The three components of light
The three components of light

Nature combines the soft, scattered light from the sky with the vibrant, focused light from the sun. In the sophisticated home environment this finds it parallel in the ambient light that provides the basic brightness in a room, and zone lighting which focuses on selected areas. Both components are essential for lighting that is not merely functional but which also enhances well-being and mood. Mood lighting complements ambient and zone lighting. Rather than actually illuminating, mood lighting is like a fire, working as a light feature in itself to create an exceptional atmosphere.

Ambient lighting

Ambient light spreads evenly through space, illuminating an entire room. It is usually produced by light that is directed upwards towards the ceiling, or by luminaires that emit light evenly on all sides. It provides the fundamental brightness which the eye needs for orientation. It evens out sharp differences in brightness in a room, making it easier for the eye to adapt to different zones. The eye tires less rapidly as a result. The eye perceives a complete absence of ambient lighting, as in a study with just a single reading lamp on the desk for example, as unpleasant. Balanced ambient lighting on the other hand creates a comfortable atmosphere that enhances the sense of well-being.
Zone lighting

Zone lighting delivers a lot of light where it is needed for specific activities, e.g. reading, working or discussion. At the same time it highlights focal points that are as important for the harmony of a room as uniform ambient lighting. Zone light is produced by luminaires that direct their light down or against the wall. The more flexible the adjustment of the luminaire, the better it can direct the light where it is most needed. Where a conference table is lit by ambient light alone, the resulting mood will be like that found in an industrial kitchen. Zoned lighting on the other hand accentuates the private atmosphere of discussion and debate.

Mood lighting

Mood lighting creates an exceptional atmosphere. It shines but seldom illuminates. Instead it stands for friendliness, fascination and passion. Its sole purpose: to caress the heart and soul. Mood lighting produces its best effects in the evening when the surroundings are dark. Mood lighting must not be too bright, or the mood is soon lost. A mood light should therefore glow rather than shine. Mood lighting is appropriate wherever it can best deploy its effects, e.g. on ceiling or wall, on window sill, sideboard or chest of drawers, shelf or floor.