Light and colour

Are cardinal in the manner we

Light and coloring materials have the ability to hold a profound consequence on the we perceive and synergistic with our environment, set uping us holistically, in head, organic structure, and spirit. Changing the manner we experience infinite, altering our perceptual experience of spacial definition and proportion.

Light and color service as mediums for communicating and information. They aid orientation and influence motion ; differentiate infinite, set up hierarchy and indicate map ; conveys symbolic messages ; they are an look of the Zeitgeist and link us to the universe in which we live.

Light and coloring materials have major impacts on our psychologically act uponing our emotion, feeling and making associations, physiologically impacting on our wellbeing on both a ocular and non ocular footing.

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One would normally tie in the above entirely with the sense of sight but both light and color induce synaesthesia, arousing associations with senses such as gustatory sensation, odor, kinaesthesia, temperature and harmonizing to some even consequence our perceptual experience of clip.

The manner we comprehend and experience visible radiation and color it more complex than a simple optical stimulation. Our perceptual experience is a consequence of interplay of both physiological and the psychological factors in the witting and subconscious. We have many prepossessions and prepossessions and visible radiation and coloring material which can be formed through personal experience, be a consequence of cultural influences and/or eduction or be portion of familial make up, developed over 1000000s of twelvemonth of development.

There are six basic interdependent factors which combine to give us are perceptual experience of visible radiation and coloring material, biological reactions ; the corporate unconscious ; witting symbolism and association ; cultural and idiosyncrasies ; tendencies, manners and manners ; and personal relationships and factors

Biological Chemical reaction

Our biological reactions occurs non merely as a consequence of the ocular tract. Light and therefore color aslo consequence us a through nervous tract or ‘energitic ‘ tract. Through the energietic tract visible radiation and coloring material stiumli are carried straight to the encephalon and onto the pineal and putrity secretory organs, which control the production of endocrines. This in bend can consequence the likes of, metamorphosis, blood force per unit area, emphasis and aggression.

The Collective Unconscious

the corporate unconscious refers to perceptual experience which is non rationalised by our witting ideas or our ain personal experiences. Harmonizing to Jungian psycholgy “ the corporate unconscious is the portion of our psche that has nil to make with witting or unconscious reaction based on personal experience amessed during our life clip ”

The corporate unconscious consists of architypes, aboriginal and latent images, feelings and associations, in our gentic do up. Sensitivities devloped thorugh 1000000s of old ages development and the development of our species and do us to construe the environment in same manner our predecessor

The writers Hall and Nordby depict it as:

“ the corporate unconscious is a reservoir of latent images, normally called aboriginal images by Jung. Aboriginal mean the ‘first ‘ or the ‘original ‘ therefore the aboriginal image refer to the earliest development of the mind. Man inherits these images from his hereditary yesteryear, a past that includes all of human ascendants every bit good as his prehuman or carnal ascendants. ”

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Conscious Symbolism

Funadmental associations and feelings made in the witting. There are many associations to certain coloring material with are universally, and are read the same no affair the civilization or eduction, for illustration xanthous with light, bluish with the Sun and green with nature.

The symbolism of the visible radiation and coloring material can be particulary important in the field of architecture due to there connects to arousing temper and feeling. Light and color suggest heat or imperturbability, alter one perceptual experience of whether a room is friendly, etc

Cultural influences

Although there are many coloring materials associations which are cosmopolitan, we must besides see how different civilization have different associations for some colorss. For illustration Japanese civilization tends to be more antiphonal to softer colorss, prehaps this relates to a greater grasp of materiality. Indian civilization on the other manus has a greater affinity to loud, bright and graphic color.

There are besides certain colorss which gain greater significance in a certain coloring material. An illustration of this is the spiritual importance of green in Islam.

Tendencies Fashion and Style

Our reading and perfernces of coloring material can impact by what is in trend at a peculiar clip. Tendencies in the reinforced environment tend to alter on a less regular footing than in other. Although responsing to tendencies in designer and interior design may non ensue in making the most good environmets as different enviroments have different demands, tendencies can be of import in bring forthing a sense of zeigheist. Such as?

Personal Relationships and Factors

Our relationship to infinite is extremely influenced by personal and subjective factors such as personal dispostion and specific personal experience, for illustration one would normally tie in blue with imperturbability but if burnt by a bluish object may bring on an connexion to heat. Other personal factors can alter perceptual experiences of light coloring materials include sensitiveness, age, character and disposition and are physical and psychological brand up.

Colour psychological science can be separated in to interlinked subdivisions, applied color psychological science and ‘depth color psychological science ‘

applied color psychological science is the 1 that by and large applies to architecture. It deals with the execution of the preset psychological effects to make a spacial atmosphere to bring forth psychical benefits therefore physiological benefits, or to convey a specific imagination. More?

Symbolism and imagination of visible radiation and coloring material.

“ For it is through symbols that adult male finds his manner out of his peculiar state of affairs and ‘opens himself ‘ to the general and the universal. Symbols awaken an single experience and transmit into a religious act, into a metaphysical comprehension of the universe ” – Mircea Eliade

For 1000s of old ages natural visible radiation has been used for its powerful associations, for early adult male light held more significance than possibly any other clip, it was the giver of life and revered to the extent of idolizing the Sun. Its significance nevertheless has diminished particularly since the invasion of unreal visible radiation

Light can be regarded as metaphorical in raising ideas of another topographic point or impression. It can be symbolic, stand foring something else frequently that which immaterial such as eternity, and frequently symbolic of that which we do non to the full comprehend. Light has the quality to bring forth a power passing province of being.

For nexus to times season Zeitgeist?

Dark is besides of import in this experience non merely as a contrast excessively dark but in its ain symbolism and representations, and the provinces of head it creates, the deficiency of light suppress the ocular, rising the other senses. Strong darkness presents the unknown taking to provinces of apprehensiveness, malaise and even to phobia.

The interplay of light and dark can take to the the creative activity of contemplative or theatrical visible radiation.

Luis Barragan advocates the usage of what he calls half-light

“ designers are burying the human demand for half-light the kind of visible radiation that imposes a tranquility, in their life suites every bit good as their sleeping rooms… we should seek to retrieve mental and religious easiness and to relieve anxiousness, the outstanding feature of these agitated times, and the pleasances of thought, working, discoursing are heightened by the absence of glowering visible radiation ”

One of the few civilizations in which the design of such environments is prevailing is in Nipponese traditions. Quotation mark for in congratulations of shadows and illustration?

Another manner to make topographic points of contemplation is to utilize diffuse or baffled light, bring forthing a degree of uniformity “ contemplation is nourished by the deficiency of distractions ”

Metaphorical Light

Metaphorical visible radiation extends the function of light beyond that of merely of disclosure, it denotes light that is used to raise a visions of a different vicinity, for illustration its can be used to as a representation of nature, film overing boundaries giving one the feeling that they are non in a interior scene.

The usage of metaphorical lighting is vivid in the plants of artist Edward Hopper. In his painting New York Movie, Hopper uses contrasts in visible radiation to distinguish between the fanstay universe of the theater and the world in which the Ussher carries on with her mundane life.

Steven Holl?

Symbolic visible radiation is used as a representation of the immaterial and the discorporate, beyond that which is portrayed by the metaphorical, complex impressions such as life and decease.

An powerful illustration of this is the Vietnam War commemoration in Washington D.C. The names of the dead are inscribed in the mirrorlike granite surface of the wall. The ever-changing contemplations of visible radiation and the environing remind us of our topographic point and temporal natural in this universe and therefore our mortality.

For 1000s of old ages light has been associated with the religious aspects and seen as the manifestation of deity and the ethereal. Since prehistoric adult male visible radiation, the Sun have been connected to the scared, prehistoric worshipped the Sun physique memorials align to its summer solstice to honor it, as this was when its was its most powerful. Tombs were besides built with mention to the Sun, frequently align to confront the Sun rise on the summer solstice. The visible radiation of a new twenty-four hours and the lifting Sun gave hope of an after life

“ the natural linguistic communication of light and dark is a powerful one with which to show architectural significance ”

Specific coloring material besides hold symbolic associations. Many of these are reasonably obvious, nevertheless these initial associations over clip have lead subsequent associations or can take on bring on different connexions. The corporate findings from a figure of experiments have shown that many are cosmopolitan nevertheless there may be little fluctuations in different civilizations and faiths.

