Lighting Design

Church of Light - Osaka, Japan

Notre Dame Du Haut -Ronchamp, France

This is blog will cover the basics of interior lighting. It will provide terminology, design ideas, and drawing symbols. Lighting is one of the most important elements in designing interior spaces, it is truly a science of it's own right. Many Interior Designers will consult with Lighting Designers for a variety of ideas, and problem solving.


Walt Disney concert hall

A Lighting Designer-Meets the needs of the people who use the space.
-Selects cost-effective and energy-efficient products most appropriate for the project.
-Creates an innovative lighting solution that achieves the perfect balance of function and
-Solves the unique lighting challenges of a wide range of interior and exterior environments.
-Strengthens and enhances any space through creative, yet functional, lighting plans.

Technical Information

Below are symbols for use in lighting plans; these symbols are standards that have been set up by ANSI - American National Standards Institute.
click on images to enlarge
Drawing Types
typical lighting plan
reflected ceiling plan

Glossary of Typical Lighting Terms
A single opaque or translucent element used to control light distribution at certain angles.
BALLAST: A device used to operate fluorescent and HID lamps. The ballast provides the necessary starting voltage, while limiting and regulating the lamp current during operation.CANDELA: Unit of luminous intensity, describing the intensity of a light source in a specific direction.
COLOR RENDERING INDEX (CRI): A scale of the effect of a light source on the color appearance of an object compared to its color appearance under a reference light source. Expressed on a scale of 1 to 100, where 100 indicates no color shift. A low CRI rating suggests that the colors of objects will appear unnatural under that particular light source.
COLOR TEMPERATURE: The color temperature is a specification of the color appearance of a light source, relating the color to a reference source heated to a particular temperature, measured by the thermal unit Kelvin. The measurement can also be described as the "warmth" or "coolness" of a light source. Generally, sources below 3200K are considered "warm;" while those above 4000K are considered "cool" sources.
COMPACT FLUORESCENT: A small fluorescent lamp that is often used as an alternative to incandescent lighting. The lamp life is about 10 times longer than incandescent lamps and is 3-4 times more efficacious. Also called PL, Twin-Tube, CFL, or BIAX lamps.
CONTRAST: The relationship between the luminance of an object and its background.
DIFFUSE: Term describing dispersed light distribution. Refers to the scattering or softening of light.
DIFFUSER: A translucent piece of glass or plastic sheet that shields the light source in a fixture. The light transmitted throughout the diffuser will be redirected and scattered.
DOWNLIGHT: A type of ceiling luminaire, usually fully recessed, where most of the light is directed downward. May feature an open reflector and/or shielding device.
FLUORESCENT LAMP: A light source consisting of a tube filled with argon, along with krypton or other inert gas. When electrical current is applied, the resulting arc emits ultraviolet radiation that excites the phosphors inside the lamp wall, causing them to radiate visible light.
FOOTCANDLE (FC): The English unit of measurement of the illuminance (or light level) on a surface. One footcandle is equal to one lumen per square foot.
GLARE: The effect of brightness or differences in brightness within the visual field sufficiently high to cause annoyance, discomfort or loss of visual performance.
ILLUMINANCE: photometric term that quantifies light incident on a surface or plane. Illuminance is commonly called light level. It is expressed as lumens per square foot (footcandles), or lumens per square meter (lux).
INDIRECT GLARE: Glare produced from a reflective surface.
LED: Abbreviation for light emitting diode. An illumination technology used for exit signs. Consumes low wattage and has a rated life of greater than 80 years.
LENS: Transparent or translucent medium that alters the directional characteristics of light passing through it. Usually made of glass or acrylic.
LOUVER: Grid type of optical assembly used to control light distribution from a fixture. Can range from small-cell plastic to the large-cell anodized aluminum louvers used in parabolic fluorescent fixtures.
LUMINAIRE: A complete lighting unit consisting of a lamp or lamps, along with the parts designed to distribute the light, hold the lamps, and connect the lamps to a power source. Also called a fixture.
MR-16: A low-voltage quartz reflector lamp, only 2" in diameter. Typically the lamp and reflector are one unit, which directs a sharp, precise beam of light.
REFLECTANCE: The ratio of light reflected from a surface to the light incident on the surface. Reflectances are often used for lighting calculations. The reflectance of a dark carpet is around 20%, and a clean white wall is roughly 50% to 60%.
REFLECTOR: The part of a light fixture that shrouds the lamps and redirects some light emitted from the lamp.
RECESSED: The term used to describe the doorframe of a troffer where the lens or louver lies above the surface of the ceiling.
TROFFER: The term used to refer to a recessed fluorescent light fixture (combination of trough and coffer).
UNDERWRITERS' LABORATORIES (UL): An independent organization whose responsibilities include rigorous testing of electrical products. When products pass these tests, they can be labeled (and advertised) as "UL listed." UL tests for product safety only.
WALLWASHER: Describes luminaires that illuminate vertical surfaces.
WORK PLANE: The level at which work is done and at which illuminance is specified and measured. For office applications, this is typically a horizontal plane 30 inches above the floor (desk height).

ergonomic lighting survey

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