Light and Culture: Our Zeitgiest (Part 1 of many)

Light and Culture: Our Zeitgiest (Part 1 of many)

Over the past many years, the good people at the AWA studios internationally have contributed to research on how their lighting solutions for architectural environments can be more responsive to their culture and local conditions- a tough task, as it is tempting to just say “screw it” and follow the rules established by the overt Americanization of codes and standards, and supplemented by the economics and marketing of European fixtures.

Our hypothesis on our Lighting Zeitgeist is as follows:

1. We feel that lighting balances universal ideas about light with local variations.

2. A given culture’s position in the global economic development cycle is reflected in its use of lighting in urban, built and un-built, nighttime environments.

3. Successful lighting design balances human instinct to gravitate toward light with human resistance to over-lighting.


To further elaborate this hypothesis, we were inspired by the Gartner Hype Cycle- and we adapted this concept with modifications to reflect upon the pushes and pulls of lighting design.

Our response was that our Zeitgeist is an orchestra of pulls and pushes of varying force and direction that follows a Gartner Hype cycle shown below, while being impacted by the X and Y axis variables.