Lighting has a huge impact on behaviour and mood. We can feel alert or calm depending on whether cool or warm light is present. Biologically, light has a major influence on our circadian rhythm. This is the body's 24-hour cycle that dictates physiological functions, including our mood, appetite and sleeping patterns. The colour temperature and brightness of the light you're exposed to tells your body what time of day it is and what it should be doing.
As the sun rises in the sky, the colour temperature of light moves from warm to neutral hues. An increase in brightness and the amount of blue light suppresses the brain's production of melatonin, letting the body know that it should be awake.
As the sun sits at its highest point, it produces the most neutral or white light. This causes the body to secrete dopamine (making us alert and allowing us to feel pleasure), serotonin (which controls carbohydrate cravings) and cortisol (which controls stress response).
As the sun moves closer to the horizon, blue light is filtered out, producing more reddish hues. These warm colours indicate that the day is nearing its end and allow the production of melatonin - a chemical that aids sleep.
The evening darkness allows melatonin to be produced freely again, making sure you will be able to go to sleep and start the cycle all over again tomorrow.
Before creating a lighting design, you will need to work out what lighting levels are required. The official standard for illumination is the Australian/New Zealand Standard for Interior Lighting AS/NZS 1680 series. The AZ/NZS standard is based on extensive research that compared people's efficiency and productivity under different illumination levels. It tells you the minimum levels of lighting required for a range of settings.
Along with time, light is commonly referred to as the 4th dimension of architecture. It impacts how we think, how we feel, and how we occupy a space. We can add drama to a space through direct light, or soften a space through indirect light. Employing accent lighting will emphasise the depth of a space, while installing orientation lighting will encourage specific passages and influence the flow of movement through a space.
Glare is a major cause of eyestrain. You can take steps to reduce it by modifying the light source (use indirect light or diffuse light), modifying the surface upon which the light is reflected (use matte surfaces instead of shiny ones), or modifying your eyewear (use polarised lens glasses).
Body activity level
Your body activity levels, or how sluggish or awake you feel, are affected by the colour temperature and brightness of light. People with sleep disorders, depression, seasonal affective disorder and other disorders can be treated with light therapy, which involves exposing them to specific amounts of light at certain times of the day. Our Chameleon technology allows you to control the colour temperature and easily adjust the mood of your space, providing a range from cool white to warm white light.
Teaming high quality lights with strong lighting design will maximise energy efficiency and savings. Here's some tips to help you get the best results.
1. Start by considering the main activity the area will be used for, or which objects you want to highlight.
2. Tailor your lux level, colour temperature and lighting type according to the main activity.
3. You don't have to paint the entire room with light. Add depth and layering by highlighting some areas or objects over others.
4. Consider what beam angle and shape will best suit the space. Higher ceilings need a narrower beam angle in order to give you enough light at floor level.