Associations have from human experience, traveling all the manner back to early adult male. As discussed above aboriginal images etc have been stored in the human genome yesteryear on from coevals to coevals and contribute to our color perceptual experience. Eckart Heimendahl suggests that our color perceptual experience develops from three types of symbolism: ritual symbolism, traditional symbolism and aesthetic-emotional ( psychological ) degree symbolism, which fuse to give us our experience of coloring material

“ one of the most dramatic characteristics of the consequences refering perference, intension and colour-mood associatations is the consistancy from one person to another, from group to group and cross-culturally. There has been a great figure of cross-cultural surveies comparing topics in America, Lebanon, Kenya, Botswana, Greece to advert a few. Monkeies have been compared to Man, work forces to adult females, kids to grownups, layperson to designers. As another writer concludes, it would bespeak either that our heritage is such that we learn right responses, or that there is some unconditioned temper reaction to different colourss ” ( Kuller 1981 p.164 )

The message a color conveys and therefore it psychological consequence is dependent on colorss chromaticity and the environment in which it sits. Even the slightest alteration it a hue nicety can change its significance. The materiality of the coloring material besides plays a important function in this procedure, which will be discussed subsequently.

The followers will give and over the imagination and messages that the outstanding chromaticities are affiliated to.

Red is a warm, exciting coloring material with both positive and negative associations. It positive intensions include the aforesaid heat due to its connexion to fire, every bit good as passion, strength, activity and love. Its more negative associations include fury and aggression, fierceness, although these have served a intent throughout history. An illustration of this in military, where red was used to alter head sets and convey a aggression.

Red besides represent blood, which to some may portray an unfavorable message, can besides stand for life. This is possibly linked to early adult male who may hold concluded that blood gave life after seeing blood leave the organic structure a slaughtered quarry.


Red is the dominant and attending catching coloring material as its focal point point is behind the retina which give the feeling that it is stick outing


orange is a mostly positive coloring material and is by and large considered to hold really few negative intensions. Although less self-asserting than ruddy its is still vivacious and energetic, with lighter tone being heartening. Orange besides has connexions to nature reminding us of fall and sundowns.

Brown is a darker tone of orange which once more has strong connexions to nature, motivating ideas of the Earth. As it is earthly is suggest security and stableness. However certain shadiness of brown may be less pleasant and drab and even depressing.

Yellow is considered to be the ‘happiest ‘ coloring materials due to it aglow and beaming nature and therefore it tends to raise 1s liquors. Possibly its is most powerful and religious association with the Sun, and hence with visible radiation and life. Yellow was besides the coloring material of quicksilver in, best known for being the courier of the God, but was the God of commercialism and net income, every bit good as the God of the traveler, therefore xanthous can stand for religious enlightenment.

Green focal point exactly on the retina and therefore is the easiest coloring material on the oculus. As a consequence viridity is loosen uping and reviewing. One of green major associations is nature and vigorous growing. Early rites were based around the exuberant viridity of flora and therefore is a symbol of nutrient and life, and as a sequel in Christianity represents hope and immortality. Green besides has important spiritual value in Islam where it is regarded as a holy coloring material. In blunt contrast certain fluctuations of green can convey a message of mold and decay and as a consequence decease. Depending on its place between xanthous and bluish viridity has different consequence, a green closer to yellow will look to be more stimulating where as blue green appear ice chest and more tranquil

Blue like green is loosen uping and retiring, but appear cooler than green although darker tones appear to experience heater. Materialtiy besides affects its comparative heat, a dark blue, thick rug will non arouse a cold feeling. Blue induces feelings of composure and as a consequence contemplation and due to its obvious connexion to H2O bluish gives expresses cleanliness. However if non used right bluish can be cold and dejecting every bit refered to in the phrase “ I have the blues ” .

Bluess symbolism has a figure of cultural fluctuations. In Rome blue was the coloring material of a philosopher robe and reflected wisdom. In China bluish symbolises immortality and sanctity to Hebrews.


white symbolises many positive things, architecture it prompts a sense of openness and freedom, a white infinite will ever experience more expensive, nevertheless if the part of white is to greater it gives a sense of emptiness. From a multi-discipline position, white conjures images of cleanliness, pureness, artlessness and peace. In Asia white is the coloring material of mourning but in a positive manner, as the believe that decease on this Earth is the beginning of a better life.



Over and under stimulation

In footings of of both physiological and psychological factors the balance of stimulation is of import in supplying the right environment. Both over-stimulation and under-stimulation can hold inauspicious affects on our wellbeing and the overall feeling of a infinite. For an environment to be most good a balanced assortment should be kind.

“ Balance is the securing of integrity thick assortment. Both assortment and integrity are required to prolong involvement, and these opposing forces must be balanced. Assortment is necessary to pull and elicit involvement ; integrity is indispensable to make a favorable feeling and desires. Variety overdone is confounding and unpleasant. Unity overdone is humdrum. The grade of coloring material agreement is cognizing where to halt between these extremes ”

Exposure to an excessively complex visually helter-skelter environment or highly monotony, whether it be through coloring material, form or contrast can consequence us physiologically by triping alterations in rates of external respiration, blood force per unit area and pulsation, therefore lead to increased emphasis degrees Over stimulation can bring on an addition in musculus tenseness and is believed to increase 1s susceptibleness to infection which can take to ulcers and coronary disease.

Surprisingly dull under-stimulating environments can do additions in bosom rate. With no external stimulation one becomes more cognizant of there interior ego. Capable to persons mentally and nature if their idea, this can take to fear, anxiousness and hurt.

On a psychological degree an under stimulating and therefore centripetal lack scene is known to take to a deficiency of concentration, restlessness and crossness. Under stimulation can besides take to perceptual experience upsets.

“ It can non be stressed plenty that the balance between integrity and complexness is the first and most of import regulation in the design in good environments ”

However in certain state of affairs it can be the interior decorator nonsubjective to make infinite which are under exciting. It infinite may be design as a religious and brooding infinite which encourages one to look inside themselves for enlightenment…

To understand the extent of visible radiation and colorss consequence, we must see it on its ain every bit good as the how it reacts and relates to its environment.

Our knowledge of visible radiation and coloring material can be mostly influenced by how they contrast with there surroudings. There a figure of different contrast relationships which alter the manner perceive and distinguish:

Light-Dark Contrast

In its simplest footings this is the contrast between light and shadow. But can besides mention the to difference between elation of colorss, but the contrast is most outstanding in the neutral i.e. when no chromaticity is involved. Light dark contrast can be utile for distinguishing infinite. However excessively great a contrast will do ocular weariness and strain.

Chromatic-Achromatic contrast.

Uniting the chromatic with the neutral will change the sensed strength and brightness of the chromatic coloring material. White and gray niceties weaken a colors brightness and therefore can be used to neutralize. On the other manus black addition a colours brightness.

Complementary Contrast

Complementary contrast occurs between two coloring material which are every bit different as possible, location straight face-to-face on a coloring material wheel. Each complementary contrast has its ain alone characteristic. For illustration a contrast between orange and bluish gives the greatest warm-cool definition and a yellow-violet contrast give the most intense light-dark contrast. Effect/importance

Intensity contrast

Describes the contrast between colorss of the different impregnation. Intensity contrast is best used when a when little sum of pure coloring material are used as an speech pattern amongst muted colorss, which give a peculiar characteristic accents while keeping the complete atmosphere of the infinite.

Measure Contrast

Quantity contrast is the relative relationship between the colorss in a infinite. The proportion of a peculiar coloring material dramas major function in set uping spacial definition and feeling

Flicker Contrast

licker is a over stimulating contrast, happening when intense colors with similar elation or darkness are combined is a infinite. This type of contrast shows that the color has non been considered suitably, spark contrasts should be avoid.

There are two other physiological contrast which besides need to be taken into history when measuring the impact of coloring material, consecutive contrast and coincident contrast.

Coincident contrast is the phenomenon where by a coloring material will be perceived otherwise with a different foreground, background or environment. For illustration if a impersonal Grey is place on a environing coloring material background the Grey will look to hold a intimation of the complementary coloring material of the background coloring material. The perceive alteration is non world but is a consequence of 1s ‘colour esthesis ‘ . Coincident contrast does non merely impact chromaticity and impregnation but besides brightness. For illustration Grey will look lighter against a darker background

Consecutive contrast is a phenomenon where by if one is subjected to a coloring material stimulation for an inordinate sum of clip an ‘after image ‘ of its complementary coloring material will happen. For illustration if one stares at a ruddy surface for a drawn-out period of clip so look at a white surface, the white surface will look to be bluish green. This ‘after-image ‘ is believed to be the consequence of weariness. The affect is impermanent but nevertheless can be upseting. e.g. ?

