Tag Archives: Architectural Lighting

Healthy Lighting: Spotlight on Assisted Living

  1. Understanding of Circadian Lighting
    • Circadian light differs from the generally conceived definition of visual light in that it refers to the affect of lighting on the human circadian system, as opposed to light as a stimulus for the human visual systems.
    • Optimal functioning of the circadian timing system is imperative for good health and can be assisted with proper lighting systems. For appropriate designing of lighting and the associated SPD’s, we depend upon the Circadian Stimuli (CS) that each light offers. Simply defined, the light output or the light levels are not as important in this situation, as the CS factor of each light.
    • Humans have developed an endogenous timing system that optimally synchronizes physiology and behavior (e.g. rest/activity cycles)
    • The timing of our daily biological functions are organized and orchestrated by the master circadian clock. This is hosted by the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in the hypothalamus
    • The SCN orchestrates circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology via endocrine and neural pathways.
    • The Circadian System (“circa”, around; “dies”, day) has two fundamental characteristics:
      • Endogenous rhythmicity with a period of approximately 24 hours that persists independently of oscillations in external factors such as the light/dark cycle
      • The ability to have its timing shifted by external factors such as light and nutrient intake
    • The importance of the circadian system is exemplified by the observation that circadian disruption leads to an array of disorders (eg; sleep disorders, impaired glucose regulation & obesity) and decreased life expectancy
    • Specifying of dynamic white LED lighting that can be adjusted for higher Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) in the morning and lower CCT in the evening time that can assist in reinforcing the circadian rhythm.


  1. Architectural Lighting
    • By understanding how lighting can compensate for common changes that happen to the aging eye, designers can improve the quality of life of older adults in assisted living facilities. Some of those factors where lighting can be used to improve the quality of life:
      • Development of light levels to meet the IESNA recommended levels
      • All lighting to be provided with minimal source brightness. Glare control accessories to be provided where required.
      • The use of dynamic white LED lighting can allow the lighting to respond to the changes in the inhabitant’s environment.
      • Lighting to be provided with sustainable light sources such as LED and CFL to maximize energy efficiency and provide cost savings.
      • The selection of material finishes can increase the ability of the lighting to blend in with its architectural environment.
  1. The Portals of Light

This is a proprietary AWA design solution developed especially for Assisted Living spaces, but this solution also remains pertinent for Special Needs patients (Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Autism etc.)

  • Provides quality lighting design solutions for both circadian and architectural lighting in transition locations (vestibules, foyers, lobbies, etc.). This helps in reducing the jarring impact that change in light levels brings to the residents in Assisted Living spaces. This system comes with a plug-n-play modularity that can be moved easily. It can be used to retrofit existing locations, or used for new construction.
  • By improving the lighting in these transitional spaces, we can provide improved healthcare for all inhabitants, especially those who are not as mobile.



  1. 2013 Fall; 7(1):60-78. Senior living environments: evidence-based lighting design strategies.
  2. RP-28-07. Lighting for the Visual Environment for Senior Living (ANSI Approved)
  3. Mariana G. Figueiro. 2001. Lighting the way: a key to independence. Lighting Research Center.
  4. M ariana G. Figueiro. 2013. A 24 Hour Lighting Scheme for Older Adults. Lighting Research Center.

Image Credit: Lighting Research Center (A 24 Hour Lighting Scheme for Older Adults)

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











Tomorrow’s Lighting Designers Shine in Guerrilla Lighting Contest

Working with Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton of Light Collective, Xicato sponsored and developed a guerrilla style Architectural Lighting Improv Event at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, Illinois in association with the IALD Midwest. 70 people from the Chicago Lighting and Architecture Communities were in attendance as two teams of emerging professional lighting designers leveraged their know-how, on-the-spot to visually transform their environments with LED light supplied by Xicato.

With the location disclosed only 24 hours before the event, the lighting designers, divided into two teams, first toured the location and chose a space to transform. The teams had only 90 minutes to re-work the dark, under- or unlit areas into beautifully lit spaces. A panel of judges from the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) chose the winning team based on many aspects, some of which included creative concept, concept implementation, technical expertise, and sensitivity to site. The lighting designers had access to over 100 points of light that included torches (Xicato flash lights) and Xicato LED modules with AA battery packs.

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Source: Global LEDs/OLEDs