There are many different ways that lights can be used. They can set a relaxing mood on your porches and decks, illuminate your gardens, or brighten driveways, walkways, steps and the other areas of your home or establishments.
They can also provide safety. Lighted driveways and walk ways give a safe passage to those entering and exiting your property at night. This can prevent some small accidents from happening like tripping over things.
Lights at home also give the impression that someone is always inside as there are very limited dark places for trespassers to feel like they can be unseen. So they increase the security of our houses. The same is true for other property types.
Above all these architectural lighting design benefits, lights have always mesmerized me because of their very special and unique appeal. They never fail to fascinate my optical organs whenever I catch them boast that visual quality like no other.
No wonder, the aesthetic appeal of lights is the first focus among the three fundamental aspects of architectural lighting design based on what I read.
I have always marveled at lights when I have the chance to even when I was younger. It is only now though that I was able to comprehend where that exquisite pull comes from. There is, of course, science behind it. And behind the science is a lighting designer who does most of the technical works—from measuring whether or not a particular light should be subtly blended into the background or whether or not it should stand out and assess what kind of emotions the lighting should evoke. If I were to give an answer to the latter, I would say relaxation. I feel that form of mild ecstasy each time I am in a place seeing lights illuminating a place or when I see them flickering in the night.
The most attractive ambiance, as an example with how visually captivating lights are, I could think if is that of the restaurants’ interior. Their visual quality has always intrigued me. For years, I have noticed one enchanting physical characteristic of these places: the dimness, which provides drama and appeal. There is this study that was done in 2012 by Cornell University pertinent to the relaxed mood we get from such kind of ambiance. The results postulate that restaurants’ lighting indeed affects our moods…The catch is definitely good news for those who love eating out at casual dining restaurants and the like.
The meat of the study says that dim lights cause us to eat less because a relaxed atmosphere, brought about by dim lights, affects the appetite.
A softened lighting leads people to eat less, to rate the food as more enjoyable, and to spend just as much. This postulates that a more relaxed environment increases satisfaction and decreases consumption.
But I digress. Let us go back to the main point—which is trying to understand the engaging visual appeal of lights.
The lighting designers in the University of Minnesota have answers. Their research titled “Lighting: Its Effect on People and Spaces” concluded that (1) basically people are like moths—attracted to brightness—and (2) they prefer spaces where walls are illuminated. We are bound to follow the brightest path when navigating. When it comes to restaurants or hotspots environment though, we do not like to sit in brightness but love to see brightness. So we tend to face walls that are illuminated.
I now understand why I am pulled by the lights. I am a moth in that sense.
With all the readings and observation I did regarding the magnetism lights possess, I gained a whole new level of appreciation for lights. I no longer see them as just a piece of valuable architecture that provides light to be able to walk safely through the office corridors at night, to allow the whole property to be on show during night time, or simply to provide for safe circulation within available spaces or so I could recognize a flake on my black shirt. I now see them as something that adds a touch of magic and something that pushes my “visual interest button”. Lights have never been these much of an exciting subject for me. I would not mind being a moth as long as what I go after are similar to the photographs. I am a moth and so are you!
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