The Magical Art Of Lighting Design

There is one fundamental fact about lighting: where there is no light, there is no beauty. -billy baldwin, ruby ross wood

Light is that magical ingredient that defines a space. Like an artists’ canvas, light is layered to create stunning visual environments for people to live, work, play, learn, shop, and communicate in. It is an essential tool in our lives. Lighting quality is defined by achieving a perfect balance among human needs, architectural designs, and energy efficiency.

“The lighting of it affects everything light falls upon: how you see what you see, how you feel about it, and how you hear what you are hearing.” – Jean Rosenthal.

The proper application of lighting improves satisfaction and performance, draws attention, influences social interaction, fosters positive mood, beautifies space, facilitates communication, promotes safety and security, and increases visual comfort. Poor lighting can have opposite effects including headaches, depression, glare, distraction and lower productivity. Improper lighting can also produce unsafe conditions by failing to illuminate hazards such as curbs, stair edges, even labels on cleaning products.

Design is defined by light and shade, and appropriate lighting is enormously important. -Albert Hadley, the story of America’s preeminent interior designer

Light and shadow are tools that lighting designers use to make faces, objects, and spaces more visible and more attractive. Patterns of light and the appearance of lighting equipment itself convey vital information to people such as scale and function while emphasizing points of interest such as artwork.

Visible white light is comprised of colors. The spectral composition of a light source, whether it is “cool” or “neutral” or “warm” in color appearance, can affect how we perceive the colors of faces, objects and surfaces. Qualified lighting designers are trained to choose the best light spectrum for the space to achieve the best quality of light.

Lighting is everything. It creates atmosphere, drama, and intrigue in a room.” – Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Lighting designers are a tremendous resource of innovative, practical, and economically viable lighting solutions. They know how to make the best use of the subtle and powerful medium of light, creating effects that can be changed to match the mood of the space.   Qualified lighting designers understand codes, standards, safety and security issues to ensure the proper application of light. Light is a technically difficult yet spectacular medium that requires mastery of varied and continually evolving disciplines. A lighting designer integrates the arts, sciences, and business of illumination design and application. Light is intangible and invisible until it strikes an object or surface. Controlling this medium gives the lighting “artist” the ability to create scale, dynamics, and mood.

Layers of light, like a beautiful painting, adds depth and dimension to any space or architectural element. – Robert Singer

Lighting design has become a creative extension of architectural design, improving visibility and complementing form, concept and color. Experience and talent create patterns of illumination that positively reinforce overall project goals. Brilliant and creative light design adds value to any architectural project.

“light is how we see. Lighting is how we see the world and each other.” – Iald

Energy efficiency and lighting quality should go hand-in-hand when shaping effective energy policy. Lighting consumes about 20% of the electric energy in buildings, therefore it is imperative to address the value light brings us while also addressing energy issues. The installation, maintenance, and operation need to be environmentally friendly. The iald has joined with other lighting organizations around the world to urge governments to adopt energy policies that recognize the importance of the proper application of lighting and its impact on human well-being and commerce. Energy-efficient lighting should be achieved in a manner that does not compromise lighting’s primary intent to serve human needs in a world in which most information is gathered through the eye.

We eat light, drink it in through our skins. With a little more exposure to light, you feel part of things physically. I like feeling the power of light and space physically because then you can order it materially. Seeing is a very sensuous act–there’s a sweet deliciousness to feeling yourself see something. -James Turrell


Illumination design has become the most important trend in interior design, complimenting architecture and nature, creating visually pleasing spaces, and improving visibility. With new developments in technology, keeping up with the latest trends is essential.

In 2016, due to nationwide and federal code restrictions on use of incandescent light, the hottest movement is switching to all led lights. The cost savings benefits and the eco-friendly benefits put this on the top of the list.

“LED lighting is 6-7 times more efficient than conventional lighting and can last up to 25 times longer.” – US Department of Energy.

The benefits of using led light and the growth of new technology make this revolutionary in lighting design. Designers are no longer constrained to traditional templates and can customize light to fit any application.

