LIGHTING - THE ESSENCE OF LIGHT.
The importance of light and its effects in our lives
What is light?
We know that light is responsible for our sense of sight.
We know that the earth is lit by the Sun providing energy for numerous things on our planet.
We also know that fire was the first form of artificial light for humans.
Today, in most places around the world we use artificial electric light everyday whether it is at night when the sun goes down or in our cars to light the road ahead. Light is something that we somewhat take for granted as it has become a everyday normality yet, if we take some time to really think about the essence of light we begin to realize the magic it holds.
Light would not exist without having darkness and vice versa. The relationship between light and dark is one that has been discussed over centuries and many times is an analogy between good and evil. J.K Rowling wrote in one of the Harry Potter books: “We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.”
For us to really appreciate light there needs to contrast between light and dark. The importance of this contrast is also seen with the technique of chiaroscuro (light and dark) which is a technical term used by artists and historians to contrast between light and dark. By using the extreme contrasts the dark (scuro) accentuates the light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures. Whether it’s in art, philosophy, religion or literature this theme of dark and light is one that transcends time.
I lived in Stockholm for two years while doing my Masters and while living there I realized the importance of light in one’s everyday life. I grew up in a place that the light dictated the change in seasons. Spring, summer, fall and winter all each had their specific hue of light that would cast a very different light upon the world. The light of spring was a light that was warm, reenergizing you after the long winter months. You could feel how everything around you began to soak up the sun like a sponge to begin its journey of renewal and growth. The light of the summer was long-lasting and bright, giving you infinite energy. The light of fall almost felt like a flickering fire or the light that a candle emits when it’s about to go out. There were always two types of light in the winter, the first, was a bright and crisp light that energized you. The way that the sun was reflected on the snow made the entire world around you glimmer like a diamond. Most of the days in winter, though, had a soft and grey light that made you want to stay at home and read by the fire all day. These four seaons somewhat balanced each other out, allowing you to appreciate the changing light and temperature.
While in Sweden, the change in season did not flow so harmoniously, rather, you lived in two extremes: total darkness or total light. During the summer it would be dark for only 3-4 hours during the night where as during the winter you had the opposite. The darkness and extreme cold in winter was hard to endure and made you want to stay inside as much as possible except on the days that were sunny and bright in which case you would try to spend as much time outside. Swedish people have become experts at using artificial light to create a sense of warmth and coziness that helps them get through winter. One can be sure to find candles placed all over a Swedes home which are always lit at night no matter what the occasion. Many homes and apartments also have fireplaces which are constantly used not only for warmth but to cast a warm light in room. Apart from the light created using fire, one can also find ceiling lighting and lamps as well floor and tables lamps. These lamps are used throughout the day providing light in the boundless darkness.
Lamps, whether they be ceiling, floor or table lamps, are essential for everyone to be able to see at night. Such light is even more crucial during the winter months where it might be dark even during the day.
When choosing a lamp to use it is also important to choose the right type of light bulb as different types of light bulbs such as LED, incandescent and fluorescent emit different types of light. For example, fluorescent lamps can produce cool, warm and soft white and as well as natural light. Soft white is typically used in city lighting and is used to enrich the design and space producing a hint of softness. Bright whites are usually used in restaurants, hotel lobbies and for residential light as well as in retail stores, supermarkets and showrooms. Cool white is reserved for office, manufacturing settings and hospitals where as natural light is the most intense and is produced for in-home use. These lamps use a color temperature that causes them to appear both whiter and brighter enabling the rooms to be adequately lit. While it is important to choose a lamp that complements the design and furniture of your home or office it is also important to think about what kind of light you will use. For example, in a living room you might want a warmer light that helps you relax whereas in your home office you might want a light that is brighter and allows you to work efficiently.
Light dictates our lives, it lets us know when we are meant to sleep and when we are meant to wake up. It helps us see when it is dark and gives us hope. Even though we do take it for granted it is important to honor and remember the importance light has in our lives.