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Light and Material

With the LED it is possible to create (almost) any desired lighting situation. Depending on the time of day and season, the use of the room and the desired atmosphere, different color temperatures, brightness and light distributions can be dynamically controlled. 

The surfaces of a room reflect the incident light, which then falls into the eye of the observer. The material properties interact with the light: the reflection behavior of the surface on the one hand and the light spectrum on the material, the light intensity and the light direction on the other hand create the "perception of the surface". All surfaces of the room together finally result in the "perception of space".

The reflection behavior includes properties such as light-dark, matt-gloss, color-grey, structured-monotone, etc., but also the (inherent) material properties associated with the material and stored in memory, e.g. cold (metal), warm (wood), etc. How a surface is perceived depends very much on the type of illumination (color temperature, light direction, brightness). It is therefore essential to illuminate the materials correctly in order to bring out their inherent properties.

In accordance with our principle "Not from the luminaire to the appearance, but from the appearance by visual perception to the lighting concept" (Prof. Dr. h.c. Ing. Christian Bartenbach) we always take a holistic approach when creating lighting concepts. Light planning and interior design must be coordinated with each other that the materials used can develop their effect and contribute to the desired overall spatial appearance. 

With the use of controllable LED, a multitude of dynamic lighting variations are possible. The visual appearance of surface materials varies depending on its lighting, so it is possible to generate different material and room appearances. The knowledge about the interaction between lighting and surfaces enables the targeted creation of specific material and room appearances.

Today, there are specific minimum requirements for workplace lighting which must be met in order to perform visual activities without stress. These minimum requirements are formulated in lighting standards, scientifically well documented and based on a specific set of technical parameters (e.g. horizontal illuminance, luminance, uniformity of illumination or color rendering of the light source). 

Such technical criteria are lacking for the interaction of material and light for the targeted creation of specific material appearances or spatial lighting effects. There is practically no sufficiently documented and generally available knowledge about this. Currently there is a lack of measurable criteria (metrics) which could be used in lighting design. It is therefore left to the architect to select materials according to his design philosophy and experience, and then to illuminate them.

After the energy-efficient building, the focus is now on the "healthy" building (e.g. the WELL Building Standard), which focuses on the health and well-being of people. The surface materials and their lighting will play an important role in the future.

Bartenbach has been researching the subject of light and materials for decades and is constantly trying to expand this knowledge in order to implement it in lighting systems and to develop new lighting materials.  


MA/WP 02/2020