I do. I really do!
This quote is one of the best compliments you can get from someone when you’re talking about your profession. I mean, yes, being a Professional Ice Cream Taster or a Professional Roller Coaster Tester would be a little bit ‘cooler’ than an Architectural Lighting Designer, but I have to admit: I do. I have a really cool job.
I’m going to tell you a story…
This all started the other day when I was at an acupuncture appointment and I got sent to the ‘moody’ room for the first time. Most of my appointments are set on the main floor, where there’s a nice big window with soft daylight flowing in. It’s a lovely little space, I can’t complain. The one day when all of the main floor rooms were occupied, I was sent to the basement room where there were no windows to the outside world. It did, however, have a control system for the artificial lighting in the room so that I (or my doctor) could adjust the lighting according to the task at hand or the mood that could be created.
My acupuncturist was kind enough to adjust the light levels to my liking before he left the room for me to enjoy my treatment. Bach played on the radio, the lights were dimmed low, and I floated into a wonderful state of relaxation for 15 minutes. When I was finished with my treatment, the lovely nurse (whom I always get the pleasure to chat with) came in the room to remove my needles. She told me that every day before she starts work, she comes down to this particular room, she adjust the lights and lays down for 10 minutes. This is how she calms herself before starting her day. Or she’ll often come down during the day if the room is available and she has a spare moment, just to get into a ‘different’ type of space than on the main floor where the light levels are pretty constant throughout the day.
I nodded, knowing full well ‘why’ this was a good thing and excited that she was telling me this. She continued on to say that the bright, ‘fluorescent lighting’ really bothers her and she just needs a break sometimes.
Here’s where I come in! I told her that I was a Lighting Designer and that I completely understand her concerns. However, I warned her in saying that perhaps it’s not the actual fluorescent lighting that is bothering her, but rather many other factors that affect her throughout the day.
- It could be the placement of the light
- It could be the balance of brightness and darkness in the space
- It could be the intensity of the light and the fact that it remains at the same intensity from the moment she starts work in the morning to when she leaves when it’s dark out to go home.
- It could be the colour temperature of the light (is it warm or cool). Cooler temperatures can make you feel much more alert and productive than warmer sources of light.
Then I went to explain to her that varying the colour temperatures along with the intensity levels over time, can mimic natural daylight over the day and help people synchronize with their circadian rhythm (this is related to their sleep-wake cycle). Contributes to people either feeling tired and sluggish to alert and productive.
Well, I had her hooked and she just exclaimed “You have the coolest job!”.
I completely agreed!
This is why I became a Lighting Designer and why I want stress the fact that I don’t ‘pick out pretty fixtures’. It’s something I can do, but it’s not something that I solely focus on as a Lighting Designer.
This conversation and topic is at the heart of what lighting design really is: making people feel good and creating experiences that enhance overall well-being in our every day lives.
Click the image above to more information on Lighting for Health.
Ask me how I can help you feel better in your daily life!