1. DETERMINE YOUR GOAL
When planning your architectural lighting, it is very important for you to determine your goal. To do that, you can ask the 3 Ws:
Why? Why am I lighting this place?
What? What am I trying to achieve? Is it for a functional reason? Is it to enhance or reveal a detail of the place that normally people would miss? Is it to attract attention?
Where? Where will the lit place be viewed from? Are there nearby light sources that may affect the lighting project?
After defining your goal, selecting the products and strategies that you need to use for the lighting project will be a much simpler task, than if you had started off not knowing what your goals are.
2. LIGHT THE WAY
Lighting can be used to enhance the aesthetics of a building, however you shouldn’t overlook its functional uses. Architectural lighting can be used to help people move around a place.
Lighting can be installed to create pathways. You can make use of recessed wall lighting, bollards, or illuminated handrails.
Consider outlining the points of a pathway, like the lighting used in airport runways, or by installing up-lighting on boundary walls. Clever designers use light and dark to define where people can or cannot go.
3. MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER
Some people think that the more you have of something, the better it is. But in the case of architectural lighting, less is more. Attempting to light everything does not lead to the best results.
For example, flooding a place with light requires the use of a lot of lumens and wide beam optics in order to provide an even illumination. However, this can increase glare and the lack of shadow may cause it to appear formless and dull.
Flooding a place with light also has other unpleasant side effects which nobody wants, such as light spill and expensive energy bills.
Try finding other ways to implement lighting, such as by installing multiple narrow lines of light which can improve an otherwise flat facade. This method also requires a fraction of the energy required to floodlight it evenly.
4. DARK COMPLEMENTS LIGHT
Don’t be afraid of darkness. In all forms of visual art, shadows add to the beauty of any artwork, in its entirety. To make the most of architectural lighting, it is important to learn how to make use of the contrasting effects of light and dark.
Try accentuating the 3D features of a building or a facade by making use of focused light (from narrow or medium beam distributions). This is known as modelling.
The contrast of light and dark helps guide our eyes to places of interest. Remember: where light IS NOT is equally as important as where light IS.
5. COLOUR TEMPERATURE & CRI
The colour characteristics of light are very important. These are Colour Temperature and Colour Rendering Index (CRI). Colour Temperature refers to the warmness (yellow) or coolness (blue) of a light source, while CRI refers to the measurement of a light source’s accuracy in rendering different colours when compared to a light source with the same Colour Temperature.
For example, a colour temperature that is warmer with an increased CRI can be used to enhance and complement natural materials (like stone and foliage). You can also create a contrast by combining colour temperatures. In areas where ambient light is 3000k warm white, try using a cooler colour temperate ie 4000k to 6000K cool white to highlight architectural features.
6. VERTICALS & HORIZONTALS
Horizontal lighting and uniformity are important considerations when it comes to implementing road lighting. Horizontal lighting allows drivers to see where they are going while traveling.
Vertical lighting on the other hand is most important for designing lighting for pedestrian purposes. This includes lighting buildings, monuments, and trees.
Illumination on the Vertical and horizontal surface should be considered independently.
The level of horizontal lighting (lux) plays an important role when illuminating roads, bike ways offices space + more. Vertical lighting ion the other hand is most important when lighting buildings, trees, retails paces and especially when filming is involved.
Implementing these lighting techniques requires careful control in order to avoid glare and light spill.
When seeking help with creative architectural lighting techniques, consider experienced assistance to ensure the best end result is achieved.