Transforming Architectural Lighting Design with LED


The famous architect ‘Le Corbessier’ once said, “Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.” No words than these, could probably be closer to reality for a lighting designer.

Architectural Lighting Design is a part of architectural, engineering and building illumination. The key challenge for the architectural lighting designer is to ensure adequate illumination for a space or structure, maintaining the delicate balance of initial and operating cost of the installed lighting, energy efficiency and appearance.

Lighting plays a vital role in enhancing the appearance of architectural structures, and hence it is imperative to have a good understanding of light distribution and perception for a human eye. For a lighting designer, it is essential to combine the lighting science and align it with the human psychology. Architectural lighting design is one of the fastest changing dynamic arenas of lighting in the modern world as the role of lighting design evolves in tandem with architecture and endeavours creating a new milieu stimulating countless human emotions.

The famous Japanese lighting designer and President LEM Design Studio Ms. Shiho Nagamachi mentioned, “Listen to the voices unique of the places,” stating the importance of human emotions in the world of lighting design.

This artistic application of light is balanced with the technologies of light production and luminaire photo metrics. These electrical lighting systems also consider the impacts of and ideally can be integrated with day lighting systems. Architectural lighting design focuses on three fundamental aspects of the illumination of buildings or spaces, namely the aesthetic appeal of a building, the ergonomics or measuring the functionality of lighting and lastly, the energy-efficiency. Lighting Designers have to prevent light wastage caused by expendable illumination of vacant spaces or due to over-illuminating a certain space.Manual calculations based on tabular data are used to provide an acceptable lighting design for simple installations. Critical or optimized designs now routinely use mathematical modeling on a computer. The proposed lighting layout is checked for uniformity and quantity of illumination based on the positions and mounting heights of the fixtures, and their photometric characteristics. 

Lighting design software is widely used for large projects or those with irregular floor plans. The Zonal Cavity Method is used as a base for manual, tabulated, and computer calculations. This method uses the reflectance coefficients of room surfaces to model the contribution to useful illumination at the working level of the room, considering the light reflected from the walls and the ceiling. Fixture manufacturers usually give simplified photometric values for calculating the illumination using this method.

While majority manufacturers focus on measuring ‘illuminance’ - the amount of light striking a surface, Panasonic has developed an index that creates a paradigm shift in the world of lighting design with its ‘FEU’ – the new space brightness index, an innovation that focuses on ‘luminance’ - the human sense of brightness.

Panasonic has thus developed lighting that broadly expands the creative freedom of the architect, from the three vantage points of scientific lighting – methodology, design, and light quality.

Architectural lighting design is a combination of interior lighting design and landscape lighting design that assists in enhancing the aesthetics of these spaces and adds to their ambience. Panasonic’s top end luminaires range Smart Archi, unveiled by Anchor Electricals Pvt. Ltd last year utilizes its highly advanced technology to provide the elegant lighting that people seek, focusing attention on both illuminated surfaces and light-emitting surfaces.

The range Smart Archi is designed using the amassed technologies from Panasonic dedicated to the mission of refining quality of light. It is thus able to deliver uniform, stress-free and glareless light through dramatically improving the performance of reflective surfaces and utilizing the properties of LED to achieve lighting with the highest efficiency.

As a vital member of Panasonic Eco Solutions Company, Anchor Electricals is offering the value addition of custom lighting design plans for residential and commercial premises through Panasonic LED lighting Experience Centres in Mumbai and Bengaluru. One can actually visit and experience the Panasonic LED products in action through the simulation rooms situated in both these showrooms.

The arrival of LED thus transformed the world lighting design. Innovation of lighting design has happened due to evolution of light sources from the incandescent bulb to LED.    The emerging trend in architectural lighting includes that of a media façade where the lighting design becomes a visual and spatial art that overcomes the structural limitation of 'rigid' architecture and the colors of light enhance its value of the architecture. One of the other trend is to light up large public structures with colour LEDs that become landmarks of the respective places.

The Nobel Prize Winner and one of the inventors of Blue LED, Dr. Isamu Akasaki worked for the Panasonic Tokyo Research center and his activities in that period contributed to the invention of blue LED chip. While Panasonic is still watching the new trends of LED in India, it is also looking to promote its advanced LED technologies to offer the combination of Lighting Design with LED.