Light – The Silent Trigger

  • March 14, 2019
  • Kate Nelligan

When we think of something that triggers our emotions, there’s always the first few things that come to mind; music, art, family and a personal one for me…food. These things all attribute to our daily emotional state and how we react to them. If I’m feeling a little shitty I know exactly what I have to do to put a smile back on my face; put in my headphones, listen to Dolly Parton, drink a coffee and eat a jambon, job done.

There’s something that I like to refer to as a “silent trigger” to our emotions, of course its light. Any type of light. As soon as we wake up every morning, we check if it’s a sunny day, sunny day means happiness. If it is sunny, sigh of relief because today is going to be a good day. If we look out our window into a dull miserable day, a silent “fuck” is whispered, today won’t be the day I have a skip in my step, on these dull days I’ll eat a jambon!

In our daily lives we are exposed to extreme light levels, without us realising this has a huge impact on how we feel in a space. Just think of these different settings; Hospital -cold, extremely bright and clinical. You would think in places that people are under extreme emotional and physical pressure they could have an opportunity to relax in a more ambient space. I know there is functional lighting required. But why can’t we make these places more comfortable for the patient as well as working functionally? For example; to unwind in the evening I turn off the main light and switch on a lamp. Immediately I feel like I’m in a more ambient space and unwind (note; chocolate and tea may add to this situation). The idea of being ill in hospital under a white fluorescent tube is unnerving and not a space I would feel comfortable healing in.

A space which is lit with a warm tone and a sensitivity to how a person should feel can work wonders for the soul, I’m well aware I’m in the business of selling light fittings but I honestly believe the world’s issues could be solved in candle light rather than a 4000k flickering fluorescent. Warm low lit spaces make people involuntarily relax and become more mindful, even Teresa May might get Brexit passed if she invited everyone over for a candle lit dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I know at times to get work done we need to be under the scrutiny of the intense white light to kick our asses in gear. A bright light can increase alertness and heighten awareness, you would think these are the perfect attributes for a work day or getting a list of tasks done. For me personally, this can only work for a portion of my day, I need the choice of what light I’m exposed to, at what time of my day and the time to unwind before the next descent into my email replies begins.

We need to be aware of this “silent trigger” and how the lightly in a space can have an intense emotional reaction on the user. You won’t find me relaxing in an underground car park or trying to meet a work deadline with a lava lamp by my desk. Our light sources effect how we work and relax, realising this and making small changes can only benefit our overall state of mind. 

  • Design
  • Comfort Lighting, Contract Interiors, Design, Emotion, Emotional Lighting, Interior Design, Interiors Trends, Light Technology, Lighting, LZF
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About Kate Nelligan

Kate is your typical design junkie who loves all things marble and brass. She works closely with our clients developing relationships, which allows her to make as many brunch meetings as possible. If not found running around Dublin she'll be back in Kilkenny collecting her online clothing parcels.