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See the light: Why is lighting important in interior design?

The light intrigues man since the beginning of time. Without light, there is no color. In his quest for control of light, man has added to the light of day a panoply of artificial devices. What began in the early centuries as tallow candles and gas lamps has evolved into a plethora of light sources powered by electricity, chemicals or modern combustion. While the physical attributes of the luminaries contribute to the design of a space, the intangible aspects of the light that they emit go further.

To understand light and its effects on colors, it is necessary to know that the perception of colors is the result of the vision of a ray of reflected color. A carpet appears in red only when all other colors in the light spectrum, with the exception of red, are absorbed by the floor covering, allowing the sensors in the eye to receive reflected red light.

The lighting basically determines the color. Different types of light accentuate different areas of the spectrum: the red carpet seen under a cold fluorescent light with a heavy blue-green spectral distribution will look dull and lifeless, while it will have air hot and vibrant under incandescent lighting. Remote color selections are often a source of surprises because of the specific orientation of the project site to the sun and lighting conditions. To minimize the problem of color change, it is imperative to view the materials on site, under the lighting provided for installation.

The concept of lighting design that advocates the creation of "pools of light" in a space is particularly important in our current goal of energy conservation. By accentuating key areas through a combination of brighter colors and higher lighting levels in a relatively dark space, the eye is drawn only to areas deemed important to the design solution. Another approach, from a more practical point of view, is to create "layers of light". In this case, the lighting in a space is controlled by separate switches and dimmers, so that it can be illuminated either by sections, or by task, or in its entirety. This avoids excessive lighting and allows flexible control of lighting. Carefully deployed, these lighting techniques create a sense of drama, ceremony and cadence.

The darkness, the antithesis of light, is an important element in the design of lighting. Shadows not only help to define a space, but, in contrast, broaden the sense of scale and emphasize the sculptural quality of any illuminated object. Applied judiciously, they can constitute an effective remedy for spaces with difficult shapes. Alternatively, if the perimeter of a room were to be lit, the space appears psychologically larger and more relaxing for the occupants.

In addition, a good interior design must provide adequate lighting. The amount of light needed should be determined according to the task and the visual acuity of the user. As human vision begins to deteriorate after the age of 40, baby boomers will impose more effective lighting as they need more and brighter environments.

Whatever the source of lighting used, the general trend is for ecological, energy efficient and durable luminaires. Despite the improvements made to LED lighting technology, fluorescent and incandescent lamps remain the dominant choices for indoor lighting applications. LED lamps are still mainly used in landscape lighting because problems of cost, lamp quality and color rendering have prevented massive adoption. However, they are about to become an important part of the market in a few years, when innovation and demand create cheaper and brighter bulbs with more color choices.

Improvements in color rendering of standard cold white fluorescent lamps have resulted in a wide range of products, such as full-spectrum, hot white, and cool white bulbs. In addition, electronic ballasts now allow easy dimming while mitigating the flickering problems of the lamp, making fluorescent a more attractive lighting option. With their efficient light output and low cost, they remain the most economical way to provide uniform shadows, freeing up lighting for a long time.

On the incandescent front, low-voltage tungsten halogen lamps remain popular because they produce a brighter, whiter and more efficient light than conventional incandescent bulbs. The compact light source of the halogen lamp shines and gives life to objects such as glassware, mirrors and precious stones. Although the light of a halogen lamp heats up dramatically when it is dimmed, the life of the lamp is considerably prolonged, thus delaying its inevitable passage to the discharge.

Advances in lighting products have allowed designers to create more spectacular interiors that meet the functional needs of the user. A successful design can modulate the quality and quantity of light to meet the needs of users. psychological and physiological needs. Indeed, lighting is one of the most powerful elements of interior design. It is the Rosetta Stone that allows our eyes to see and interpret the world around us: without which a built environment, devoid of colors, contrasts and interests.

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