Lighting Design: the art of combining light with architecture

Lighting is the perfect combination between art and engineering.
We perceive our surroundings firstly through our vision: how the world of interior design is changing thanks to innovative lighting technology.

Lighting design: what is and what are its elements

The way the light affects a space can determine many aspects, one of which is the way we feel. Lighting design creates systems internally and externally within the built environment, which can combine electric light and daylight, in a way to satisfy all basic human needs. 

Light is an integral part of giving life to the design: if the right light is brought into a space, the design blooms. It doesn’t only illuminate, but it also highlights and creates moods.

Lighting design includes aesthetics and functionality: the way we view light in a specific space can influence the amount of aesthetic enjoyment and sensory appreciation we can get from said space.

Why is architectural lighting design important?

A space should be illuminated enough for us to feel comforted, but not overly lit, as it can create a stressful environment that can affect our health. In a world that is currently based on sustainability, lighting design is becoming more and more important.

In an interior space, architectural lighting design highlights certain aspects of the furnishing and it renders the room, therefore it invites the inhabitants to remain, flourish and enjoy the space. When designing a space, the right light needs to be addressed as soon as the space itself is defined. Light can influence the mood, stimulate creativity and bring comfort to the working environment.

Lighting design living room


Can architecture achieve its true purpose without light? It definitely cannot. 

In order for humans to appreciate and see the beauty in the built environment, light is the medium that allows for that achievement to succeed. Whether it’s a naturally or artificially lit space, it is vital in the way we experience and understand architecture. 

Lighting becomes the most important design element with its ability to affect the mood of a room. It can be transformative to a smaller space, making it feel more spacious or it can bring openness in a closed off space. When a space is incorrectly lit, some design elements like furniture or signature pieces can be overlooked, therefore making the design redundant. However if the right lighting is introduced, rebirth of the entire design can occur, making it all worthwhile. 

Depending on the environment, different lights can be beneficial in enhancing the use of space. If one is entering a hotel, the lighting needs to be inviting, not too bright to cause distraction, but enough to highlight certain design pieces that can be intriguing. In a hospital, natural light can be beneficial to the healing process, whereas in a store, lighting can bring focus to different items on display, inviting the customer to focus and purchase products.

Interior lighting design: for each place its own lighting

When it comes to interior lighting design, it is important to find the perfect lighting for each environment.

Natural light public space

In public spaces such as hospitals, hotels, airports and museums, lighting can be a welcoming and calming aspect that leaves the visitors feeling at peace.

Office lighting

In private sectors such as houses and office buildings, the well thought out lighting system can truly make it a home or it can creatively represent a brand image. 

Shop lighting

Whereas in the retail sector, for example in a shopping mall, the right light can bring focus to specific desired items and positively summon customers to remain, browse and eventually buy. Functionality is vital. 

Natural light in architecture

Architects have used the benefits of natural light for centuries. The experience of light is central to the Pantheon's architecture: every 21 April, at midday, the sun enters the Pantheon's oculus at such an angle as to create a beam of light that perfectly centres the entrance portal. At this exact time, the Emperor crossed the temple door so that his figure was bathed in light.

Oculus Pantheon Roma

The oculus, Pantheon, Rome

The use of natural light enhances the aesthetics of a space and has health benefits for those who live in a space lit by daylight.

Spaces which are lit naturally are more comfortable because they minimise feelings of anxiety, headaches and discomfort. Throughout history, natural light has brought an almost holy element to architecture, used in churches like Church of the Light by Tadao Ando, but also comfort in residential sites, seen for example in Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye.

The importance of natural light in architecture

Natural light can affect human’s health, mood and comfort. Why is lighting important in interior design? Tied with design, it improves every environment. Some of the benefits include:

More natural light means a space that is more inviting

Natural light improves living conditions

It enhances environments and their design with authentic and non-artificial lighting

Bringing out all the colours within a space

Make the space looking more spacious

Using natural light allows you to improve the livability of an indoor environment and consequently its value

Light is one of the main factors of the Well Building Standard: the correct light guarantees health benefits, such as circadian system regulation, productivity and sleep quality improvement and vision protection.

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Different kind of light indoors

When it comes to lighting design, some of the varied types of light that enter a building are zenith light, which enters from the ceiling in the form of a skylight; diffuse and uniform light, which comes from larger and regular openings like a strip window; direct light coming straight from the sun and reflect light, which bounces back from any surface and gets redirected into space. 

However brilliant it is to have a natural light source in a space, that isn’t always the case in many existing buildings or spaces that are limited to those sources. In those cases, creators are looking for new technologies to complete the space and revive it by mimicking natural light. Here some of the technologies that can reproduce natural light indoor:

Natural light lamps reproduce the light outside via settings (noon, afternoon, sunset, evening, night)

Fake window light involves a high quality image installed over LED light panels

Skylights artificially produce natural light in order to illuminate spaces in a more ambitious way

CoeLux: an innovative solution to have natural light and artificial sky indoor

When it comes to reproducing indoor sunlight, the most innovative and complete solution is CoeLux with its unique solution. Established in 2009, CoeLux has the mission to promote an innovative solution for lighting by the genuine physical reproduction of optical atmospheric phenomena indoors. 

Professor Paolo Di Trapani, the company founder and CEO of CoeLux, describes CoeLux as “The lighting systems that reproduce a virtual experience of the sun and sky; especially in below-ground environments, the effect is so powerful that it may radically change our perception of reality. It allows us to rediscover natural light in the real world in a totally new and surprising way”

In order to achieve this result, the comprehensive work is carried out by an interdisciplinary team of researchers in the field of optical physics, numerical modelling, chemistry, material science, architecture and design. After an in-depth university research with University of Insubria, CoeLux is the first physical product that has been able to achieve this high-quality reproduction of natural light. Basically, it is a recipe for success.

But, how does CoeLux work? Simply in a unique way.

CoeLux Skylight

The light systems are able to produce the true effects of natural light that arrives from a window that is open to the sky and to the sun, by creating distribution of lights and colours, just like in nature. Also, CoeLux reproduces light by offering a perception of an infinite space beyond the window.


CoeLux office lighting

Some of the special characteristics of CoeLux technology include hyper realistic appearances of the sky and the sun, depending on the product, there are different modes in which that can be achieved. There is a strong depth perception both by looking inside the system and by looking at the room. By using diffused blue light and directional yellow light beam, the reproduction and emission of light is achieved in two components as it is achieved in nature. CoeLux products offer the reproduction of the chromatic variation and intensity that characterises the flow of the day. In addition there is also a technology - not in every product - that reproduces the moon and night light, as an alternative to day mode. 

The main mission of CoeLux product is to allow its customers to “experience the sky” through innovation where not even architecture can limit the design of a light-less room. With the help of this highly technological and exclusive product, the architecture of an environment becomes whole.

CoeLux is an innovative lighting design solution because it highlights the design of the room and allows technology to create a magical optical illusion. In a world where our surroundings have an immense effect on our daily moods and our overall mental health, wouldn’t it be wonderful if in a moment of darkness, our life is illuminated by a technology like CoeLux? We will let you guess the correct answer.

CoeLux skylight

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