Good lighting design is the foundation
Human Centric Lighting is lighting that meets the visual, biological and emotional needs of human beings. The design of the lighting therefore needs to take all three factors into account. The lighting should also be viewed as a design project and be based on close cooperation between all the stakeholders.
Traditional light planning is not enough
Human Centric Lighting requires a holistic approach that takes into account all aspects of people’s relationship with light: both the vision task as well as our physical, mental and emotional needs. The illuminance and the colour of the light must be correctly balanced and varied depending on its purpose. The light distribution in the space should be well-thought-out and offer good visual comfort. For this reason, the lighting should be viewed as a design project and be based on close cooperation between the client, the user, the specifier, the lighting designer and the supplier. As a supplier of lighting solutions, we at Fagerhult have the knowledge and experience required to plan the lighting and propose the right solutions, thereby contributing to a complete HCL environment.
Light on both the eye and the surface
Designing lighting that is functional from a visual, biological and emotional perspective requires us to manage the light from two different perspectives. The visual aspects are related to light that is measured on surfaces or in the surroundings. The biological aspects are related to light measured on the eye.
With a focus on communication
Our workplaces – and especially our offices – have in part taken on new functions in the 2020s. This change had already begun with the development of activity-based offices without fixed workstations and rooms for many meetings. Today, these meetings have taken on even greater significance. The office has increasingly become a meeting place where we come together to gain inspiration and share experiences. As a result, the lighting also has to pay particular attention to the way faces are illuminated, in order to make visual communication easier. In the lighting planning software, we have therefore added a cylinder shape that simulates the face. This not only allows us to calculate how the light illuminates the face and contributes to better dialogue – we can also ensure that enough light falls into the eye to create the correct biological conditions to maintain the circadian rhythm.
Lighting that doesn’t dazzle
The best lighting is that which isn’t noticed. When you look around the room, it should be bright and comfortable. You shouldn’t need to exert yourself in any way or feel that you have to squint or look away. This is known as visual comfort, and is based on a good balance between luminous intensity, the colour of the light and the way the light falls horizontally, vertically and indirectly on table surfaces, floors, walls and ceilings. Glare is the opposite of visual comfort, and is caused by the contrast between very bright surfaces and dark backgrounds. It is often a case of the lighting simply being too strong, the fact that it has been directed incorrectly or that the luminaire is fitted with inadequate louvres. Glare can also occur when the contrast between horizontal and vertical surfaces is too strong. To avoid glare, luminaires are required that have good optics, protecting the eye from direct exposure to the light source. The light distribution should be well thought out, distributing the light between the different surfaces in the room and softening the contrasts.
Variation in intensity, colour and focus
Since Human Centric Lighting is inspired by daylight, the lighting also needs to match the variation of daylight. By allowing the intensity of the lighting to change throughout the day and with small adjustments in colour temperature – from energy-boosting cold to soothing warm – we are able to recreate a little piece of the sky. This requires lighting control with daylight sensors and presence detectors, combined with a technology known as Tunable White. Using Tunable White, you can regulate the lighting’s spectral distribution – from cold to warm – so that it mimics the properties of the light throughout the day.
Light also creates a sense of space, which affects how we experience our environment. It is important to be able to see properly and not trip over things, of course, but only lighting horizontal surfaces such as tables and floors produces uninspired, flat environments that aren’t particularly enjoyable to spend time in. Nobody wants to walk around under grey skies all day, do they? Illuminating the vertical surfaces – known as ambient lighting – serves to enhance the spatial experience and the variety.
The final layer in the lighting design is the spice – that little bit extra. A spotlight illuminating a beautiful painting or focusing on the lush plants in a corner. Using modern LED technology, accent lighting requires an insignificant amount of energy compared to what it delivers.
Good lighting design based on Human Centric Lighting can be compared to a successful visit to a restaurant. When your food is served, it is the variety of shapes, colours and textures on the plate that is pleasing and exciting. You eat with your eyes.