Innovative companies are lighting the way with new led technology. Customized led light strips to fit any installation make it easy to convert all your lights to led. Led closet lights with a seamless fit are helping us distinguish our navy blues from our blacks. Undercabinet and puck lights are lighting cabinets with no heat and without damaging our art and fabrics. Flexible led strips are contouring around curves. Color changing led light strips are adding zing to your entertainment areas. Outdoor rated led lights are lighting driveways, patios, and gardens, expanding our living space.

High color rendering index (cri) led lighting means more accurate optical color representation. Color temperature and cri remain consistent during dimming, unlike incandescent, which change color temperature and effect true color of art, fabrics, walls, and floor finishes. You maintain the richness of color with led lighting creating a more realistic, natural look, making this the perfect lighting choice.

The next frontier in lighting is the control system.

Dimming and sensors have been around for years, however, controlling these functions has improved tremendously with new technology. Advanced control systems can store personalized settings for multiple lights, allowing you to completely tailor the lighting scheme in any room. With such precise and powerful control, you can completely craft the look and feel for any space, as well as its functionality and efficiency.

Light technology is rapidly developing. Sophisticated devices communicate with each other allowing for one touch control systems to control more than your lights. Smart technology is opening up more opportunities for complete connectivity.  Controlling your home’s audio and security has never been easier with the simple installation of a light bulb. When all of your devices work together you can experience the magic of a smart home.

Light as art has become the final step in customizing your visual space.

Lighting is an inexpensive and simple way of adding flourish to any room, making light a design element. Lighting designers are trained to choose the best light spectrum for the space to achieve the best quality of light. Lighting must be carefully planned to suit the space it is illuminating. The inclusion of a couple of different schemes within one space can single-handedly change the perceived use of a space. Creating mood and atmosphere in a space using light is a powerful tool.

“When light becomes art, spaces become more enjoyable, life is more productive, and the soul is enriched.”

The challenge to make healthier lighting by adjusting brightness and color of light is gradually getting easier and cheaper. Stay inspired and up to date with these hot trends to experience light in the new age.


Architects, interior designers, electrical engineers, builders, and owners are among the many who are embracing professional lighting designers to augment their projects. They are finding extensive value in an independent lighting design professional. Light is a technically difficult, yet intangible medium, that requires mastery of varied and continually evolving disciplines. A lighting design specialist integrates the arts, sciences, and business of illumination design, and implementation. An owner or project designer may be unaware of the advantages an independent lighting consultant can bring to today’s design and construction processes. Professional lighting designers bring solid, technical acumen and sensitive design technique to architectural and landscape projects. The invaluable services they provide can only enhance the success of a project.

Technology is developing at light speed.

Knowledge of physics, optics, electricity, ergonomics, business, codes, environmental issues, construction, vision and the art of design, are all essential to creating great lighting solutions. Lighting specialists are continually educated on the latest, most cost-effective technologies. Lighting designers are trained to make spaces both functional and beautiful. This knowledge allows foresight in evaluating both requirements and restrictions of a project. A skilled lighting designer can help develop and integrate your list of requirements within the framework of the project and with the latest technologies.

A lighting designer can guide you through an entire project as your advocate. 

A qualified lighting designer will be able to assist with every aspect of a project from schematic design development, construction documents, control system, natural light control, on-site services, construction administration, design review board submittals, to final focus and programing. Designers are able to ensure the project runs smoothly during each stage, avoiding any disruptive and costly surprises.

Lighting designers can reduce the project construction and/or operations costs. 

A designer will work with the owner and contractors to achieve budget objectives through value engineering without sacrificing design intent. Reducing the owner’s operations costs may be a pivotal part of the design decisions, and these measures often benefit the project aesthetically and practically. Lifecycle cost analysis compares the return on initial investment of different techniques or technologies. For example, led technology provides maintenance free lighting for the lifetime of the home. Experience and knowledge of working within a budget can seamlessly support overall project goals.

Using a qualified independent professional lighting specialist will add value and prestige to your next project. 

The international association of lighting designers (IALD) was established in 1969 to recognize independent lighting design professionals and promote lighting excellence. Professional membership is limited to experienced designers and is contingent on peer-review of an applicant’s portfolio. Members must abide by rules of ethics. IALD members have worked on many of the world’s most recognized structures. Robert singer is a proud IALD member since 1995.



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