The story of light
Interplay of lights and shadows can create an enchanting environment in our living spaces. Light and darkness are like two inseparable friends who fight all the time yet cannot live without each other. Lights create the ultimate clarity of our physical environment and darkness plays the opposite.
Blessings of mother nature
Sunlight is our primary light source and our most reasonable choice of light. Direct sunlight may not feel comfortable but covering it just the right way, so that we can enjoy its glow and warmth, is essential. Especially when sunrays reflect through the leaves of a tree, it creates a spellbinding environment.
Wide seamless glass windows invite bright sunlight with a panoramic view but it can heat up the interior.
When sunlight passes through or is reflected by some shading devices, it can create a soothing environment.
So using some kind of lattice or jali, sunshade or louver as a shading device can cut the glare and invite the reflected light in a welcoming way.
Jalis and screens are also used in mosques or temples for creating a divine illumination inside the space. In addition, allowing indirect daylight through screens or shading devices help to reduce electricity consumption of that building.
Baitur Rauf Jame Masjid is a space where people come to contemplate and to pray. So, the reasons were first to evoke the spirituality and the second to work within budget – natural light is free of cost and you can use however much you want.
Such balance of light and shadows creates a peaceful environment and helps to grow a sense of belonging with the space, whether it is home or under a tree.
Molding and shaping natural light can be done in various ways. Different geographical context might demand different solutions. The most important thing is to ensure the highest use of natural light throughout the daytime, for not only decreasing energy consumption but also for the improving our mental and physical health.
Neglecting this ever-changing beauty of natural light in time of designing a home is like forcing ourselves away from eternal blessing. As Louis Kahn said, "Architects in planning rooms today have forgotten their faith in natural light. Depending on the touch of a finger to a switch, they are satisfied with static lights and they forget the endlessly changing qualities of natural light, in which a room is a different room every second of the day."
As night falls
These days we have so many options to dazzle our eyes that it is getting difficult day by day to choose the right lamp or bulb to light up our rooms after sunset.
A designer must be careful while designing lighting and technological advancement gives us thousands of options.
In most of the cases, people think lighting is a luxury. That is not entirely true because with some simple ideas, we can light up our living spaces conveniently.
Geographical context, philosophy of living and philosophy of work are the three main thing that shape up the design philosophy of lighting.
In our day-to-day life, we sleep, eat, relax, cook, read and do many things that need certain amounts of light or does not need any light at all. Using the same light source for every type of task may create disturbances.
In a mid-summer night, when the weather is hot and humid, someone who is feeling little restless might want to relax in a dimly lit space. However, if all of his/her room are brightly illuminated with direct light sources, then he/she might not feel fully relaxed.
On the other hand, while someone is in kitchen preparing meals, then if the illumination is low, it will create pressure in their eyes.
Reading books or studying for exams need a certain amount of light but it is not necessary to light up the whole room to do so.
For the love of light
For thousands of year our ancestors' physical clocks were synchronised with the natural cycle. They worked during daytime and night was the time for rest.
However, with the advancement of alternative lights and energy sources, we have gradually changed our working pattern and now we stay awake almost half or more than half of the night.
In order to ensure a good night's sleep, an important thing is not to use unnecessary lights that can make it difficult to fall asleep or meddle with sleep in some way. Using only task-oriented lights and keeping overall lightings low can help us to be in a tranquil mood.
In this ocular centric modern world, our fascination for visual stimulation is continuously drawing us towards brighter, shinier and more colourful lighting devices. In addition, our various visual devices like cell phones and computers that we use every second of our aware time are even hijacking our personal relaxation time with their bright shiny addictive screens.
Still our body and mind craves for a quiet and peaceful environment. Having a sense of calmness, feeling the shade and texture of objects and seeking the inner beauty of an environment is a meaningful way to live. Appreciating darkness as well as understanding light can help us live more comfortably.
Naziur Rahman Chowdhury is working as a research and design associate at Bengal Institute.