There is no single lighting fixture which will enable the illumination of the space properly all alone. A perfect lighting design combines different types of lights, which enable the creation of a suitable atmosphere for the place you are designing. Ambient or sometimes also called general lighting provides general illumination, task lighting enables more focused lights in the parts of the application where it is needed and accent lighting highlights important objects. When combined, ambient, task and accent lighting create a visually and functionally balanced space. Each of the three types of lighting have their own functions, and based on the purpose of the application you should choose suitable lighting fixtures for the lighting design of the space.
1) Ambient lighting
The first step in lighting design is choosing the right lighting fixtures for ambient lighting. The primary purpose of ambient lighting is to provide an overall illumination of the space: it produces just enough light to create a functional space without causing glare. In other words, it acts as the foundation to the lighting plan. The ambient lighting of the space can be accomplished by using, for example, reassessed, track, wall or pendant-mounted lights. It is also essential to keep in mind that different applications require different amounts of ambient lighting. For example, an office would require a greater amount of ambient lighting due to its purpose, while a restaurant needs far less ambient lighting in order to create a cozy atmosphere. In conclusion, ambition lighting is merely the foundation of any lighting design. In order to ensure full illumination of the area, get rid of shadows and provide a supplemental localized illumination, task and accent lighting should be used.
2) Task lighting
The second layer of the lighting plan is task lighting. Task lighting is responsible for providing lights in an area of the application where a certain task will be performed. In other words, it only provides supplemental illumination to the general lighting for certain activities such as studying, reading, cooking among many others. Although the purpose of task lighting is not to illuminate the entire application, it still requires more lumens to focus light to the place where the task will be performed. Under cabinet lighting, desk, table or floor lamps are all examples of task lighting.
3) Accent lighting
Last but not least: accent lighting. Most of the time it is used to highlight the architectural features and important objects in the application such as art work, niches or walls. Accent lighting in a way creates a feeling of importance of the objects it highlights. Thus, it is very often used in museums and art galleries to highlight the artwork. Besides, accent lighting distracts attention from any imperfections of the design. Some typical fixtures that provide accent lighting include track lights, recessed lights and wall-mounted lights.
Concerning the combination of the light layers, it does not mean that the separate lighting fixtures should be used for each layer of light; some of the architectural lighting fixtures can function as two layers of light at the same time. For example, if chosen correctly, downlights can be used as both ambient as well as task lighting. After creating a desired light layering design, the next highly important step is to provide a control over light for the application users. Dimmers will enable the users to set the right “mood” for the space in no time. For example, dimming ambient lighting and leaving accent lighting will create a cozy atmosphere in the space.
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