Is the industry ready for human-centric lighting?

Top class lighting can have a powerful impact on personal and business relationships by supporting more open communication according to an expert in design illumination.

Henrik Clausen, director of Fagerhult Lighting Academy, is a leading advocate of what he calls “human-centric lighting”.

This is a means of using light to heighten and open up an interaction between people in the home and workplace.

He said: “This concept is not according to any [definable] standards. Most lighting demands standards, certain levels for ceilings or flooring, but we don’t have any standards on how we should light human beings.

“For me, it stands for good visual communication, comfort and creating connections with people.”

Clausen described how light can benefit those in a workplace. He said: “It is definitely a tool that creates trust and supports information flow between people in business. Sometimes when we are indoors in the meeting room with bad lighting, we don’t read people’s faces the way we would like to. Lighting could be a way to sustain better communication between people.”

Photo: Fagerhult

He said that often the good lighting is simply a matter of people not complaining about it, but things can now move forward in appreciating illumination.

“I would love one day to see that people would appreciate lighting, and we’ve been fighting for 30 years to achieve that.”

Clausen included architects and interior designers in not appreciating the qualities that illumination can bring to a project.

He said: “Most people don’t care about it, so people like myself have to keep going around and talk about this concept.

“I think that Phillips, Zumtobel and Fagerhult, we work together in pushing this concept because we think it will become more important.”

Smart technologies and apps that offer personalisation in lighting – especially in hotels – are not the future, but rather the present, Clausen stated.

“Young people – those between 25 and 30 – they want their own designs on everything, whether it is a car or shoes,” he said.  “We think that people in the future will want to have an option of personalised lighting.

Photo: Fagerhult

“We could have an interview and ask ‘Do you prefer this colour of light or this kind of shadow’ and we could then install and store preferences in a phone. So when people go to a Bluetooth controlled fixture, it will have the light they prefer.

“It could provide cool powerful light in the office, but when the user wants a break and a cup of coffee we can dim the illumination and provide a much warmer colour temperature.”

Henrik Clausen has worked in the lighting sector for almost 30 years, collaborating with architects, interior designers and specialist lighting designers. In 1996 he became the Managing Director of Fagerhult Lighting in Denmark, and held that position until 2004, when he founded the Fagerhult Lighting Academy, based in Copenhagen. Henrik was instrumental in developing a pioneering lighting application software designed to aid custom manufacturing of fixtures, called EasyLight.