Aesthetics and Emotions
Due to its young culture, the basics of light aesthetics have been discussed relatively little and usually as a small detail and a part of other aesthetics in architecture. Therefore, the basics of aesthetics are rather guesses than facts.
Emotions are a strong factor in lighting. In this sense, it is better to go back to natural sources of light instead of artificial light. We get to experience moonlight, sunsets, starry skies, lightning, rainbows, northern lights and fire quite often, so these light phenomena come first to mind.
Faced with these phenomena, each person has certainly stopped to admire and even enjoy the perfection and harmony created by them. Therefore the visual effect of light is an existing fact, which is natural. The aesthetics and instrumental use of light are based on these kinds of elements. These consist of, among other things, intensity, colour, colourfulness, time, movement, harmony, contrast, brightness, form, stability, direction, angle and so forth.
When we add architectural concepts of space, location, form, texture, matter, construction and shade to these factors, one may already speak of elements, which are forming the concept of lighting architecture and its aesthetics. These factors are simultaneously enabled by artificial light in order to manage the night-time space, while taking into consideration the choices related to style, space and target hierarchy and architecture.
Accessibility and User Needs
In addition to the aforementioned, we can record requirements, which are expected from good lighting design in another sense besides an aesthetic point of view. The numerous requirements related to perceptual psychology, psychology and physiology must be taken into consideration as a night-time spatial entity, where one must be able to navigate from pillar to post freely, yet also enjoying the cosy atmosphere. A single feature or an idea does not equal a high-quality entity. Neither is surfing the world of light effects a functional base for building durable city lighting.
Furthermore, controlled use of a light instrument does not equal unrestricted visual fun, but there are numerous requirements, particularly in public projects. The basic idea is to take into consideration the user needs as a primary basis of design; the need for general lighting, accent and task lighting. Out of these, general lighting is perhaps the most important, since it is a way of lighting, which creates light for seeing.
Perhaps accent lighting is no less meaningful of a need, since it creates light for visibility, in other words, builds space and illuminates views, horizontal spots, crossroads and e.g. landmarks. Instead of the aforementioned, the need for special lighting already requires careful consideration, while taking into account that even advertising devices are a part of in special lighting.
The Harmony of Lighting Conventions and Scale
Each way of lighting affects the other, which is why it is essential to inspect them simultaneously. The ways of lighting can either support or destroy each other, and when used skilfully, they can be mixed – accent lighting can function as street lighting and street lighting as accent lighting. The entity can become special lighting while its function remains general lighting. One must state that the concept that everything the eye can receive must belong to the night-time entity, without separating particular features, is essential for modern lighting culture, that is aesthetic, technical design. Hence, the ways of lighting are something to be used on different scales regardless of the site.
Durable, Safe and Ecological
Great lighting meets even the technical challenge of durability and safety, as well as ecological challenges, such as seeing the starry sky or clean energy consumption, where the percentage of lighting is actually marginally small. The basis of high-quality lighting is not saving, but it can be an investment which reflects on several aspects of life.
How Do We Evaluate Lighting?
The success of techno-economic lighting can be measured technically or by performing calculations with different relative values, whereas evaluating the quality of aesthetic and technical lighting is more challenging. The preferences of different people on things such as colour cannot be trusted as a universal quality criterion. Someone loves the blazing sea of lights in Las Vegas, while another prefers to relax in the pale light of a full moon.
Successful lighting is a sum of aesthetic opportunities and technical requirements. When evaluating lighting, instead of effects and experiences, one should foremost pay attention to the entity of the lighting architecture, which must be observable in a simple manner.
The function of lighting is to create a night-time space or the illusion of space. The illumination levels must be controlled in terms of contrast and harmony. Stylistically, lighting must subdue to the architecture, while thoroughly considered lighting schemes allow single stylistic exceptions made consciously.
If the scheme, along with such accuracy as described above, produces a cosy image or stirs emotions in the first place, the lighting represents aesthetic and technical quality. If the feeling is comparable to experiencing amazing art, success is above and beyond granted. Therefore, great lighting might equal, for instance, grandfather’s old light bulb above the door of a small red cottage, a frosty night and an indigo starry sky.