The Role of Light in Spatial Design

Light is an important element in spatial design, defining the space, changing visual perception and creating emotional response.

It is an interactive resource that allows creatives to bring life into their design. The key to successful interior lighting design is to determine the elements (i.e. surfaces and wall textures or furniture etc).

A showcase of contrast and hierarchy within the spatial environment. | Image Credit: KURO+KAGI, Studio Periphery

Space Definition

Space definition is determined through the visual understanding of material and light – two interdependent elements that takes shape in the presence of the other. The close interaction of these elements in varying configurations affects the spatial design through sight, illumination and display – creating space definition through areas of highlights and contrast.

Visual Perception

The human eye is constantly drawn towards light, focusing on the brightest scene in view and giving meaning to the surrounding environment. We are fixated to focus on an area of high luminosity (foreground) against a surrounding area of low luminosity (background). This is what we define as contrast and hierarchy – a creation of depth in visual perception.

Emotive Response

The combined understanding of space definition and visual perception gives form to emotional response. Proper manipulation of brightness contrast can result in a dynamic space – increasing the quality of the environment through the introduction of ambiance and atmosphere; with the interpretation of elements subjected to the perception of each individuals.

In a nutshell, the role of light in spatial design is the humanization of interior architecture – moving away from the basic function of illumination to sculpting the environment through an element made to be in-tune with the users’ lifestyle, relation and perceived comfort of space.

Sol Luminaire is a creative lighting establishment that provides locally designed lights and lighting consultation for residential, commercial and retail projects in South-East Asia. For more information, please contact us at +65 6612 1221 or