With this article I want to start a trilogy entitled “How to pattern space with perception”.
Over time you might want to change a room to meet your new functional needs, but you might not want to make structural changes to your home.
The intention of the next 3 articles is then to give you some quick tips on how to literally shape the environments of your home without doing it physically, using instead some measures that take into account how the human visual system works.
Three elements, multiple dimensions
The 3 elements I will deal with are in order:
• Materials / surfaces
I start with light because it is the element without which the other two would not even be perceived, therefore, let us pay homage to the Optics. Over the years, this part of physics has become increasingly important for architects and interior designers.
In fact, the perception of space by the human eye is influenced by light, and although it changes with the alternation of day and night, it remains a valuable ally to give new life and unexpected dimensions to the environments of your home.
Both design and furniture professionals know it well and they use this principle to trick the eye according to aesthetic and functional needs, for example, if they want to induce it to perceive a small space as larger and vice versa.
The magic of light shapes space in the same way as solid walls: it can divide environments or create continuity, just as it can guide attention on a specific object present in the room.
It works exactly the same as with colors: creating contrasts of more or less obvious luminosity, you can highlight certain areas of an environment to the detriment of others and give life and personality to the place where you spend most of your time without ever getting bored.
Let’s play with volumes
How is it actually possible to pattern spaces with light?
Considering that light is only one of the elements that interact with each other (as I said at the beginning, the other two are colors and materials) creating multiple combinations, there are several ways you can use Optics to perceive your space as different from what it physically is:
• If you want to increase the sense of height in a room, you can integrate light points into the ceiling.
• On the contrary, you can indirectly illuminate a ceiling and play with the diffuse light that is born of reflection on its surface.
• If you need to ‘expand’ the space you can place points of light on the floor, in the corners.
• If you want to squeeze it, you have to illuminate the upper corners of the walls.
• To compact a rectangular space you can approach a single wall, limiting yourself to illuminate more the wall you want to ‘move’.
The Charm of the Grazing Light
If you have walls of a particular surface, you can use the grazing light to highlight it. Grazing light is a wonderful tool to highlight certain structural features of your home. You can use it to create defined shadows and give depth to desired areas or even to individual objects in the environment you want to model.
With light you can not only modify the volumes but also and especially the moods. A cold environment can be transformed into cozy and vice versa you can balance a slightly too dark environment by opening it’.
Natural light always
First, take advantage of all the natural light possible. From the position of the house, it is searched as far as possible to have the day area exposed to South-South/East and the night area to North/Northwest.
In the same way, I always suggest that you feed your eyes with natural light. If you are used to being at home for work or study, look for the Sun whenever you can, both in the kitchen and in the living room.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with those skylights on the roof that let in sunlight from above, take advantage of every last drop of sun.
If there are only windows, arrange your time to maximize the use of sunlight by placing the table where you do your activity towards the window. During the day, you can use curtains to play with light and create brighter or more intimate environments.
Artificial light, not simple bulbs.
When the Sun rests, there are several ways to shape the space of your home. Meanwhile, the number of light spots in a room is determining. With a single light spot and a traditional switch, you’re lighting up an environment so you don’t crash into something, but you miss a lot of the advances in technology to benefit your eyes.
In fact, today, light technology has taken important steps that can greatly change the quality of your life at home. ‘Lighting projects’ are the new sensation. They have the purpose of imitating the flows of natural light.
A dimmer will save your eyes.
Using a dimmer, that’s to say, a light regulator instead of a simple switch, you can customize the light as you like in the night hours according to the mood you have or you want to get: You can make a room brighter if you greet your friends at dinner or if you are looking for intimacy or concentration.
Allow me a small digression as to the close relationship between lighting and your health: it would be wise to always keep in mind that artificial lighting must accompany your natural sleep/waking cycles.
Your internal clock is controlled by an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which when receiving optical signals from the eyes understands and points to your body when it’s day and when it’s night, and orders the epiphysis to release the correct amount of melatonin by determining the sleep state with darkness and the alertness state with light.
Finally, some companies are taking this issue seriously and propose an automated lighting through the control of intensity (natural transitions of luminosity), color (changes in color temperature) and stimulus (removal of harmful blue light’).
Shape your mood with the ‘Tuning Color’
To simplify, it is a manual version of the automated circadian lighting systems that allows you to control the parameters even extreme way, to influence mood states by associating colors in a determined way.
Here you can do it yourself: with the color adjustment of the light you can have a color for each moment of the day in real time, without spending a penny in varnish.
The technique of the ‘Tuning Color’ was born to give you the chance to adjust the color temperature (2700K-5500K) at any time and thus obtain any desired color, by mixing different LED RGB (red, green, blue) and RGBW (red, green, blue, white).
For example, if you want an intimate atmosphere, for an intimate dinner, or to watch a movie, you can get a kind of soft lighting reminiscent of candles performing between 2700K and 1800K.
If you want to increase the intensity to simulate daylight, you can adjust the dimmer between 2700K and 5000K.
If you want to play with colors you can get a real red or blue or any other color operating under RGBW.
Neon. Back to the future
With the advances of technology, neon has returned to fashion, keeping that retro air. It seems that 2021 is the year of its great return.
If you are open to new ideas, you can use the bright light of a neon LED for example, to make more ‘pop’ an atmosphere too classic, maybe not exactly a white but with the dozens of new shades available the only limit is your fantasy.
Inspired by the Pop Art of the 80s, you can choose from dozens of phrases written with neon to give a strong accent of color to the neutral walls of your home, or even in the kitchen.
Lighting: a bright future
You may have noticed that light offers endless possibilities and this article could become a book in itself. If I’ve stimulated your fantasy enough and you want to know more about how to keep the value of your home high over the years, follow me on this blog.
In addition, you can subscribe by filling out the form below so you don’t miss any of my articles.
See you next time, then, with the second episode of the series: “How to pattern space with perception”, when I will talk about colors.