There are some important questions that should be considered when planning a new project, specifically: Is “good” illumination important to your project? What is good lighting design and how is it achieved?
Light is a technically difficult yet astonishing medium that requires mastery of varied and continually evolving disciplines. A lighting design practice integrates the arts, sciences and business of illumination design and implementation far beyond concerns of visibility.
Lighting designers work as part of a design team and, like architects, charge fees for services rendered. Professional lighting designers bring solid technical acumen and sensitive design technique to architectural and landscape projects. But the value-added services they provide can make or break the success of a project and, therefore, outweigh, the impact of their fee.
An owner or project designer may be unaware of the advantages an independent lighting consultant can bring to today’s design and construction processes. For example: what is the difference between the services provided by a lighting professional versus an electrical engineer or interior designer? The electrical engineer specified lighting because it was part of the electrical system, and the interior designer selected decorative lighting equipment. Right? So what has changed to create a profession that specializes in lighting?
Lighting equipment and controls technologies are developing at light speed: hundreds of new products are introduced to the marketplace annually. To provide proper design solutions that make use of the latest, most-cost-effective technologies, lighting professionals must attend national trade shows and continually update product information and samples from hundreds of manufacturers. Keeping abreast of newest weapons in the lighting arsenal has become time intensive and more essential. Independent lighting consultants do not sell or install equipment, nor do they depend on the recommendations of lighting salespersons. So the client receives a lighting design based on research and expertise — free from conflicts of interest.
Illumination is the ephemeral partner of architecture. Light is invisible until it strikes an object or surface. And it is controlling this difficult, transitory medium that gives the lighting “artist” the ability to create hierarchies, dynamics and mood. Lighting design has become a creative extension of architectural design, improving visibility and complementing form, program and color. Experience and, of course, talent create patterns of illumination that seamlessly support overall project goals.