AAA Design Series: Light as a Communication Measure
Writing and speaking are two ways that we humans generally communicate with each other. However, were you aware that lighting is yet another way to communicate? From the very start of human civilization, everything from a blazing torch to an oil lamp has been used not only for illumination but to serve as a signal. The purpose of lighting a fire could be to signal for help or warn other tribe members at a distance of a fast-approaching enemy. Rocket flares are often included in emergency kits on boats and yachts. In case those sailing require assistance, they can shoot a flare into the sky and gain the attention of mainlanders. But how does lighting, as a form of communication, impact a homeowner in Pakistan?
Importance of Lighting
For a home, a light at the entrance is welcoming, signals warmth and invites the onlooker to enter the space. Likewise, in an office, lighting can serve to protect the property and staff after business hours. In a commercial space, light can draw attention to particular items on sale, or result in a sense of awe. In a gallery, lighting solutions can showcase certain pieces of artwork. Whether it is natural light or artificial light, it can highlight colour, textures, seating areas, passageways, and even window features within a residential space. Above all these advantages, the primary benefit of properly-installed lighting is vision. The ability to see and navigate a space freely without worrying about one’s safety. A well-lit workstation will make the occupant feel revitalised and encourage them to be efficient with their daily tasks. The same principle applies to a private residence, where light can visually open up an otherwise cramped space.
Turn on the Lights
Light, as a medium, can communicate specific messages and create pockets of social engagement – where required. There are a variety of projects worldwide that demonstrate the importance of light, such as:
- The Empire State Building, USA – Perhaps New York’s most recognisable skyscraper, the Empire State Building, was illuminated to draw attention to the plight of endangered animals.
- Brandenburg Gate, Germany – Berliners used candles to write the message “Save our Climate Now!” In this instance, lighting served as a tool to create awareness about the environment.
- Opera House, Australia – Sydney Opera House sparkled over the harbour to generate awareness about pancreatic cancer as well as to support those battling the disease.
Lights and lighting arrangements can be used to register a protest or honour a cause in a public space. Take, for example, the United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa or France’s Eiffel Tower; both of which are regularly lit up to mark an event, a holiday, or to commemorate a public figure. The ability of light to transform a building or a landmark into a thing of surprising beauty is magical in its own right.
Light has always acted as a vehicle to transfer messages. It has motivated people to take action against oppression, inequality and injustice as well as create awareness about social issues among people. As a homeowner, try consulting with an experienced architectural design firm to gain customised lighting solutions for an upcoming project.