Re: Light as a Material

I really enjoyed the last part of this post because I, too, agree that light is often used as a material for calming effects. Often times we are distracted by materials on a wall or what the ceiling panels are made of that we tend to neglect the light source entirely. Perhaps I use “we” a little too loosely, but I constantly hear the admiration of the steel facade of the Weisman or the Walker, and not so much the admiration of how the light reflects off of it during different parts of the day, or from different angles one can look at these buildings. Although the exterior of a building is extremely important when it comes to light as a factor, but the interior has the ability to warp light in a different way; whether it be through the openings in the wall, the ceiling or a projection of artificial light.

False Sky

In Mary’s lecture, she mentioned the use of lighting on the ceilings of health care spaces in order to bring a sense of peace and relaxation to the patients. After some research on this topic, I came across a product made my Philips involving “Light Therapy” (Philips). Their motive behind this is that people often feel more energetic and refreshed during the bright sunny season when they are enjoying natural light. When we are exposed to light, “it helps to align our daily rhythm or wake us up more easily.” (Philips) One product in particular is called the Wake-Up Light, which creates the effect of an actual sunrise. It uses “a unique combination of light and sound to wake you in a more natural way.” (Philips) I find this fascinating that, as an electronic company, Philips produced such a product. They went further into the studies of human sleep patterns and beyond the simple purpose of an alarm clock. Perhaps they have done studies involving biomimicry.

Wake-Up Light

I think this is a very interesting way to study light as a natural source and an attempt to recreate it completely. Not only are they recreating natural light but also natural sounds. Different sounds are soothing to different users, so there are settings created to ideally fit everyone’s needs. Perhaps this study could be taken a step further and used as light for an entire room. There could be studies out there that have done this and I didn’t find them. I’d be curious to see how this light would impact the feelings of a patient in a hospital, or, like in the previous post, a visitor at a morgue.



  1. lexxx329

    I think that the product you introduced in your post is very interesting and makes a whole lot of sense. I don’t know why this isn’t already a widespread idea that has caught on with everyone. A combination of lights and sounds to wake a person up seems like a much more natural and calming experience than the sudden blare of an alarm clock in the morning. The concept behind the Philips Wake-Up light reminds me of a software program called f.lux that attempts to mimic natural light in a similar way.

    Although it does not necessarily address an architectural issue, I think that this particular program combats a problem that affects nearly everyone. We often stare at computer screens and phone screens for hours on end and never realize how unnecessarily bright they are. What f.lux does is change the brightness of the screen throughout the day depending on the time. For instance, during the afternoon it would be as bright as it normally is and have a typical white glow on the screen; however, once the day starts to wind down the screen will begin to dim and switch to a warmer orange color to mimic a sunset. This subtle transition is supposed to reduce the strain on the user’s eyes and make it easier to sleep for those who are irritated by bright lights.

    I have the program installed on my desktop computer and while I can’t attest to all of the claims by the software developers I have turned the program off while it was in the dim-orange mode and the difference is funny enough, like night and day. After turning off the program it instantly turns back into the typical glowing white screen and it is apparent how bright it actually is. I know I probably sound like a salesman in this post but the best part about f.lux is that it is completely free and available for both PCs and Macs, and even the iPhone. Although the functions between the Philips light and this program are different I think that the issues they address are very similar, that being the comfort of people and their relationship with natural and artificial light.


  2. Pingback: Final Thoughts | Daley, Avril & Greg

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