Light fluttering through a green leafy canopy, a bright blue sky at midday and the golden light of October – we all know these "archetypal" light scenes that have been with mankind and shaped us for around 300,000 years. With the project "NatürLicht" [Natural Light] supported by TRILUX as a sponsor, the associated needs and feelings are aimed to be better understood – and made usable in the sense of Human Centric Lighting (HCL).
Simulating archetypes as pleasantly as possible
How does sunlight influence us and which archetypal light scenes and chronobiological connections are there? This is exactly what TRILUX wanted to find out, and so sought self-awareness within the framework of the "NatürLicht" project secluded in the Westphalian open-air museum Gut Loh-Hof, between Soest and Hamm in Germany. The core idea was that the project team lives and works together for four days, completely without artificial light. Each individual person observes each other closely to find out how natural light scenes trigger various moods and dynamics in differing situations. The project team set up a transparent light dome with a size of around 30 m2 along with seating and work facilities as a central location point, and they stayed in private tents overnight. During the day a mixture of individual tasks, common workshops and leisure time was on the agenda. Participants could choose any other place in open nature as well as the light dome, and the results were recorded in personal diaries and structured questionnaires and then evaluated by the group together in discussion rounds.
As part of the project, the team identified and analysed a number of natural, archetypal light scenes, for example the calming light ambience to be experienced below a sun-drenched and lush green canopy of leaves. But how can these effects be reproduced as closely as possible to nature using artificial lighting? To clarify this question a part of the transparent light dome's roof was replaced by special, self-luminous light panels. As with computer monitors these light panels can display not only colours but also specific images. The initial findings: although the bright image of a leafy canopy sets the desired lighting mood it's often judged to be "too intrusive" by the participants. Abstract, "washed-out" light atmospheres that merely reference the colour scheme were experienced as being much more agreeable. The light dome had its latest appearance at the Professional Lighting Design Convention (PLDC) in Rotterdam, and many visitors took the opportunity to experience different lighting ambiences inside the dome. The project is being continued In the 2019/20 winter semester at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK) in Hildesheim, Germany under the aegis of Dipl-Ing. Norbert Wasserfurth-Grzybowski.