Light and Nature

As lighting design experts working on a variety of projects around the world, lighting is always front of our minds. When you take a moment to appreciate the power of natural light you begin to understand how vast a design landscape can be.

Biophilia hypothesis is the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.

There is something very special about the way we feel about nature, whether in appreciating a walk through the countryside, or being by the sea and breathing in the fresh coastal air.

Quite simply, we are drawn to nature as human beings and we do have an innate connection with the natural world.

Cities around the world have recognised biophilia as integral to their development. By putting at the forefront a connection with nature to the city, social experiences are said to improve along with a sense of community and coming together. Sounds from animals also go a long way to connecting us with the natural world, birdsong infinitely more pleasing than traffic noise.

One of many cities that are pushing ahead with a biophilic commitment is Singapore. Cities like Singapore are often filled with concrete, glass and steel, and in many cases some distance away from any possible connection with nature. The picture below of the Park Royal Hotel is a great illustration of how close you can bring nature, offering the guests something so much more than just concrete, glass and steel.

When thinking about lighting a biophilic space, taking into consideration the use of naturally occurring colours and materials is important. Maximising daylight wherever possible is key. Daylight sensors to phase electrical lights on and off is a considered touch.

LED lighting throughout can save up to 80% of the electrical light load in some cases versus traditional technology. Solar light tubes can also reduce electrical requirements by up to 80% and have the added health benefit of providing natural daylight.

Lighting these spaces requires expertise, something that we at Xavio are familiar with. For example, a behind-the-scenes view into a window boxed lobby area that we are working on shows consideration given to complimenting the natural setting with lighting that enhances the environment. An appreciation for the wooden textures, the shadows cast and how the light interacts through the entire space create an organic and natural feel.

With a biophilic design, there are likely to be different types of textures, so thinking about how to bring the best out of these textures is important. Lighting wooden textures will require different thinking to lighting plant life or living walls for example.

Consideration will need to be given to what brings the best out of plant based areas, what type of lighting will create a sense of depth and cast shadows in keeping with a natural environment, bringing out the detail that would be missing otherwise.

Lighting plays a huge part in these designs. Its about balance, understanding the balance between the room, nature and how light brings the collective space together.

In this type of design, we like to consider the room as the canvas, nature the paint and light the brush. As we have said before, to achieve exquisite results, lighting design truly is an art, and lighting designers themselves artists.

You can download our full Biophilic Design Guide here which has a lot more information and photos. We will also be releasing issue 3 of our free Lighting Design magazine soon which is a special feature edition on Nature and Light covering biomimicry and biophilia. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to receive the edition.