AN OPENING STATEMENT ... FROM 1952!

 

Formschöne Lampen und Beleuchtungsanlagen

by Gerhard Krohn

Published in 1952 in Munich by Callwey

 

Human beings experience life primarily through the eyes. This is perhaps the reason why a well-designed interior increases our sense of well-being. While out whole being is receptive to such a sensation, it is mainly sight and sensibility which register the impression created by an interior design. Its visible character is recognised as a quality of light. The feeling that our rooms are well lighted, makes us feel comfortable. The best possible lighting conditions are therefore most important in order to make a man feel at home. These conditions are, however, as variable a life itself. Both in body and soul we are dependent upon the changing moods of light. By day our being is in harmony with the daylight, by night we need a form of light which only illumines and modifies the surrounding dark. Therefore, in lighting design, day must remain day and night must remain night. We should not seek, by using artificial daylight after nightfall, to work against the rhythm of Nature. We should endeavor, where possible, to avoid this, if only because our whole being in more attuned in the evening to warmer tones, whereas during the day we are accustomed the cooler colors.

 

Everywhere around us we see the creative influence of light. In man-made interiors also, light is an essential basic element of the whole effect and should not be regarded as a mere accessory. Architecture must respect this principle. Only thus can one understand the phrase “Light architecture” coined by the Commission of Lighting Expert in Stockholm in 1951: “Light architecture is a form of lighting designed mainly in order to emphasize the architectural qualities of a building, where economist factors play a minor role.” Therefore, all those who are in any way concerned with interior design are bound to attach especial importance to setting architectural features in the best light. This demands an adequate degree of illumination, good shadow effects, a favourable color and uniformity of illumination and the correct placing and shading of light sources. One must strive to achieve the particular “light atmosphere” most suitable to the particular interior design. To make a correct choice of lighting system and method, it is necessary to give considerable attention to physical, physiological, and psychological conditions and reactions.

 

Modern lighting technique offers innumerable possibilities, from the simple candle to the neon sign. We can, therefore, more easily than ever select the most suitable illumination, required for the particular purpose. But all dogmatic systems should be avoided. One should, however, always remember that man has a natural taste for ordered spatial relationships in interior designs. A uniform general illumination with little or no shadow effect is usually disagreeable to him because it reduces the optical impression of solidity and neutralises the interplay of light and shade, thereby making it more difficult for the eye to “feel its way” about the room with certainly. What is appropriate in this connection to a particular situation or a particular workplace should not be generally applied. This is especially true when one comes to the choice of lamps or lighting systems. To sum up some of the basic principles in the design of satisfactory forms of illumination, one can say in the words of a German expert: “Artificial lighting must be practical, economical, healthy, and artistic.” While taking all these factors into account, one must at the same time find a form of lighting effect which does justice to the architectural setting. The way to an all-round solution is not easy. It demands not only accurate calculation, but also a fine sense of line and form. It is just this quality which has been lacking in the past. Many designs of lamps and lighting systems seem to lack originality. There has, however, recently been a marked improvement, which is in no small degree attributable to the demand among architects for a type of illumination which promises good spatial effects. 

 

“The visible world consists, exclusively, in form and colour. The light conveys visible impressions to the eye and the eye conveys them to the whole man” - Goethe