You" on NPR. You can read the entire transcript here. This part of the program really jumped out at me: "The music taps into this very primitive system that we have which identifies emotion on the basis of a violation of expectancy," he says. "It's like a little upset which then gets resolved or made better in the chord that follows."
I think this idea also has application for lighting design - and maybe any kind of design. Songs that begin in a comfortable, expected way then violate our expectations with something unexpected and then resolve are more likely to tug at our emotions and appeal to people in a strong reactive way.
What does this look like if we apply it to lighting designs? Why not introduce whimsy or ingenuity or something unexpected to lighting designs in order to strike a chord with the people experiencing the space? Why not create a lighting design that is lilting and musical? What very primitive systems are in place for how we experience light in spaces, and what happens if we violate that expectancy just a little?
Enlightening - Lighting Basics
I have been immersed in the architectural lighting world and its jargon for well over 20 years now. (What other industry uses such refreshingly technical terms as "Luminaire Dirt Depreciation"? But I digress.) Sometimes I forget that when I refer to a light bulb by its correct name, "lamp", that many of you picture this.
But I'm referring to this.
"Bulb" is the glass part of the lamp...er...light bulb.
So I want to illustrate some of the lighting terminology that I use.
In the picture below, we see several important lighting elements.
Ambient Lighting. In this example, ambient lighting is provided by the recessed lights that are mounted in the red ceiling. Ambient lighting is the general lighting in the space. It is the baseline that is just needed for walking around.
Task Lighting. In this example, task lighting is provided by the fabric pendants. Task lighting is lighting for the task. In this restaurant example, it is the lighting necessary for seeing your food and your dinner companions' faces. Energy can be saved by using task and ambient lighting appropriately.
Accent Lighting. In this example, accent lighting is provided by the track lights. Here it is the light that is aimed at the art on the wall. It accents this interesting parts of the space. Without accent lighting, there is plenty of light for seeing, but the space can be boring.
Daylighting. Light that comes from the sun. This could be from any kind of window or skylight.
Interior Surfaces. Wait, interior surfaces aren't a light source, are they? Well, yes and no. The reflectance of an interior surface makes such a huge difference in the impact of lighting on a space and on one's ability to see. You can perceive it in this photo. The yellow wall on the left hand side of the photo is brighter and reflects much more light back into the room than the dark orange or green wall on the right hand side of the photo. The color, reflectance, and contrast of interior surfaces are critically important.
There. You are enlightened. Maybe you will be able to understand me just a little better when I talk about lighting.
~ This post is dedicated to my mom.
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC