When planning a new project, the question if proper illumination is of the essence. But what exactly is good lighting and how is it achieved?
Light is by no means simple. Modern lighting is technically challenging and evolving rapidly. Designing lighting requires varied disciplines that go way beyond visibility. It includes architecture, art, psychology, color and rhythm.
Lighting designers perform best when they are part of a design team and, as architects, charge fees for services rendered. Professional lighting designers bring substantial technical insights and sensitive design techniques to architectural projects. The services they provide can make or break the success of a project. The value added outweighs the impact of their fee.
An owner or project designer may not be aware what is the difference between the services provided by a lighting professional versus an electrical engineer or interior designer? Electrical engineers look at lighting as part of the electrical system. Interior designers have a keen interested in decorative lighting equipment.
Technology plays a big role in the need for an independent lighting professional. Lighting equipment and controls technologies such as home automation are developing very rapidly. Thousands of new products are introduced every year. To provide individual design solutions that make use of these latest and most cost-effective technologies, lighting professionals must attend international trade shows and continually update product information through training and study samples from hundreds of manufacturers.
Keeping up to date with the newest weapons in the lighting arsenal has become time intensive and more essential. Lighting consultants do not install lighting, nor do they depend on the recommendations of lighting salespersons. So the customer receives a lighting design based on research and expertise -- there is no conflict of interest.
Light is a genuine partner of architecture, invisible until it strikes an object or surface. And it is controlling this complicated, impermanent medium that gives the lighting "artist" the ability to create dynamics and mood. Lighting design has become a creative addition to architectural design, enhancing visibility and complementing form and color.