Category Archives: Lighting Zeitgeist


We are seeking bright stars to join our New Delhi studio. If you are a creative, intelligent, and sincere lighting design professional with an architectural, interior design, electrical or theater background, we will like to hear from you.

Please email your resume and portfolio of sample work to Please make sure you have the required skills & disposition for this job before you send in your resume

The Meaning of Colors


  • 700nm
  • 2nd most visible color
  • Red areas perceived as moving forward
  • Lymph system and skeletal system
  • Love and aggression


  • 650nm
  • Pride, ambition
  • Reproductive system
  • Stimulates activity, appetite and socialization


  • 600nm
  • Luminous and most visible color
  • Power center- above navel
  • Mentally stimulating, activates memory, encourages communication


  • 550nm
  • Nature, prosperity, healing, fertility
  • Heart chakra
  • Soothing, alleviates depression and anxiety, renewal and harmony


  • 500nm
  • Sharply refracted by the eyes
  • Pushing the image back to appear receding
  • Appetite suppressant
  • Calming, aids intuition


  • 450nm
  • Inner self, spiritual
  • Eyes, ears, nose brain


  • 400nm
  • Most powerful wavelength
  • Crown chakra: head, brain, nervous system
  • Uplifting, calming, encourages creativity, meditation


  • Purity, cleanliness
  • Aids mental clarity
  • Purification of thoughts and actions
  • Fresh beginnings


  • Authoritative, powerful
  • Inconspicuous, mysterious evoking potential and possibility
  • Restful emptiness


  • Stable, reliable, approachable
  • Wholesomeness
  • Connection to Earth
  • Orderliness
Blue Frog: AWA Lighting Designers project

Blue Frog: AWA Lighting Designers project

AWA Lighting Designers Launch “Contextualizing Light,” The AWA Movie Channel

AWA Lighting Designers are pleased to share our work with our friends and well-wishers through “Contextualizing Light,” the AWA Movie Channel on YouTube and Vimeo.

Click on these links to visit our channels!


Lighting Zeitgeist- Culture, Light Levels and Economics- Part 3 of many

Over time, we have often seen a shift in requirements within a culture or people. In the United States in the 50’s and 60’s, the popular adage was “more light, better sight.” When the OPEC energy crisis occurred in 1973, it required a serious re-examination of light levels and prompted many research excursions to show that we could work as efficiently in much less light.In the last 50 years, as other areas of the world have found prosperity and technology has become more affordable, traditional constructs of light and darkness have been replaced by grossly overlit spaces. The flip in perceptions is best highlighted by the following two quotes taken from two authors from two different parts of the world, quoting 75 years apart in time.

 The eastern world of early 20th century :
• “We Orientals tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable.
• But the westerner is determined always to better his lot…..from candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light – his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow” – Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, in praise of shadows, Japan [1933]  1950s America :
• The popular adage “more light, better sight” dominated our approach to lighting
• Light levels: +1000 lux
 Post-1973 opec crisis:
• Re-examination of required light levels
• Work more efficiently with less light
• Light levels: reduced to 500 lux
 Today:
• “Some judicious use of shadow would help humanize our over-lit lives.”
• Darkness: basking in the dimming of the light
• Murray Whyte, Toronto Star, Canada (2008)
• Light levels: further reduced to 300 lux

Reflexively, as the ‘green’ movement gains momentum, it inspires the search for more efficient lighting solutions, which in turn leads to the development of halogen lamps, and eventually, light emitting diodes (LED’s). The emergence of the tiny, long-lasting, inexpensive LED’s is anticipated to dramatically change the lighting situations in many developing nations where, previously, people relied more on natural light and on planning activities during times when it was available. In the last 50 years, as other areas of the world have found prosperity and technology has become more affordable, traditional constructs of light and darkness have been replaced by grossly over lit spaces. The critique here is clear, that just because technology is affordable and easy to install it doesn’t mean that it should be implemented carte blanche. All technology is susceptible to environmental concerns, and although LED’s do provide superior lighting efficiency in energy of use sense, the current rate of production to fill the gaps aforementioned cannot be sustained in the long term to meet that demand. The reality of the industry is that we have an uncertain supply of both energy and materials which should be addressed not through techno-solving, but rather through simple ethical implementation into the design process, which starts with the simple question “do we really need this?”

