LED luminaires offer many ways of coming up with creative lighting solutions; from variations in light level and temperature to personal solutions based on shape and colour. By opting for LED products in an office environment, it is possible to give employees more light without using more energy.
Go beyond the standard
All EU countries have a common standard for lighting of workplaces, EN 12464-1. For paper based activities the desk must be lit to 500 lux, or 300 lux when working with monitors. The ambient light, that is the vertical light on walls and indirect light on ceilings, must be at least 50 lux and 30 lux respectively. Research at Fagerhult, however, has shown that a creatively lit space requires an average illuminance of 250 lux both on the walls and the ceilings.
Choose the right light
The right amount of light is crucial for visual tasks and perception. However, it is by choosing the right type of light and varying it in the right way that the working environment becomes positive and inviting. Avoid having too much light directly at eye level. The eye is more receptive to ambient light that enters from the sides than to light that is projected directly towards the eye.
Vary the light
A room that enhances creativity must be well lit. Light the walls and ceilings as well as the work surface. This can be done in several ways, but an effective solution is combining a suspended luminaire, with a certain amount of indirect light, supplemented by wall washers or downlights located along the wall. Don't put the luminaires in the traditional location in the middle of the room and try to avoid harsh shadows. LED technology has opened up the possibility to vary the intensity and colour of the light, in terms of the colour temperature of white light or adding more drama with colour.
Work with textures
A wall with texture and interplay between light and shadow can be more interesting that a smooth wall. Statement walls with colour, wallpaper or pictures can also be accentuated using lighting. Research shows that motifs taken from nature, with plants and greenery, are perceived as being more positive and enhance a room's creative atmosphere.
Case study: Lighting the company entrance
In this entrance, which has an adjoining reception (Karen, please place the entrance image here), the designers have concentrated on creating a dynamic area where people first enter. Just inside the door they have 'painted with light' to create a decorative form that provides extra light at the entrance and emphasises the shape of the room. The luminaire is based on a modular concept that can be assembled in various configurations. In this application, the direct/indirect version has been used to provide light to the floor and onto the ceiling to create a sense of space. A cluster of large round-beam luminaires has been suspended in the centre of the room to maximise the generous ceiling height and provide a general lighting solution. By combining the different sizes close to the seats and couches, the aesthetics within the space have been enhanced with a contemporary feel. The wall, with paintings and artworks are accentuated by recessed wallwashers that provide comfortable ambient lighting and help to define the room.
For more information on designing a creative lighting environment contact Lighting Innovations Africa: www.lightinginnovations.co.za