I’m calling it: good lighting is an underrated design feature. I’m sure there are plenty of people with me on this, yet it so often seems to take second fiddle to technology and furniture. In fact, lighting is the meeting point between those two elements, and deserving of just as much attention and prestige as either of them.
Who can honestly say that lighting doesn’t influence their mood and alertness and, in effect, their productivity and efficiency? This is why lighting design should be taken seriously in office design projects. Melbourne is so often dark, especially over winter, that we can’t even rely on natural light to deliver optimal interior conditions. We need lights engineered to meet the needs of the contemporary workplace, integrating biophilic design principles and recent developments in sleep science around circadian rhythms.
Some offices are getting it right. Take, for example, the new office fitout for Melbourne software company ‘Pumpkin Porch’. Their office lighting scheme is designed to respond to factors such as outdoor light conditions, temperature, time of day, the number of people in the office, what activities they’re working on, and what the matrix of their individual schedules looks like. This translates to enhanced energy efficiency for both electrical systems and human users.
I’ve read a report on it, and apparently it’s translated to a 24% increase in productivity and 35% reduction in operating costs. It seems like Pumpkin Porch is doing something right, and you’d think that other companies would want a piece of it. The problem is that Pumpkin Porch has a patent on the technology, and is biding their time to build hype around its market release – probably with a huge price tag attached.
Surely, though, it can’t be that different to other types of smart building management systems, which existed before this patent happened. I don’t really get why no one else is coming out with a competitor system, but I’m assuming there’s a reason for it.