Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Physiological effects of lighting and color

The element of water seen creating patterns of light bands on the bottom.

" The women with a parasol" by Claude Monet.

"Grainstacks" painting by Claude Monet showing season light during the winter season.

Rasmussen discusses that color has evolved with humans. He describes color as a way of experiencing nature through its materials. In other words, the essence of color is best represented in its natural state. For example, a sun dried log could produce a natural or gray color, or a tarred peice of wood could bring out a black. Color seemed to grow much like technology and with it we were able to broaden our pallet of colors. With this broaden sense of colors, we could begin to imitate the natural world and bring it into our homes. The weight of color is also important; a light or pale color can expand a small room or even lift a ceiling. The weight of darker shades and warmer tones can make a larger room feel more comfortable and accessible. In the article "Light Revealing Experience" Millet discusses Claude Monet's paintings of a grainstack and how seasonal lighting evolves and changes how we experience color. The first painting depicts a a sky flushed with blues, yellows, and greens enlivening the grainstacks during the end of summer season. The second painting uses darker yellows, and reds to reveal the deeper tones of falls and in his final painting the mountains glow blue from a pale white sky turning the grainstack into what appears to be black with hints of deeper reds. Much as the climate changes with the seasons so does the intensity of light. In many of the Scandinavian countries light is associated with warmth as it carries the heat from the sun. A combination of darker tones ingrained in the material of a building with large open windows brings light into a space and illuminates the warmth of the materials colors. In a dryer climate clerestory windows could be used to wash sunlight into a space without bring much of the unwanted heat. Gold was used on domes and fences in Scandinavian countries to reflect sunlight and create beacons of light to emulate the warmth of the sun. The natural world is a powerful conduit for light and one of its greatest applicators is water. Water as an element is very translucent in appearance but Carry's a much greater mass to it than that of air. Because of waters weight the movement of water can direct and reflect light. This deflection of light can be used to create patterns and motion on new surfaces. In warmer climates water and light is used to cool a space and create the phisological effects of cleansing. Water is only one of many ways to address lighting and color. The parasol is another great example of shielding us from the outside world but allowing light to diffuse through it. Lighting can also be addressed in offices an libraries to reduce glare and shadows cast by washing light directly through a space from east to west. Lighting and color have many applications and when combined with nature can help us redirect our focus or provide warmth and serenity in a climate that demands otherwise.