Images courtesy of Perkins+Will
Light in Evolution: Lighting Trends in the 2020s
The world of lighting has seen an explosion of change over the past few years, driven by technological advancements, particularly around LEDs. But what’s next? We look at some of the biggest lighting trends that are set to dominate over the next few years
Smart Lighting Evolves
Offering the ability to connect to voice-activated personal assistants and other household networks, smart lighting has become increasingly popular in the past few years, however it is set to develop far further over the next few years. While current smart lighting systems are limited in range and generally very expensive, we expect to see a far greater range of products, at comparatively lower price points become available. This is likely to see smart lighting become an increasingly integral part of interior design, both in terms of the energy benefits it can provide and the impact it has on a space’s overall aesthetic, meaning both architects and interior designers will be specifying smart lighting in ever-greater numbers.
Image: Frank Gaertner | Shutterstock.com
Data in Light: The Rise of Li-Fi
One technology that is quickly going from on-the-horizon to reality is Li-Fi, a technology that enables data to be transmitted through light. Likely to form part of a mix of connection solutions alongside 5G and traditional Wi-Fi, Li-Fi is currently being commercialised by a number of key players, including Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, and looks set to become commonplace within a few years. While this will enhance connectivity in developments, the technology may also pose fresh design considerations, such as maintaining continuous light paths where possible. This means that for architects and designers, it could provide a whole new way to think about light in design.
Lighting for Health and Wellness
Wellness has become an increasingly commonplace concern within architecture over the past few years, particularly as part of a wider focus on sustainability, with the benefits of natural materials such as wood increasingly being espoused. However, lighting so far has remained on the back burner within this movement, and over the next few years we expect this to change. As the industry takes on issues such as indoor air pollution, we also expect to see an ever-greater focus on lighting that can aid indoor health, particularly surrounding mental health and stress-related concerns, as well as helping to combat vitamin D deficiency. For architects, this is likely to be a particular concern in healthcare-related projects, but could also find its way into residential design.
Light Recipes Beyond Agriculture
As more and more food is being grown in urban farms under LEDs, the term light recipes has become increasingly commonplace, to refer to custom mixes of wavelengths and luminosities that yield particular growing results. However, in the next few years we are likely to see this approach increasingly applied to humans, both in terms of promoting better health and wellbeing and also to incite particular moods related to a time, place or event. For architects, this is likely to involve thinking of a space as having multiple states, and designing it to suit a host of different light recipes for different applications, making lighting considerations an essential part of the overall design.
The use of natural light has become increasingly important in architecture of late, particularly as architects explore how best to apply low-energy principles to their schemes. However, it isn’t ideal in many settings, and in the next few years we expect to see an ever-greater focus on creating schemes that combine the best of nature with artificial lighting technologies. This will likely also spawn lighting solutions that integrate natural technologies with artificial ones, such bioluminescent algae or bioinspired structures, creating lighting that is consciously and overtly taking natural lighting to the next level.