The tide of the ‘green’ movements influence in expanding the implementation of ethically sustainable practices into design can be seen through several different certifications and policy initiatives undertaken in recent years. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification formed by the U.S. Green Building Council is the world’s leading certification in sustainable design for architecture in the United States. Developed by the 20,000 or so members of the council, the certification is won by adhering voluntarily to the standards developed by the council for that specific year. The standards evolve and are voted on by the council every year, with the certification goals becoming ever more progressive.

The same progression can be seen through the evolution of the United States congress bill, the 1992 Energy Policy Act (Epact), in which states had to review and consider adopting national model energy standards. In 2007 the Department of Energy updated the policy to improve energy conservation by 3.7%, followed by an update in 2010 to bring the total to 18.2%. The policy debate surrounding sustainability has a large influence on the discussion about light and how we use it. Though we do see change through initiatives like the LEED certification and the Epact, the zeitgeist still turns toward techno-solving as our chosen methodology for escaping our sins. Technologies such as wind power, hydro-power and nuclear power all contribute to the discussion about how we can make our energy production renewable, however the conversation surround how much we should need and how much we are really using is still too quiet.


ottowa City Counsel

US Gas Rationing 2













Lighting Zeitgeist: Culture, Climate and Materials (Part 2 of many)

Culture, climate and materiality  form the three pillars of light that are the bedrock for our critique of the lighting zeitgeist.

Climate and materiality are two great concerns within lighting, but while they possess enormous influence, they do have clearly defined boundaries. The broader a definition is of culture, the more accurate it becomes; the inverse for both climate and materiality. The flexible nature of culture holds a great deal of interest for design, in that how we manifest objects, systems and behaviors through design is a large part of the dialogue surrounding the question; what is culture? Lighting solutions internationally balance universal ideas about light with local variations. A given culture’s position in the global economic development cycle is often reflected in its use of lighting in urban, night environments. However, striking a balance between regional differences and globalization is often a challenge.
o The culture of lighting defines us. In an era that is increasingly segmented, with a renewed focus on site-specific, culturally aware design, every practitioner in the built environment can benefit from better understanding the implications of culture in lighting design. While the nature of culture is interesting, attempting to define or sculpt its wide boundaries is not the primary aim of this posting- Starting a  dialog on the differing nature of culture globally as it affects light is- we are interested in how culture informs light and affects how we perceive light.
o Every culture has had a distinct relationship with light, and that continues today. As it is manifest, light defines broader tastes and styles within a culture. And, this has deeper implications than mere fashion or vogue. As more firms and practitioners begin to operate across geographic boundaries, understanding cultural drivers is critical for meeting the needs of the populous- From lighting the villages of India to designing civic, residential and institutional environments in New York City, to exploring the burgeoning and conflicted world of the Middle East, every practitioner in the built environment can benefit from better understanding the implications of culture in lighting design.
o What are the elements that define individual cultures? We might list the arts, architecture, technology, economics, religion, literature, politics, tradition and ritual, human biology and physiology, local conditions, climate, and natural resources. In analyzing a culture’s unique views on lighting, we might consider light in relationship to each of the above elements. While certain elements, like the human physiological response, remain consistent cross-culturally, others, such as climate or religious traditions, can vary immensely.




symphony of light hongkong 2











Light and Culture: Our Zeitgiest (Part 1 of many)

Over the past many years, the good people at the AWA studios internationally have contributed to research on how their lighting solutions for architectural environments can be more responsive to their culture and local conditions- a tough task, as it is tempting to just say “screw it” and follow the rules established by the overt Americanization of codes and standards, and supplemented by the economics and marketing of European fixtures.

Our hypothesis on our Lighting Zeitgeist is as follows:

1. We feel that lighting balances universal ideas about light with local variations.

2. A given culture’s position in the global economic development cycle is reflected in its use of lighting in urban, built and un-built, nighttime environments.

3. Successful lighting design balances human instinct to gravitate toward light with human resistance to over-lighting.


To further elaborate this hypothesis, we were inspired by the Gartner Hype Cycle- and we adapted this concept with modifications to reflect upon the pushes and pulls of lighting design.

Our response was that our Zeitgeist is an orchestra of pulls and pushes of varying force and direction that follows a Gartner Hype cycle shown below, while being impacted by the X and Y axis variables.