home

DESIGN LIGHTING DISTRIBUTION

LIGHTING TECHNIQUES

This section covers the different techniques of distributing light in an interior space achieved with different types of luminaire (lighting fixture).

Lighting Techniques

   

Diffuse uplighting:
Intent: To achieve uniform ambient lighting in a space. Light is reflected off the ceiling to introduce it indirectly into the space.
Quality: Beam spreads from 80° to 120° upwards. Even illumination in the space.
Use: To design a low contrast space with uniform ceiling luminance. Also used in spaces where glare should be avoided [1].

 

diffuseup
Figure L-LD1: Diffuse Uplighting [2]

Concentrated uplighting:
Intent: Create areas of high luminance on the ceiling with dark areas in between.
Quality: Beam spreads from 30° or lower upwards.
Use: To design a high contrast space with visually prominent ceiling [3].

 

conup
Figure L-LD2: Concentrated Uplighting [4]

Diffuse downlighting:
Intent: To achieve uniform ambient lighting in a space. To illuminate the horizontal surface below the luminaire [5].
Quality: Beam spreads from 80° to 120° downwards.
Use: To design a low contrast space [6].

 

diffdown
Figure L-LD3:Diffuse Downlighting [7]

Concentrated downlighting:
Intent: Create areas of high luminance on the floor with dark areas in between.
Quality: Beam spreads from 30° or lower downwards.
Use: To design a high contrast space.

 

condown
Figure L-LD4: Concentrated Downlighting [8]

Multidirectional lighting:
Intent: To create a stimulating, high brightness interior.
Quality: Light emitted in several directions [9].
Use: Reduced shadow and contrast. A high brightness interior [10].

 

multi
Figure L-LD5: Multidirectional lighting [11]

Semi-direct lighting:
Intent: Light emitted in only upward and downward direction. 60% to 90% of light is downwards [12].
Quality: Moderate contrast in the space.
Use: To balance uplight and downlight, creating a space of moderate contrast.

 

semi-direct
Figure L-LD6: Semi-direct lighting [13]

Semi-indirect lighting:
Intent:
Light emitted in only upward and downward direction. 60% to 90% of light is upwards [14].
Quality: Moderate contrast in the space.
Use: To balance uplight and downlight, creating a space of moderate contrast. Used in a space requiring less direct light and glare.

 

semi-indirect
Figure L-LD7: Semi-indirect lighting [15]

Wall Washing:
Intent:
To achieve even illumination on a vertical surface, side to side and top to bottom. The luminaire is placed at one-quarter of the distance away from the surface. Spacing between luminaires varies from one-quarter to one-half of the wall height depending on the luminaire [16].
Quality: Even illumination on a vertical surface.
Use: To highlight a vertical surface, hiding the surface imperfections, and flattening the texture [17].

 

wallw
Figure L-LD8: Wall Washing [18]

Wall Grazing:
Intent:
To reveal the texture of a surface. The luminaire is placed intentionally close to the surface.
Quality: Even wall lighting highlighting its texture.
Use: Used to illuminate surfaces with interesting textures such as stone, brick, etc. [19]

 

wallg
Figure L-LD9: Wall Grazing [20]

Slot Lighting:
Intent:
To light a wall accentuating the junction of the wall and the ceiling, indirectly lighting the space [21].
Quality: Brighter illumination at the top of the wall; indirect illumination in the rest of the space.
Use: To accentuate the ceiling plane.

 

walls
Figure L-LD10: Slot lighting [22]

Accent lighting:
Intent: To illuminate an object to focus attention on it. The luminaire is ideally located so that it produces light about 30° from vertical, which is generally agreed best for art [23].
Quality: Even distribution of light on the object
Use: To accentuate an object in space.

   

Cove lighting:
Intent: To directly illuminate the ceiling, and indirectly illuminate a space, accentuating the ceiling plane [24].
Quality: Brighter ceiling close to the light source.
Use: To accentuate the ceiling plane.

 

cove
Figure L-LD11: Cove lighting [25]

References

1. Gary Gordon. Interior Lighting for Designers, 4th ed. (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2003), 27.
2. David M. Egan and Victor Olgyay, Architectural Lighting. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002), 195.
3. Gordon. Interior Lighting for Designers, 4th ed., 26.
4. Egan and Olgyay, Architectural Lighting, 197.
5. Mark Karlen and James Benya, Lighting Design Basics. (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2004), 58.
6. Gordon. Interior Lighting for Designers, 4th ed., 26.
7. Egan and Olgyay, Architectural Lighting, 197.
8. Ibid.
9. Gordon. Interior Lighting for Designers, 4th ed., 27.
11. Egan and Olgyay, Architectural Lighting, 196.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Karlen and Benya, Lighting Design Basics, 61.
17. Egan and Olgyay, Architectural Lighting, 231.
18. Ibid.
19. Karlen and Benya, Lighting Design Basics, 61.
20. Egan and Olgyay, Architectural Lighting, 231.
21. Karlen and Benya, Lighting Design Basics, 61.
22. Egan and Olgyay, Architectural Lighting, 233.
23. Karlen and Benya, Lighting Design Basics, 62.
24. Ibid., 59.
25. Egan and Olgyay, Architectural Lighting, 193.

Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. All images are taken by the author unless noted.