Architectural lighting design choices alter building’s appearance. On the other hand, architectural style greatly influences the style of lighting. Among others, the factors listed below tend to influence lighting design choices.


Architectural style – Deconstructivism

“It is the ability to disturb our thinking about form that makes these projects deconstructive” (Johnson,1988).
Deconstructivist Architecture by Philip Johnson (1988-09-05)

“Form follows function” became an outdated expression since the arrival of the deconstructivist architectural movement in the late 1980s.

Pioneers of deconstructivism rejected the ideas of modernism, post-modernism and any reference to the past, form and idea of a form. The deconstructivist movement is characterized by fragmentation and non-rectilinearity, rejecting order, harmony, balance, symmetry, regularity, clarity, consistency, continuity and completeness.We are meant to be confused by asses, planes, borders… but not the architectural lighting.

By definition, artificial lighting is suited to fit any type of space or activity. Light itself is an essential but independent architectural element. It impacts impact the viewer’s visual perception of the design as well as the building’s functioning.

Deconstructive design takes on many forms, from variations such as curved to rigid forms. Lighting is used to emphasise the essential parts of deconstructive space.

Deconstructivism is closer to the idealistic Russian constructivist movement that was prevalent in the 1920s – 1930s. The difference between the two movements is only the fact that deconstruction of a form was never observed in the former.

Various methods of lighting are used for deconstructivist projects at the same time, due to the non-uniform complexity of geometries.



Technological developments are leading to more flexible and intelligent lighting designs and environmental goals. Our attention shifted from the luminaires and expanded on sustainability and how more effectively we can control lighting that will benefit people, environment and wildlife. Computer software is getting more efficient for moddeling complex visualizations.



  • Ambient lighting

Creates boundaries and overall mood of the space. Comes from different fixtures at different levels.

  • Focal lighting

This lighting method is defined as a lighting fixture that is staged to be the main source of lighting. It is a dominany lingting source that highlights the main space of and interior or exterior.

Seattle Central Library

Sesattle Central Library – ambient lighting is present throughout, while focal lighting comes from the openings.

  • Accent lighting

Spot lights and other strategically placed lighting fixtures can be used to create accents within a space.
133 Houndsditch lighting, designed by Maurice Brill Lighting Design, is a good example where accent lighting is used in post-modern architecture. Houndsditch is located in London, Aldgate. Before the refurbishment in 2011, the entrance to the 1980s City office, 133 Houndsditch, was dark and lacklustre. Today, the business center majestically welcomes into the atrium by a combination of its impressive limestone wall and an elegant lighting design.

  • Task-specific

Lighting used to achieve a certain task.



  • Structural architectural lighting

The personality of the object remains the same as without lighting. Lighting is used to accentuate the geometry, balance light and shadow areas, and build the physical presence of the object at night.

facade lighting

The blue roundish ‘bubbles’ on the facade represent water

  • Communicative architectural lighting communicates brand identity or a message. Often used for commercial purposes.


  • Artistic lighting

The personality of the object’s lighting changes the perception of the form. Artistic lighting is used to decorate or evoke emotions.

  • Interactive lighting solutions

As the name suggests, the lighting is designed in such a way that people can interact with the object’s structure. This can be achieved using various technological solutions, for instance changing the coloure of the object using a remote controller.



Some people may have a favourite colour, others prefer to match colours and enjoy the contrast. However, during the day we all need to experience basic colour hues that the nature provides to us.

As the Sun moves, the sky changes its hues from red to orange to yellow to blue and white depending on its position. At particular times of each day the hue in the atmosphere changes. At midday the sky is supposed to be at its brightest cold white – blue. In the late evening, at sunset, the nature provides us with the warm colours.

What does it mean for lighting designers? Many lighting manufacturers produce luminaires that can be controlled with a controller. In hospitals this technique proved useful for patients who cannot go outside and need lighting that supports their circadian rhythm. In the morning the rooms are set to cold bluish, and the light warms up towards the evenings.

Human centric lighting is getting more and more popular and the effects are astonishing: better students concentration, faster recovery rates, happier people. Thus lighting design and decor require a lot of responsability and research. Since we live in a human centric world, it’s all about human experience and satisfaction. We can each start implementing responsible lighting in our lives and see how happier we become!