As an architect, perhaps one treats lighting in a different light. To us, intelligent lighting needs to be used sensitively and rather intelligently. I submit the case as follows.
In today’s times, technology is the most powerful tool in evolution of human kind. In the lighting industry, this evolution is perhaps faster than other fraternities.
This is seen as a result of three reasons: Firstly, there is active and constant research and development of products as well as processes in this field. All lighting companies invest intense energy and time to ensure a flow of new products in terms of aesthetics and efficiency. These LED products and automation processes have teamed into a tremendous potential that is being tapped by all.
Secondly, power is a huge global concern. Its consumption and applications are both being tested and treated, which leads to faster growth in this industry. More areas are being lit; and anything that can be done to reduce this consumption and keep up with the expanding demands is critical. Hence, development is almost ensured and research is a given necessity.
Finally, the biased reality of Germans being front-runners in the lighting industry ensures it to be a leader. The precision and the multiplicity of issues that need to be technically addressed give them a cultural edge to keep up their intense energy.
With this established, one has to dismantle the issue of intelligent lighting into its different components.
Lighting needs to be optimally utilised. Excess lighting (lighting pollution) is not acceptable in today’s mindset of sustainability. One has to also ensure that the world is being more lit, and more of the world needs to be lit as a larger reality. This brings in a fresh obligation for intelligent lighting. One has to ensure that the solutions provided do not answer the singular mandate of power reduction and efficiency enhancements in isolation. It needs to holistically understand the market. The target audience is important, technically and culturally. The end intent is to ensure the solutions being practiced. One has to ensure a “human centric” design approach in the product to make it acceptable and easily accessible.
One also has to understand the role of automation, its use – not its over use. This can actually be an interesting tool to design itself. If one designs a product with a prior understanding of it becoming subject to intelligent processes like automation – the final product may change at its fundamental level. This can then be more comprehensive as a design development process. Automation can be too excessive and obsessive, crossing the boundaries of practical real applications. Also, they may at times, make the product too mechanical. Hence, this knowledge is important, to bring in the required intent for the design of the lighting fixture, its installation and the overall solution.
Light is a beautiful phenomenon. One must realise the larger role lighting plays in the society or to an individual. The functionality and aesthetic drama are both important on their own terms. One must work carefully in evolving lighting technologies and its applications with a very sustainable and responsible mindset. The words should not be taken on their face value. Sustainable design does not necessarily mean green or economical. They need to be useable, they need to stand the test of time and they need to bring in the required functional and aesthetic edge that design is fundamentally obliged to. Thus, they need to be genuinely responsible towards the environment and the entire ecosystem.
These are the fundamentals to “intelligent” lighting solutions, as one should not want to take away from the human element, the emotional quotient. The intuitive has a validity that compliments the mechanical. In addition, that is what gives artificial lighting a natural appeal.