In the world of design there are two components that are mutually dependent on each other – good architecture and good lighting. One cannot exist without the other. It is best to see space and light as working together rather than creating a separation between architectural and lighting design. Together, these two elements create a mood and evoke feeling. When looking at things from an architectural standpoint, we know that something as small as a change in materials can alter the feeling in a room, and also the level of illumination. Materials carry a very important relationship to light emotionally. Similarly when looking at things from a lighting standpoint we know that lighting emphasizes materials. It is important that space and light work well together in order to create a composition that is comprehensive not only to designers but to everyday people.
A problem many designers face today involves creating a good composition with reflected light and color without impairing the visual comfort of those in the space. Unwanted glare and reflections can be transformed into luminances that are harmonious with human vision and made into artistic components of spatial composition. It is necessary to be able to properly animate a space with light as to make it a cohesive part of the overall design. Pay special attention to the finish and color of your materials when thinking about the lighting in your space. Glossy finishes reflect light like a mirror which can result in reflections of your light source. Matte surfaces do not create a reflection and thus diffuse light equally in all directions. The lack of luster a matte surface provides creates an emotionally provoking softness that you can’t get with a glossy finish. Consider the mood you are trying to create and the feeling you wish to evoke for the user as you choose your materials and keep in mind how your light source(s) will react.
There are some specific key points to consider when working to create a good composition. Make it a habit to previsualize the light in your space. Light quality and quantity will always modify things. Will bright daylight be disturbing? If so, filter it. Diffuse amounts of harsh lighting by imposing visual patterns that create a unique aesthetic. Keep in mind how light will move within the space throughout the course of a day. Will the light cast itself on other patterns within the space? Be aware. Make sure all of your elements work together visually. Spatial design is not just the process of shaping a space by evenly distributing color and light. Working from schematic design to design development, the practical details of bringing architecture into existence have to be included also. Do a 360° check at the start and end of your project. By looking at your composition from all directions you will be able to get an overall sense of the space and ensure that every element is working together to create a unified feel.
A problem shared is a problem solved. A substantial level of awareness regarding space and light is an important step to successful design. Again, it is best to look at architectural and lighting design as co-existing. In doing so you will find yourself making the most out of your space while creating impressive spatial definition that may have otherwise been overlooked.