Architectural lighting design is a discipline of study or work, which is primarily concerned with the designing of lighting systems in the built environment, namely, architecture and interior design. It may consist of design and manipulation of either electrical or daylight light and / or both, to satisfy human wants. The main objectives of this type of architectural lighting design are to illuminate spaces efficiently and to provide enough lighting for specific purposes. In general, this kind of illumination takes the form of task lighting, accent lighting and decorative lighting.
The term architectural lighting design can be used in conjunction with the term design lighting to describe a particular branch of such study. A designer who specializes in this type of illumination design may use this term to refer to his/her discipline. Such designers usually focus on providing sufficient illumination for architectural spaces, whether the spaces are homes, offices, public spaces, parks, schools, hospitals, factories, etc. The most common types of architectural lighting designs include track lighting, fluorescent lighting, recessed lighting, sconce lighting and fixtures. Each of these varieties of architectural lighting design have their own purposes.
Track lighting is one of the most important features of any architectural lighting design. This type of lighting system is usually mounted at the ceiling above the particular space being illuminated. It consists of several light panels, which are installed above the track. The track serves as the source and the reflector of the light, which then reaches out into the particular space.
Fluorescent lighting, on the other hand, is the common term used for this type of architectural lighting design, which aims to provide adequate illumination in low-visibility circumstances. This kind of illumination is commonly installed within the building or its immediate vicinity. This kind of illumination is generally used for aesthetic purposes, such as to highlight certain architectural features of buildings. It also has practical advantages, such as the provision of soft light for artificial illumination of night scenes inside the building, and the avoidance of harsh shadows.
Recessed lighting, on the other hand, is one of the most important features of any architectural lighting design. It is usually situated at a specific height above the floor level and focuses its illumination in an area that it covers, namely the space behind the room or area being illuminated. In some cases, the recessed lighting might be intended for the purpose of floodlighting an entire room or area. A very famous designer, Richard Klerman, is widely known for the innovative use of the fluorescent bulb, which he used to highlight certain architectural elements in his famous television series, “ukes”. Klerman has also created a number of different lamps, such as ones that replace the fluorescent bulbs in traditional chandeliers, and are now used in public places such as parks, museums and libraries.
The final architectural lighting design element is reflectors. They are usually found in outdoor spaces, such as on water or pool edges, but can also be installed inside the building, in the form of domes. These domes act like reflecting pools that bounce back and forth across the architectural space. When placed at a particular angle, they can create optical illusions that make a particular space appear bigger, or smaller. The reflected image appears as though it has extended beyond the original bounds.