#252: Pools of Light


Uniform illumination — the sweetheart of the lighting engineers — serves no useful purpose whatsoever. In fact, it destroys the social nature of space, and makes people feel disoriented and unbounded.

Place the lights low, and apart, to form individual pools of light which encompass chairs and tables like bubbles to reinforce the social character of the spaces which they form. Remember that you can’t have pools of light without the darker places in between.

Two asterisks. ** (denoting certainty that what they present is an unavoidable pattern of living architecture)

“A Pattern Language” by Alexander, Ishikwa, Silverstein, Jacobson, King, and Angel, pp. 1160-1163

My Own Thoughts

Pools of light narrow your focus to the most important places in a room. I feel tired out in a room where the lighting gives every detail equal prominence. From my readings in neuroscience, I would say this is because the brain has to recognize and tag everything as “important” or “non-important” and well positioned pools of light reduce the work to be done. Narrowing sensory input is calming and who doesn’t want their home to make them feel that way?

Reading this reminded me that since we’re going to employ “floating” furniture in our new home’s den, we need to install a floor receptacle underneath one of the couches, to allow for a lamp where the couches come together without cords laying across the walkway.

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