Daylight brings everything out. Nightfall and darkness enable making choices and decisions regarding picturing the space and experiencing it, as well as its functionality.
We get to decide what is highlighted and what is left out. We get to choose at which angle the light meets a target and what kind of an image it creates. We can direct people and help them recognise the environment, create the desired impression of it, and we can trace the architecture, displaying and analysing it in such ways that are not possible in daylight.
Lighting design can, therefore, perhaps inspired by the opportunities of modern technology, be viewed more as night-time spatial planning. More specifically, lighting design takes a stand on the same things as anything related to environmental planning, traffic planning or architectural planning. Lighting design must follow and understand these fields of planning, as well as their patterns, and thus, try to maintain the investments in our environment even in the night-time.
Lighting creates an entity in our environment, which defines a person’s perception of a space, through which the person then forms an opinion about the purpose and nature of that particular space. For instance, in urban design, lighting can be used to define spaces on different scales, and a visual relevance, which highlights the characteristics of the space, is created through using different types of lighting.
At its best, lighting is a three-dimensional space entity based on views, where the features to be illuminated and the hierarchy between them is chosen in the best possible way in terms of picturing and experiencing the space. In addition, master planning can be used to create different lighting situations and ambiences, above all.
The atmosphere created through light cannot be emphasised enough when it comes to experiencing a living environment. The basis for great lighting design is the space as a whole, its objects and masses, which are highlighted with different emphases. A dark space is the new basis for spatial planning – for illuminating it.