Art and Function of Lighting

Flip a switch, the light goes on. Flip it again, the light goes off. We do it almost mindlessly, taking for granted the strategy involved in properly illuminating a space. Whether residential or commercial, a great deal of thought goes into the art and function of lighting in environmental and architectural design.

Humans need to see clearly and comfortably to function, and generally the activity that will take place dictates the way in which the space will be lit. In all cases, the scale of the space is a primary consideration, and we establish contrast by varying the light levels throughout, creating lighter and darker areas – not just for aesthetic purposes but also for the distinct uses within the space. In commercial design, however, the space is lit in a fashion that isn’t always task-oriented, but directionally oriented in order to highlight a product or create atmosphere.

In restaurant spaces, lighting helps achieve the mood one is promised with their dining experience. There is a delicate balance to strike, with too much or too little lighting causing frustration in customers whose meal is marred by a garishly lit table or the inability to see their food or dining companion. We find that too often dining rooms are over lit and believe that as a general rule the most soothing lighting strategy for restaurant patrons is one in which just 25 percent of your light is utilized. Color palette, surface textures, available natural light, hours of operation and focal points/points of interest are just a few of the factors taken into consideration when developing an overall lighting strategy as the goal is to achieve a cohesive look and feel in mood throughout the entire space.

Much the way proper lighting enhances a customer’s experience in a restaurant, it also can create a positive experience in a retail setting. The same basic principles apply, with shoppers’ perceptions of the space and merchandise influenced by a well-executed lighting scheme. Again, levels of brightness should be varied. Spotlights are used deliberately, as are backlit panels, to showcase certain merchandise, with the overall lighting design appropriate to the brand and vibe of the store.

The art of lighting involves creativity, of course, but knowledge of its effects on a subjective level indicates a true professional. Graham Reese Design Group marries art and function to ensure that from every angle your business is seen in the best possible light.