How Colours Affect Lighting Design | ARTiculations

How Colours Affect Lighting Design | ARTiculations

If you’re ever pick up a paint colour chip
and flipped to the backside, it probably says the name of the colour, the colour code, and
often also something that says Light Reflectance Value. Most people will probably never pay attention
to this number. But if you’re a curious individual, which
I assume most of you watching this video are, you might wonder, what does this number mean
and what is it used for? Light Reflectance Value is a measurement of
the amount visible light, when illuminated by a light source, that’s reflected by a
surface in all directions and all wavelengths. It’s a value that’s generally used by
Interior Designers, Lighting Designers, and Architects to determine what is the most appropriate
colour to use on a surface. Of course, it’s not the only factor that
matters in colour selection, but it is one of the most important, yet also often overlooked
aspect of design. Light reflectance value not only affects how
light or dark a space looks and feels It also dramatically affects the performance
of lighting sources, the ability to reflect and absorb natural day light, the energy efficiency
of the building, as well as accessibility for people with visual impairments. To understand how Light Reflectance Value
works, we first have to be clear about what the word “value” means in the context
of colour. There are three main properties of colour:
Hue, Saturation, and Value. Hue is the classification of colour on the
spectrum, these are your reds, blues, greens, oranges, yellows, etc. While Hue is generally important in determining
the aesthetic feeling of a space, to someone with colourblindness, they may not see a difference
between colours of different hues. Saturation is the intensity of the colour,
how dull or muted a colour looks vs. how intense or vivid it is. Saturation is often confused with Value, as
it may seem like an intense colour is “brighter” than a dull colour. But saturated colours vary in value and often
can be very dark when it comes to the amount of light it actually reflects. Light Reflectance Value is expressed from
0 to 100. 0 means the colour absorbs all the light and
reflects nothing. 100 would reflect 100% of the light. In everyday reality though, nothing will absorb
all the light. I mean, unless your wall is, like, a black
hole, but that would be a big problem. Even the darkest paint will usually have an
LRV of about 3 to 4. And generally the highest LRV you’ll see
are in the low 90s. A designer will evaluate what is the functional
requirement of the space, how much access is there to windows and natural light, what
lighting fixtures are used in the space what is the energy requirement of the project,
and use these factors to determine what is the appropriate LRV each surface needs to
have. So lights come in varying levels of lumen
output. But how much of the light emitted from a source
ultimately ends up being usable depends on a lot of different factors. One of these factors is how reflective the
surrounding environment is. A room, especially the ceiling, that’s painted
in low LRVs colours will dramatically reduce the amount of light that’s in the space. Some environments require higher light levels
than others. For example a designer will typically specify
ceiling LRVs of 85 or more, and wall LRV of 70 or more for office environments where detail
tasks are being performed. In a boutique retail shop, or nightclub, lower
LRVs may be used to achieve a darker, more intimate atmosphere. However the designer will still need to ensure
that the light levels are appropriate for employees to perform their tasks and for everyone
to get around safely. In most commercial projects, an interior designer
will coordinate LRVs with a lighting designer, who will carry out lighting calculations and
other photometric assessments in order to develop a lighting plan that achieves required
light levels. Some property owners and/or municipalities
may also have energy requirements such as wattage restriction on artificial lighting,
or requiring the use of daylighting. In this case, increasing the LRV of ceilings
and vertical surfaces may be needed to maximize the reflectance of natural light and reduce
the amount of artificial lighting needed for the occupant to safety and effectively perform
their tasks. After all, it’s literally a sustainability
strategy that costs nothing. Designers also use LRV to design spaces that
are inclusive of people with disabilities. Contrary to popular belief, most blind people
have some level of vision, but many will have trouble distinguishing one surface from another
if their values are too similar. Thus, using high value contrast between surfaces
is crucial in ensuring occupants can get around safely and efficiently. For example, handrails, stair-nosings, start
of ramps, edge of platforms, and signage graphics should have a high level of contrast against
their surroundings to be visual apparent to the viewer. Most accessibility standards recommend a 70%
contrast for these locations. This is the formula for calculating 70% contrast. While in most places it’s only a recommendation,
in some locations, such as in detectable warning surfaces in California, it’s a mandatory
building code requirement. It’s important to remember that these design
decisions not only helps blind people it makes the environment more accessible to everyone,
including near-sighted people like me when I’m not wearing my contacts or glasses,
or any person in low-light conditions such as during a power outage when only the emergency lights are on. In my many years of being a designer I’ve
definitely heard people joke about how all we do is pick colours. And honestly I don’t take it as an insult. While it’s obviously far from all that we
do, choosing the right colour is a really important job. It affects the environmental experience of
the space, contributes to human comfort, influences energy efficiency, and is crucial in ensuring
safety and accessibility. Thanks for watching everyone! If you liked this video, here are some more
like it that you can check out. And don’t forget to subscribe for more to
come. Bye for now! *snap*

30 thoughts on “How Colours Affect Lighting Design | ARTiculations

  1. 2:18 I know you're referring specifically to colours, but I couldn't help myself and mention Vantablack (vertically aligned carbon nanotube array) which absorbs 99.965% of visible light 😛 , great video btw, hope you're having a nice day

  2. In The Laser lab my dad worked the walls and ceilings were painted in low reflective black to minimise the risk of the high energie Laser light bouncing of the wall and into the eyes of the employees. When you work with lasers of category 3 (The blink of an eye is enough timefor the laser to damage your retina) you want to be sure that the light is only were you intended it to be.

  3. Betty's back!

    Also, this was very interesting! It honestly never really occurred to me that color can have such an important, non-aesthetic purpose!

  4. Really nice video ! I love discovering unexpectedly interesting details about everyday life. It also gave me a new appreciation for a designer's work

  5. Vanta Black absorbs 99.9998% of light, and would have an LRV of essentially 0.

    Would be fun to hear your take on Vanta Black and Anish Kapoor.

  6. This brings me back to my environmental control systems classes in architecture school. Thanks for the excellent refresher!

  7. In kindergarten we got to play with shapes and colors, now after many years of school and university, I can proudly say that my future consists of playing with shapes and colors. Although in my case they'll probably always be digital and since I'm like graphics and can program I'll have to know a ton of math. At least a real life designer gets to play with physical shapes and colors.

  8. I'm surprised that Contrast is only expressed as a ratio, since, with this formula, even a dark grey of LRV10 would clear a 70% contrast against the LRV3 Tricorn Black and Tricorn Black would itself be considered over 70% over Vantablack. I don't have swatches on hand, but it seems unlikely that either of those combinations would be anywhere close to distinguishable by people that rely on these guidelines.

  9. you may like this modern recessed wall light

  10. That's what I call a great video! 😍 When it comes to chandeliers and indoor lighting, I can recommend a company that helped me to create the chandelier I have always wanted to have. I'm super satisfied so I will share the link if you guys are interested. It's called ShowSun Lighting and they make custom lighting products

  11. Beth, I hope you see this and maybe give me an answer.

    I love the lighting(both interior and exterior) in the first part of the day from 9:30 AM to 12:00 AM but absolutely hate the interior daylight from 14:00PM to 18:00PM. The early evening(before artificial lighting is on) is ok.

    Is there a way to plan interior lighting of a living space in a way that it changes the lighting to that of the first half of the day? Or maybe nullify the yellowish gold light of the 14-18pm?

    I live in an urban area 52* North Lattitude.

  12. Perhaps you can talk about luminosity functions and how they affect color (both photopic and scotopic). It is not just the energy at a given frequency but the distribution of those frequencies in terms of amplitudes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *