Luis Barragán’s legacy lies in the way he uses light and color. Tadao Ando's sensitive approach to natural light established his own architectural language. James Turrell's dramatic interior transformations explore a unique perception of visual experiences where "light is not a tool to enable vision but rather something to look at itself". Olafur Eliasson's immersive installations play with the psychology of viewers using just light, water, and air. These architects and designers, among others, have reimagined how light is perceived, inspiring generations of architects to follow suit with the way they understand and employ light.
Light plays a crucial role in architecture, as it impacts the visual comfort of users and defines the overall ambiance of interiors. Between innovative technologies, environmental awareness, and architecture and design trends, lighting systems nowadays have evolved beyond its evident function. Light has become a design strategy and a statement that maximizes the functional and aesthetic quality of a space. As for how our interiors will be lit in a few years or decades, we can expect innovations with materiality such as using organic materials to generate light, connecting bulbs to devices to increase convenience and save energy, or a return to the most basic forms of nature.
Take a look at how architects and designers employed these 7 currently-dominating interior lighting trends through 18 projects from our database.
During the past couple of years, elaborate designs stood at the forefront of trends. Organic and sculptural forms inspired by natural silhouettes and maximalist movements were heavily seen across interiors, furniture pieces, and fit-outs. Lighting designers embraced this exaggerated design language and looked at lighting fixtures as more than just a source of illumination, but as a tool to make a bold statement.
Aluminium Flower Garden / Moriyuki Ochiai Architects
Suspended LED Lighting Installation / David Svensson
Knowing that 3D printing promotes experimentation with innovative forms, structures, and materials, designers are now combining 3D printed structures with LED lighting, expanding interior design possibilities. Smart LED systems are designed to be more convenient, customizable, and economical than traditional lighting systems. The way they work, as seen in the work of Philipp Aduatz, LED strips are integrated and inserted horizontally within the concrete wall and are controlled by the RGB color space where the user can manipulate colors, gradients, animation, and operating hours.
Also known as ambient or mood lighting, atmospheric lighting concentrates on how the interior space is perceived physically and emotionally. Using specific hues and intensities, light fixtures choreograph the sensory experience of users, reinforcing the storytelling of the architecture.
With.It Home / BodinChapa Architects
SOMA Lounge Office / Design Studio BYO
Mood and Wellness Lighting
As a means of prioritizing emotional, mental, and physical well-being, human behavior specialists and industrial engineers developed "human-centric lighting", an approach that takes into consideration the impact of light on human biology and behavior. These systems mimic natural daylight cycles to complement the body's cardiac rhythm through changes in color, temperature, and intensity.
Carner Barcelona Perfumery / Jofre Roca arquitectes
Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA / Simone Micheli
Shuran Wellness Space+ Shuran Skincare / E Studio
Path Guiders and Spatial Outlines
Designers took advantage of the versatility of continuous LED strips and defined their structures and circulation using recessed, mounted, or suspended lighting, adding a secondary function alongside illumination. Its versatile system creates diverse configurations without disruptions between floor, wall, ceiling, and internal space.
Misci Store / Babbie Arquitetura e Interiores + Airon Martin
Red Vicutu Concept Store Design / AntiStatics Architecture
Among all types of lighting, it is evident that natural light promotes the emotional and physical well-being of users the most, but in projects that don't have the spatial or environmental means to provide that, designers have created faux skylights using ceiling openings, LED strips, and semi-translucent panels to mimic the effects of having natural light within the space.
KClighting Global Flagship Showroom / E Studio
Alien Tanuki’s Space Capsule Coffee Shop / Absence from Island
One of the biggest interior trends of 2021 and 2022 was neon lights. Many credit neon's rises to popularity on social media, particularly during the pandemic when people began exploring their creativity and sharing their creations on their accounts. The material's flexibility, diversity, and reference to the retro aesthetic allowed designers to explore its potential as statement elements, light source, ambient, and scripture, to name a few.
Madalena Bar / Emanuella Wojcikiewicz Studio
FoodX Poznan Restaurant / mode:lina architekci
reMarkable Pop Up Store / Snøhetta
Find more interiors that feature these lighting trends in this My ArchDaily folder created by the author.
This article is part of an ArchDaily series that explores features of interior architecture, from our own database of projects. Every month, we will highlight how architects and designers are utilizing new elements, new characteristics, and new signatures in interior spaces around the world. As always, at ArchDaily, we highly appreciate the input of our readers. If you think we should mention specific ideas, please submit your suggestions.
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