Lighting and our physical wellbeing

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The impact of light and how design and technology can make a difference

One’s environment is a primary determinate of physical wellbeing. What we breathe, smell, see, touch, and hear all have a significant impact on our bodies. 

Natural light is a primary consideration of Wellbeing Design because sunlight is a key modulator of our circadian rhythm, a cycle which encompasses brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, hunger, and sleep cycles, which in turn influence our mental, emotional and physical health.

Design aims to maximise one's natural light exposure by choosing naturally well-lit areas for frequently performed functions as well as through furniture types and placement, choice of window treatments, and in some cases, the location and size of the windows.

 When natural light is not accessible or is limited, choosing the right lighting source becomes an essential part of the design solution.  Equally important to finding fixtures that complement one's personal style is selecting the right type of bulb. There is more to a bulb than wattage. Determining colour temperature, colour rendering, and capacity of the bulb is essential and strongly tied to the function of the space being lit, the size and shape of the room, the time of the day it will be most used, and the age and capability of the users. By considering these factors, artificial lighting can mimic the sun’s colour temperature and rendering at various times of day; the sun’s colour temperature is about 2700 k (Kelvin) at sunrise, peaks at  6000 k by midday and then returns to  2700 k at sunset).

Lighting design is also a powerful tool for creating ambience and atmosphere; using different colours, temperature, strength, reflectors, and filters can determine the feel of a space and influence mood and energy levels: Whether it’s calming, cosy, romantic or energizing, Lighting can set the mood.

nora bouz
Wellbeing Design Consultant