For decades, lighting has focused on the functional aspects. But what is lighting really all about? About people? Of course! But it’s not just about people.
Our cities are changing. They have witnessed continual growth in recent decades, and more than two-thirds of the global population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. As cities expand, structures are defined: industrial and residential areas emerge along with retail and leisure facilities. The urban development model of the 20th century was based on the premise of controlling traffic. Today, the car seems to dominate the city in many ways. And we have created an urban environment that is designed to function so tightly that we as humans are ourselves suffering the consequences. We have created an environment that no longer feels right to us. In response, we spend our weekends fleeing to the countryside to recover.
It’s time to up our quality of life. We can achieve this by allowing infrastructure to become more natural again, managing mobility in our cities more intelligently, and by living, working and enjoying our leisure time more in tune with nature. The answers lie in taking a holistic view of our needs. In restoring harmony. Lighting plays an important part in the redesign of outdoor spaces. Light provides security, directs movements and views and can be an invitation to stop and ponder. Minimising scattered lights creates natural dark zones for animals and allows us to enjoy the night skies. Planning perspectives are shifting, and this will also have an impact on the local identity of our cities – and how we illuminate them.
For this new view on lighting planning, we have coined the term »people-friendly lighting«. People-friendly lighting is light that takes into account people’s various activities and adapts flexibly to their needs; lighting that reinforces a sense of belonging. Good lighting tools support this. They help to strengthen local identities and improve quality of life. Especially when it comes to outdoor lighting: in daylight, a luminaire is part of the street furnishings, its presence constantly shaping the environment. It is a sculpture. At night, it takes on the role of sunlight, providing security, orientation and directing the view. Luminaires can be discreet or expressive. They can draw people’s gaze onto themselves or onto other objects.
Their appearance and the colour of the light can create a variety of effects: colder light draws attention while warmer light feels cosier. Light can invite people to pause for a while and can be fascinating in itself. We all know the magic of sitting around a camp fire, simply watching the light and never wanting to move away: successful lighting design can evoke just that feeling.
LED lighting has been put to highly efficient use in the last decade. The main aim was to achieve minimum energy usage while optimising illumination. LEDs have now become so efficient that it’s time to turn more of our attention to other factors: the colour of the light, the effect of the light source, the beauty and character of the luminaires. They shape our environment and so influence our emotions. Lighting thus needs to meet individual requirements, and underpin the personality of the town, the community, the locality. It’s why we offer our lighting units in a variety of versions: the »Performance« series for more performance-driven optics, and »Comfort« products that consider visual comfort, plus a range of colour temperatures. This ensures efficient compliance with standards even with widely spaced poles, and allows adjustment of the lighting points according to other opportunities and requirements. High visual comfort is created through light-widening apertures and warmer light tones (2 700K to 2 200K).
All our new products are also available with an optic of less than 1% scattered light proportion to make the night sky visible again. We call this our Night Sky technology.Intelligent technology is thus creating new opportunities that don’t compromise on efficiency. For example, lighting control systems that control the level of illumination according to the time of day, the number of people or what they are doing, offer huge potential. Light poles can be individually equipped and extended: for example with sensors that control the flow of traffic or with a host of other intelligent options which we present in greater detail in the Smart Lighting chapter.
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