This weekend I jumped in with a post on The Lighting Quotient. They are a company dedicated to properly lighting horizontal and vertical surfaces with even washes of light. They do this through superior optical engineering to make fixtures tailored to this exact purpose.
What I didn’t really do in that post was explain why you want to light the surface in the first place. There are several reasons you might want to light the surfaces instead of areas - here are three of them.
Soft Ambient Light
By lighting wall and ceiling surfaces you create soft, glare free ambient light that makes a space feel more open and inviting. Rather than casting light down directly on an open area creating obvious shadows, bounce lighting from the ceiling or walls acts more like natural light. It’s ambiance without an obvious source.
By lighting the surfaces of a room you highlight it’s architecture. You can see in this simple sketch that lighting surfaces here outlines shape for the visitor, making some walls prominent and letting others fall off. This is a replication of how natural light defines space for our eyes.
Add Visual Volume To Your Space
Simply downlighting a space makes walls and ceilings go dark. That darkness can make a space feel small. When you highlight walls and ceilings the eye makes the space feel larger because it accounts for all of the volume. Look at the meeting room I started this post with. That is not a large room. Yet, by lighting the ceiling and walls the room has volume and the soft ambient light feels comfortable.
Any thoughts or questions on why surface lighting can be optimal? Leave me a comment or connect with me on twitter @jamesbedell.