AWA NEWS: “Healthy Lighting” Series – Part 1 of 7

AWA NEWS: “Healthy Lighting” Series – Part 1 of 7


Our ongoing research on light and health makes inroads in widening our zeitgeist to understand the impact of electric light on the human body— its physiological and psychological effects. By developing this knowledge into patented products, we aim to implement this gleaned knowledge to our architectural projects.

The manner in which we perceive light physiologically is one aspect that escapes culture. The reality of our body’s mediation of light is granted to control a large part of our functionality: from our ability to see through the optic center of our brain, to regulating how we sleep through the management of circadian rhythms. Light has a substantial impact on our physiological wellbeing and exploring it provides great insight into how light can be utilized or designed to make the most of these effects.

However, it is also necessary to explore the latent relationship between light and health. In understanding how the design of light can be used to manipulate the physiological condition, it must be understood that lighting installations exist in two forms: functional and inspirational. The difference between the two is relatively straightforward. Functional light is practical and allows people to see while inspirational lighting is aesthetically pleasing lighting that is evocative and dramatic. The two types can also be described as being able to see and being directed to see. From here it is now easier to develop an understanding of how lighting designers can utilize light to instigate physiological effects.

Keeping all of these aspects in mind, it is imperative that healthy lighting systems be incorporated into hospital and healthcare design. The lighting design strategy, hardware, and controls must work holistically with all the other systems to optimize the level of care and developing comfort for the patient. Additionally, it is also key to develop a kit of parts across a hospital or healthcare facility, to reduce maintenance needs and provide a consistent light quality. The lighting design response should also be tailored to each space in order to meet specific patient and functional needs.

Abhay M Wadhwa
Design Principal  l  CEO
AWA Lighting Designers


We will be posting the “Lighting For The Elderly” series of newsletters in three additional parts over the next three Tuesdays:

  • PART 2 – Biophilia
  • PART 3 – Lighting Roadmap for Health & Wellness
  • PART 4 – Utilizing Latent Properties of Light 1
  • PART 5 – Utilizing Latent Properties of Light 2
  • PART 6 – A Historical Perspective on Light for Healing
  • PART 7 – Where Are We Going?

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