What Makes Good Lighting?

I begin with a caveat – This is an opinion piece.

First, I’d like to define what I mean when discussing ‘Good Lighting’.
Good Lighting is timeless and long-lasting, it’s innovative, it’s unobtrusive, and it’s environmentally friendly.
Good Lighting provides joy, safety, wellness, personal expression, unique character, and highlights detail in our spaces and in our lives.
Good Lighting creates a positive visceral response.

Before proceeding to work on any lighting design, the program (or concept) of the project is required for an understanding of the well-defined wants and needs of our clients.
Good Lighting Design issues that then need to be considered include: What are we lighting and where to place light; What type luminaire (fixture) and lamp (bulb) to use; How to control it. 

Ok. What makes Good Lighting? 
There are a few key elements that will apply no matter what style is chosen and no matter the size or budget of a project. 
• Create layers of light. Spaces are used in a variety of ways, the lighting should be flexible to allow that. Mixed sources will allow selections to be set to changes in mood or use.
• Use direct & indirect light. Work areas want quantities of task light directed to the surfaces. Ambient light gets washed or bounced off various materials.
• Incorporate shadow & asymmetric pattern. These are needed to provide contrast in a space. With that, we can appreciate the features, textures, and decoration.
• Hide the light source. Glare is the nemesis of good lighting. The trend to using bare bulbs is over-rated, and old-tyme-y edison bulbs do not provide enough quantity of lumens to be useful. 
More about this in a future post.
• Utilize advanced controls. In the simplest form, a dimmer instead of a switch. Perhaps add control of certain lamps via a smartphone app. A fully programmable & integrated system in a more extreme sense.
• Include a ‘feature’. This can be that fixture that makes our client smile or feel joyful. It might be a special purchase or a cherished hand-me-down or show piece luminaire.

Got ideas of your own about what makes Good Lighting? Please let me know, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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