What Is a Lighting Designer and Why You Should Consider Hiring One?
By Linda Anderson, LC, IES, LEEDAP
If you’re planning to build or remodel an office building, a place of worship, an educational building, a hospital, a restaurant, a retail store, your home or almost any facility, you should consider hiring a lighting designer to become part of the team that helps to make that structure an enjoyable place to work, worship, learn, recuperate, dine, shop or entertain.
The Team: Many professionals are involved in making your new or remodeled facility come to life and here is a short list: architect, interior designer, electrical engineer, and electrical contractor. The lighting designer works closely with all of these important contributors and works collaboratively to enhance their efforts.
The Yin and Yang: A good lighting designer uses his/her left brain to deal with the logical, more analytical, and factual aspects of the project while the right brain deals with the more creative, imaginative, and artistic aspects of the project . An experienced lighting designer has learned to swim back and forth between these two brain halves with ease. In short, a lighting designer should have a good command of both the art and science of lighting.
The Skill Set: More to the point, a good lighting designer does nothing less than bring to the project a complete, multi-faceted skill set like the following to accomplish the goals the project.
- Assist the client in gaining an understanding what lighting they need, what they want, what they can afford, and what is possible.
- A respectful sensitivity to the needs, wants, and desires of the buildings’ occupants as well. (Remember: It’s not the building that has needs, it’s the people who inhabit it!)
- A keen sensibility for the use of color and how that color is enhanced by just the right lighting.
- An understanding of the spatial design of the facility and how it might be enhanced by the use of proper lighting. (The size of the project isn’t the important factor but the importance of lighting is.)
- Maintain a current knowledge of ever-changing light sources and lighting technologies.
- To know when, how, and what kind of controls (dimming systems) should be used.
- Understand and appreciate the needs of an aging population.
- Balancing product selection with budget constraints.
- Balancing lighting performance with energy conservation.
“Good lighting is often one of the least consciously noticed parts of a space but make no mistake about it, good lighting IS noticed subconsciously and it often results in the space looking and feeling dramatically attractive, inviting, and memorable.” Linda Anderson, Lighting Designer
“Light is the first element of design; without it, there is no color, form, or texture.” Thomas E. Farin – educator, lighting consultant, entrepreneur
“We are born of light. The seasons are felt through light. We only know the world as it is evoked by light.” Louis Kahn – architect
“Light belongs to the heart and spirit. Light attracts people, it shows the way, and when we see it in the distance, we follow it.” Ricardo Legorreta – architect