It is all about fulfilling practical and design requirements of an external space and achieving a marvelous symbiosis with the construction. The utility dimension remains at the core of all architectural illumination. And from this one all the other have developed. And then the creativity came in, the aesthetic dimension, and all the playing games of shapes and colorful lights.
What is architectural illumination today? What do we need it for? Do we like it? Do we even take time to notice it? Lots of questions when it comes to architectural illumination, isn’t it?
However, there is one, common sense question when we generally start talking about this light system concept. Meaning: Do we even notice the architectural illumination? Or, is it something else that most people notice? Generally we do not see the illumination but the architecture itself, which is brought to another value level by illumination.
So yes, the architectural illumination is an adjuvant, a help by all means, however an essential one. There is a utility side to this outdoors light systems, and then, an aesthetic one.
Down the historical lane, we’re pretty sure that it all started from practical requirements. First of all, people needed to see through the darkness and to know how to, and what to avoid in the night, fog or other weather conditions that impair visibility.
This utility dimension remains at the core of all architectural illumination today. From this one all the others have developed. And then the creativity came in, the aesthetic dimension, and all the playing games of shapes and colorful lights. It became an art, in the field of decorative visual arts, as well as a main component of the architecture art itself.
Of course all architects nowadays start designing any specific plan with the illumination scheme included. In itself the architectural lighting design is a study and research field within architecture, design and engineering areas. And we all see, everywhere around us, the entire scientific research and development results, both in the urban and rural areas: building and façade illumination, bridge and tower illumination, hotel exterior lighting, monument lighting.
This aspect of our modern life is all over around us, we can’t deny it, or ignore it, though we take it for granted. So we can’t not ask ourselves: Why do we need it?
Do we need it for safety? Absolutely! There are the most obvious ones: it is needed if we talk about protecting high buildings, like utility towers or tall office towers of our present world. We also need it as an anti-theft system. Basic stuff.
Whereas the design, the visual element, developed far beyond any expectation. Numerous calculations are made in regard of shapes, angles that the light should come from, colors that best suit the architecture, colors that stimulate certain moods and attitudes, that communicate a certain status.
For sure we also enter the communication ground with that. The way you choose to illuminate your building will deliver a meaning to everybody. Does this mean that you have to take into account what the lights say about the building? Absolutely. It is a great marketing component and it should help you deliver an integrated message, together with all the other marketing components.
The architectural illumination system should be well adapted to everything that the building stands for. I mean, let’s remember how we all experience different locations as tourists. You have one experience during the night and a whole different one when you visit the same spaces in daylight.
Sometimes is almost like arriving in two completely separate locations. Though it’s the same building, or complex space. So this is how important every element is. After all, you won’t illuminate an office building just like a cultural monument.
And let’s also discuss about a third element, which is the energy efficiency and costs. Efficiency in itself. This is a big one, when it comes to balancing the aesthetics with practicality.
The majority of architectural illumination will not go too wild with the extent of implementing creative ideas. There is always a balance and here is where it comes into play: the cost efficiency. Luckily nowadays there are all these new techniques and lighting technologies to benefit from.
Many business owners, especially those in the hotel industry, use for their spaces the pixel led lighting. It allows so much fun and colorful play for a good price, that it became a major, price efficient option.
Who should take into account implementing a professional architectural illumination?
The simplest, obvious answer would be: everybody! But we should stick to a more complex answer: everybody who wants to live in the present moment and to communicate better, everybody who is concerned about aesthetics and improvement of the message they display. Everybody who wants to get into harmony with the surroundings, with the city pulse, the community and its people.
Everybody who wants to offer entertainment and various, ever changing options to their customers, the best examples for that being: hotel buildings, restaurants, office towers, airports, malls, business buildings, monuments, private real estate.
Call it architectural illumination or lighting design, you should use it if you intend, besides the utility requirement, to create a special atmosphere, a belonging feeling, by using light as the creation means in direct collaboration with the building shape.
Even if the architectural shapes are minimalistic, one can achieve from various illumination formulas, almost endless new shapes and messages. Just like putting different decorative art pieces on a white wall. It is all about fulfilling practical and design requirements of an external space, achieving a marvelous symbiosis with the construction.
It is all about art, science, development, integration, marketing and communication, and it develops further more to community, involvement, caring, contribution, increase.