Lighting may be the most important element of design to get right. It directly affects our mood, comfort, productivity, and overall wellbeing. Getting the right lighting is more than just optimizing natural light and minimizing harsh artificial lighting, factors such as color, warmth, quality, and time of day all come into play when creating an environment to support its user’s needs.
For instance, in a workplace or school setting, spaces with ample daylight will aid in productivity while instilling a sense of wellbeing. Where artificial lighting is needed, opt for diurnal lighting that mimics time of day with cooler color temperatures during the normal working hours that warms into the evening. At Roger Williams University School of Architecture, KITE amplified daylighting with the use of skylights and intentionally placed windows. For work stations, good quality task lighting was employed so that students could control the level of artificial lighting necessary for productive work and study sessions.
Whether commercial or residential, lighting should mimic circadian rhythms with ample daylighting throughout. Artificial light that relies on cooler tones to suppress melatonin is best for working areas like the kitchen and office while warmer lighting is best employed in areas of rest to prepare the body for sleep.