“ The physiological world is that the oculus requires any given give coloring material to be balanced by its complementary, and will bring forth it if it is non present. Complementary colorss besides provide psychological balance to warmth and imperturbability of coloring material. ”

The after image is a physiological consequence which indicates than utilize us of complementary colorss the the most effectual manner of making a harmonious infinite


Synesthesia ( Greek, syn= together + aisthesis= perceptual experience ) is a neurological status in which the stimulation of one centripetal mode evokes a experience in another mode, or the crossing of two or more sense. Light and color non merely excite the sense of sight but arouses esthesiss in many other of the other senses through ocular and non ocular agencies.

Percept of weight

as a general regulation darker and more concentrated colors will look to be heavier and more dense than lighter and less concentrated colors. Warmer colors will besides look heavier than the ice chest ice chests if the same chromaticity

Percept of volume and distance

The lighter a infinite is the more unfastened it will be perceived to be therefore a infinite will look to hold a larger volume than a dark infinite. Within a infinite igniter colorss, ice chest colorss and little forms will look to withdraw. With darker or more concentrated looking the protrude therefore doing distances seem shorter.

Percept of temperature

it is widely believed that visually, coloring materials can change our perceptual experience of whether a room is warm or cool. Since the formation of the hypothesis several experiments have been observed which seem to turn out what was thought.

One such illustration is described by Johannes Itten in his book The Elementss of Colour, is experiment illustrates a important difference in the temperature at an single felt cold in different colored room

“ Residents of the bluish green felt that 59 grades Fahrenheit was cold, where as the temperature had to fall to 52 grades Fahrenheit in the reddish-orange room before the topics felt cold ”

grounds from a corresponding Norse survey drew a similar decision, in which subjects set a thermostat four grades lower in a ruddy room compared to a bluish room.

However trial besides showed that the consequence where merely impermanent and after a period of clip the effects begin to decrease.

Percept of Taste and Odours

Certain colorss can arouse associations with gustatory sensations or odors. Colorss such as lavender, pale yellow and pink have pleasant associations with odor and colorss such as coral, soft yellow and visible radiation viridities are associated with pleasant gustatory sensations. These associations can be utile in industrial state of affairs to assist better unpleasant environments

Percept of Sound

Gestalt psychologists such as Heinz Warner, Krakov, Allen and Schwartz have produced grounds that strong smell and gustatory sensation can change our perceptual experience of coloring material. It is suggested that strong gustatory sensation and smells make us more less sensitive to ruddy and more to green.

On a similar note through coloring material association can be used to countervail loud environments. For illustration one may mentally link extremely concentrated warm coloring material with being loud, cool and low saturated coloring material holding the opposite consequence, therefore cool or low saturated coloring material can be used to assist countervail noisy environments

“ a noisy ambiance will be experienced subjectively as nosier or more annoying if pigment with glowering yellows or reds. Shrill and high pitched sounds may be offset by olive viridity ”

Percept of Time

Some research workers believe that visible radiation, coloring material and form can change our appraisal of clip. One theory is that subdued, humdrum infinites cause one to overestimated clip. Possibly this is related to boredom and under-stimulation. It is a common construct that clip passes more rapidly when 1 is basking themselves.

Light, coloring material and our perceptual experience of infinite.

“ Space remains in limbo without light. Light ‘s shadows and sunglassess, its different beginnings, its opacity, transparence, translucence and conditions of contemplation and refraction intertwine to specify or redefine infinite. Light topics infinite to uncertainness, organizing a sort of probationary span through Fieldss of experience ” – Steven Holl

The manner we use and perceive a infinite is greatly influence by visible radiation and coloring material along with the factors described. Above the have the ability to specify boundaries and differentiate infinites. They provide orientation and consciously and unconsciously impact how we move through a edifice. Furthermore due to the synaesthetic esthesiss they induce as described above, visible radiation and coloring material alter the sensed dimensioning of a infinite. “ Space, as we experience it in architectural scenes is a consequence of our full perceptual system. One sees the environment non with the eyes but with eyes-in-the-head-on-the-body-resting-on-the-ground ”

As we have found out light and shadow can be a powerful tool with which to uncover significance. However they besides play a major function in specifying our sense of infinite, if we manipulate light we alter our perceptual experience of architectural infinite.

Before construction, walls, ceiling and floor, it was light which estbalished boundaries. At dark a ‘room ‘ for early adult male was defined by visible radiation admitted by fire, the appendage of which came when visible radiation faded into darkness.