Dynamic architectural lighting and how to use it

By: Secom
9 de May, 2022
Reading time: 5 min

Dynamic lighting uses direct and indirect control mechanisms to change the brightness, colour and angle for a specific length of time. It can create a more tailored, adapted experience and affords several intangible and financial benefits.

In this article we will talk about...

  • How dynamic lighting works
  • Incorporating dynamic lighting in architecture
  • The benefits of dynamic lighting
  • Specialist products from SECOM

These kinds of installations are increasingly common in architectural projects given their creative potential and ability to produce dynamic and striking effects. Modern lighting techniques and the latest-generation LED technology are key here. Good lighting also has a positive impact on people’s mood and how they perceive the environment around them.

How dynamic lighting works

This concept is best understood in comparison with static lighting, where the light is fixed in one place and does not vary in intensity or in any other way. When applied to architecture, dynamic lighting improves the aesthetic and helps save energy, not to mention providing a range of other benefits related to people’s sense of well-being and alertness.

Research has shown that slow cyclical changes in light intensity improve people’s mood. A simple automated system of gradual changes can achieve effects similar to those created naturally by the effect of slow-moving clouds.

This approach to lighting shares some features with human-centric lighting (HCL). Both imitate the natural rhythm of night and day that the human body responds to and positively impact our circadian rhythm and biological clock to boost well-being, prevent fatigue and aid concentration.

Luz dinámica en monumentos

Incorporating dynamic lighting in architecture

Dynamic lighting can be used to automatically change the colour temperature and light intensity throughout the day. To achieve this, the output from two different luminaires is combined using optical technology to create different balances of cold and warm light. The result is that building facades and indoor areas take on a new and nuanced feel with changing shapes, depths and colours.

In lighting design, flexibility is another variable to be factored in from the outset. Many historical sites now have exterior lighting effects in addition to lighting in plazas and interior zones. Interactive lighting has also gained in popularity in recent years. But these are not the only options when it comes to implementing a dynamic lighting installation, and architects and designers are increasingly coming up with flexible architectural spaces as an opportunity to develop innovative and dynamic lighting systems.

The benefits of dynamic lighting

This approach to lighting can help people focus and boost their mood. Not only that, it can improve the aesthetic of a building by emphasising its best features and creating a coherent and beautiful scene.

Building ambience and character

When it comes to lighting the exteriors of ancient buildings and monuments, this constitutes an intervention in our historical heritage and there are some very strict protocols and regulations that must be followed. That said, dynamic lighting is increasingly common on the exteriors of churches, castles, museums and other buildings with massive historical and architectural value. Multidisciplinary teams must conduct extensive research and analysis and work in partnership to design an ambience that respects the building’s history while bringing out its essential character, whether classic, modern, cutting-edge or another style.

Edificio con iluminación dinámica

Attracting tourists

The changes in focus, intensity, brightness and colour of these installations enable them to attract tourists. For example, lighting designers can deploy shadows strategically by contrasting welcoming, warm white light with sharp, bright white light. Other options include varying the direction of the light and creating dynamic lighting scenes or coloured shadows.

Boosting investment and commerce

The techniques mentioned above can stimulate buying decisions – a phenomenon seen in recent years in the historical centres of towns cities and in shopping centres. Well-chosen lighting creates a welcoming and exciting atmosphere to achieve this outcome. Take Christmas lights, for example. Every year they are more innovative and creative.

There are also environmental factors to take into consideration. Public lighting installations create substantial CO2 emissions. We can tackle this by swapping out conventional lighting for more energy efficient options. Unfortunately, the local authorities with competence in this area usually lack a comprehensive strategic approach to this process. Dynamic lighting control and other innovative concepts can provide a solution.

Iluminación dinámica fachadas

Specialist products from SECOM

Any business, institution or other organisation looking to implement a dynamic lighting system can count on SECOM’s range of specialist products. We design, manufacture and market luminaires for dynamic lighting that offer the best in terms of flexibility, adaptability, durability and energy efficiency. We also have vast experience in both public and private projects and in lighting large surfaces and zones with very high footfall.

A unique dynamic lighting project can help people rediscover one-of-a-kind architectural sites that may be overlooked due to poor lighting. With the right knowledge, equipment and awareness, and a healthy dose of originality, it’s possible to achieve new heights in architectural lighting.

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